25 November 2012


     There has been quite the buzz in the Irish genealogical community surrounding a research project that is making public the 250,000 signatories to the Morpeth Roll. These signatures are on a roll composed of 652 sheets of paper glued to linen. The signatories came from all walks of Irish life, and they signed the Roll in 1841 to express their appreciation to the outgoing British Chief Secretary of Ireland, George Howard, Lord Morpeth. This lord championed reform and religious freedom in Ireland, and was widely admired by both Catholics and Protestants alike. Besides being of interest to Irish genealogists, the Roll provides historians with a snapshot of pre-Famine Ireland. will supposedly offer the database of names online. The roll itself will be on public display at locations in Ireland throughout 2013.
     For more information on the Morpeth Roll, see the Press Release by NUI Maynoot at their web site:

19 November 2012


          The Soldiers' Wills database is a collection of wills made by Irish soldiers who died in the service of the British Army. The current online database contains wills digitised from World War I, up to the end of 1917, plus some from the South African War of 1899-1902.  According to the Archives, the wills  for the years 1918-1922 will be available in early 2013.
     I have previously posted the link to the online Tithe Applotment Books, but such a valuable resources bears another reminder. The Tithe Applotment Books is a valuable research tool for Irish family historians searching pre-Famine Ireland. These books were made between the years of 1823-1837, and cover the parishes and townlands of rural/agricultural Ireland. They were used by the British government to determine the amount of tithes owed to the Church of Ireland by the occupiers of agricultural holdings of over one acre. Remember, tithes were owed the official Church of Ireland by persons of ALL religions. The books list the heads of households. The database is not only searchable by surname, but includes a browse function, so researchers can survey the parishes and townlands, also.
You can bookmark one link to access the three major online databases--the Irish census, the Soldiers' Wills, and the Tithle Applotments-- on the Archives' site:

18 November 2012


Below is the second half of the new updates on the databases of the Ireland Genealogy Projects. Be sure to check out their archived pages as well as their county pages. They are still experiencing difficulty with their Internet connections, so if you cannot access their pages, please try again later. Their sites are well worth bookmarking.
ANTRIM Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary

ANTRIM Genealogy Archives
Landowners 1870's

ARMAGH Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary

CARLOW Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary

CAVAN Ireland Genealogy Archives
Teampall Chellaigh Cemetery Headstone Photos

DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Mount Jerome, Dublin - Part 53

KILKENNY Genealogy Archives - Miscellaneous
From the Sessional Papers 1825

LONGFORD Genealogy Archives - Headstone Photos
Corboy Presbyterian Church Cemetery

LOUTH Genealogy Archives - Census Substitutes
Landowners 1870's - Droheda

WEXFORD Genealogy Archives - Land Records
List of Landowners in 1870's


     Advance notice to Irish family historians (and those interested in the other British Isles also): The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa will be holding its 19th annual conference September 20-22, 2013, at the Library and Archives Canada in Ottawa. The focus this year will be on IRELAND! Keep an eye on their Internet site for news of registration :
     In addition, the BIFHSGO has issued the following call for presentations:
"Call for Presentations for the BIFHSGO Conference 2013
The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) is seeking proposals for presentations at its 19th annual conference, September 20-22, 2013 to be held in Ottawa at Library and Archives Canada. The focus this year will be on Ireland. Proposals for other presentations besides those on Ireland are also invited as well as proposals for workshops or seminars on the Friday (September 20, 2013). Details on writing the proposals can be found at under the Conference heading. Please send your proposals to before January 31, 2013."

14 November 2012


     Don't get me wrong, I spend oodles on online genealogy sites. Some days, it seems to me that genealogy as a passion is more expensive than skiing or owning pro sports teams or other cash intensive endeavors. And, since finding information about my ancestors is priceless to me, I can't say I don't get a return on my buck.
     But, what does bother me is paying for data that is free online.
     You have probably heard of the furor in the genealogy world created recently when Cyndi Howells, the owner of Cyndi's List, accused someone of copying her entire site and placing it in a for-profit site. A a lawyer who has dealt with copyright issues, I will not comment here on her accusations, because the legal issues involved are very intricate, and I only know of her allegations.
     But I do know that we often end up paying for records and data (and sometimes erroneous transcriptions of both!), that we can obtain for free online with just a bit of searching. I suppose that some family historians would rather pay a fee to search "under one roof" for convenience sake.  That is certainly the attraction of a site such as Mocavo, where the user can substitute a search engine, designed for genealogy purposes, for his or her own skill in conducting searches.
         But, if you must budget the funds you spend on genealogical research, you would be wise to spend some time examining the databases of a subscription or for-profit site before you charge your credit card. I recently received an email from a site offering Irish records, many of which I know I can obtain for free elsewhere. Take some time to examine the list of databases, and determine if any of them 1) are free elsewhere, and 2) could actually be pertinent to your own research. Then determine whether the search capabilities of the website might aid your research and might be worth the cost itself.
     For a start, I will list below just a few of the Internet sites containing free databases of Irish records that are included in for-profit sites. The list is incomplete, and I invite readers to share others in the comment section. Your search should include looking for the website of the Irish county library in your county of focus. You would be amazed at some of the databases that the local libraries in Ireland have placed online!
(The following  link is for the Clare County Library, search for other county libraries's online collections)
IRISH NEWSPAPERS (limited years)
FLAXGROWERS LIST (and other databases)
FAMILY SEARCH (LDS CHURCH) (various records)
IRELAND GENEALOGY PROJECTS (tons of free Irish records transcribed by volunteers)

08 November 2012


The volunteers at the Ireland Genealogy Projects continue to place valuable Irish records online for free, so check their sites often. Give them a thanks and a pat on the back, please, because they provide Irish family historians with free resources--and free stuff is getting harder to find these days!
NOTE: The IGP has been experiencing technical difficulties recently. If the links do not work, please check back and attempt to access their sites later.
Carlow Genealogy Archives
List of Landowners 1870's

Cavan Genealogy Archives
Derver Catholic Graveyard, (Photos added)

Clare Genealogy Archives - Memorial Cards
Additional Memorial Cards

Derry Genealogy Archives Ireland)
Kilcronaghan (Church of Ireland) Parish Church

Donegal Genealogy Archives
List of Landowners 1870's

Down Genealogy Archives
Belfast, Knockbreda Cemetery, Belfast - Part 2

Dublin Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Mount Jerome, Dublin Dublin - 600 new photos

Dublin Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Deansgrange Cemetery Nessan's Part 4

Galway Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

Kerry Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Killarney, St. Mary's (Church of Ireland) Memorials
& Muckross Abbey - KELLY

Laois Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

Leitrim Genealogy Archives Headstