26 June 2012


     While on vacation or genealogy trips this summer, don't forget to keep your eyes open for public memorials, monuments, and plaques. Many small towns have honor rolls of local war heroes or signs commemorating historical events. Sometimes these memorials are located in a public square or park, often they are found at churches or cemeteries. Even if your ancestor is not named on the monument, the event listed might have happened during their lifetime, leading you to a greater understanding of their lives.
     I was visiting a church in Toronto this past Sunday, St. Paul's Basilica, and saw a pieta near the front entrance. The statue is dedicated to the Irish immigrants who died of fever in 1847 and were buried near the present day church. In my travels, I often find memorials to our Irish ancestors who suffered so much while trying to survive, both here and in Ireland.
     So don't pass by those memorials without reading them!

22 June 2012


Time for the updates from the folks at the Ireland Genealogy Projects (IGP):
DONEGAL Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Donegal 1846 (update)
DOWN Genealogy Archives - Photos
Saint Patrick grave, Down Cathedral
DOWN Genealogy Archives - Military and Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Down 1846 (update)
DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Glasnevin Cemetery, part 11
FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Military Records
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Fermanagh 1846 (update)
FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Miscellaneous
Freeholders Registered to Vote 1747-1768
KERRY Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary Records
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Kerry 1846 (update)
KILDARE Genealogy Archives - Military Records
Royal Irish Constabulary with native county of Kildare 1846 (update)
LEITRIM Genealogy Archives
Drumsna Historic Graveyard (partial)
Rosinver New Cemetery
Rosinver Old Cemetery
MAYO Genealogy Archives
Bushfield (R.C.) Cemetery
MEATH Genealogy Archives - Headstones - St Loman's, Trim
St Loman's, Trim
ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Croghan, Estersnow Cemetery
SLIGO Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Achonry Church Graveyard
Collooney; St. Paul's (CoI) Church graveyard
Easkey; Abbey Graveyard
Easkey (R.C.) Church
Easkey; St Anne's (CoI)  Graveyard
Roslea Cemetery- Mostly R.C.
TIPPERARY Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Moycarkey Graveyard (additional)
WEXFORD Genealogy Archives
Extracts from Old Parish Registers - Fethard
WICKLOW Genealogy Archives - Church
Baptisms At Rathdrum C.of I. 1825-1841 - CLARE
Derralossary Assorted Baptisms, EDGE, LONG, GILBERT, BELTON, HORAN, HATTON
Asst. Marriages Derralossary, HATTON, GILCHRIST, TYNDALL BELTON & others
Asst. Marriages from Kiltegan C of I. 1881 - 1914
Assorted Derralossary Burials, HATTON, GILCHRIST, BELTON & others
WICKLOW Headstone Index
Kilquade Cemetery, Pt. 2 (update)

15 June 2012


     Sticky Situation #1: A relative does not seem to know that his "mother" was, in fact, his grandmother and that his sister was his birth mother.  The mother and the sister are both deceased. You are putting together a family history and plan to share it with the extended family, and you are sure this person will obtain it.
     Sticky Situation #2: You are discussing the family history with a relative, and it becomes apparent that he has no idea that his mother had been married and widowed before she married his father.
     Sticky Situation #3: You are helping a dying man find his roots. He tells you that he knows there are mysteries in his family, but he does not know quite what they are. You discover that his birth parents placed him and one of his sisters (there were other siblings kept by the parents) with another family. You contact his relatives (with his permission), and discover that it is an "open secret" in the "adoptive"family that he was not a blood relative. The family members beg you not to tell this man the truth, claiming it would destroy him. Plus, they claim the sister, also elderly and ill, does not know about her "adoption" either.
     Each one of these situations was encountered by a family historian. Naturally, the solutions to sticky situations are dependant upon the people involved. What works for one family might not work for another. But these type of situations do remind us that we do not research our family history in a vacuum. Our work and our discoveries have the potential to affect lives, emotions, and relationships. Sometimes, we have to tread softly when asking questions or sharing information.

11 June 2012


The following is a press statement issued by the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland.
"The crisis facing our cultural institutions is an issue all too familiar to the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI).  As an organisation at the forefront of developments in Irish ancestral research, APGI has heard the rhetoric about our cultural assets while observing the deterioration of our cultural institutions. Increasingly limited access to valuable genealogical records housed in our cultural institutions only frustrates and disappoints visitors of Irish ancestry who come here specifically to research their family history.

The proposed merger of the National Archives into the National Library is indeed ill-advised, but it serves to highlight the longstanding lack of appreciation for these and other national record repositories by those who control finances.  Investment in heritage-related tourism facilities is being drastically reduced. At the same time the government is promoting The Gathering, a nationwide event for the Diaspora being held in 2013.

To its credit, the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has funded two acclaimed projects in recent years.  The digitisation of the 1901 and1911 Census returns and that of various parish registers from Carlow, Cork, Dublin and Kerry has won enormous praise internationally.  This is largely because they have been made available online free of charge, a gesture much appreciated by the Irish Diaspora.

Unfortunately, when members of the Diaspora arrive in Ireland to convert the online experience into a personal visit they find the facilities far from impressive.  They encounter queues (and even unscheduled temporary closures) at the General Register Office Research Room.  They find time restrictions on ordering documents in the National Archives.  In the National Library they find the core services so diminished that books and newspapers can be ordered only every two hours, while the self-service parish register microfilm area is unsupervised. The staff in these repositories valiantly strive to provide good service despite shortcomings in terms of funding.

Last September Jimmy Deenihan,T.D., Minister of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, held a meeting ‘to establish the current position regarding the provision of genealogical services and to discuss options for further development of these services’.  It was a very worthwhile meeting, attended by public and private sector organisations (including some from Northern Ireland)involved in the provision, use and dissemination of genealogical records.  Since then there has been no follow up.  We believe the Minister was sincere in wishing to enhance an area much lauded for its contribution to heritage-related tourism.  Evidently his colleagues in government fail to see the connection between adequately equipping our national record repositories and impressing tourists who wish to research their ancestry.

Our expertise and understanding in this area is a resource that the government could be calling on in advance of The Gathering 2013."

For more information about APGI, please visit the website: www.apgi.ie

09 June 2012


     Here is another great reason to visit Ireland soon--free professional consultations will be available at the National Library of Ireland (NLI) and the National Archives, beginning Monday, June 11th.  The NLI has had a consultation service for years in their genealogy room, but the availability of a professional genealogist was spotty at best (although I have received great advice from library staff members, so don't ever discount their help and expertise--they might not be genealogists, but they are knowledgeable).
     Eneclann, one of the professional genealogical services that will be providing the free consultations, has sent this announcement:
"The joint consortium of Eneclann and Ancestor Network are delighted to announce that they will provide genealogy services in the National Archives of Ireland and the National Library of Ireland in the coming year, following a competitive tendering process.  The Consortium has increased the number of genealogy experts delivering the service, to provide a wide and comprehensive range of expertise to anyone looking for help and advice in tracing their family history."
The free consults will be available during the following hours:
National Archives of Ireland: Monday to Friday, 10am to 1.30pm
National Library of Ireland: Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 1pm, 2-5pm, Saturday 9.15am to 12.45pm
      For more information, click on the links below.

06 June 2012


    If you haven't visited the land of your ancestors yet, 2013 will be a year to remember. The Gathering, as this nationwide tourism effort is named, is a country-wide project to bring visitors to Ireland next year. The year promises to be a special one in Ireland, with a range of events both local and national. The Gathering has an evolving list of happenings and events, visit their website to keep current: http://www.thegatheringireland.com/home.aspx

01 June 2012


Going to Ireland or to another ancestral location this summer? Preparation is key to a successful trip! My monthly article for the Certificate of Irish Heritage contains tips for a successful trip to the land of your ancestors: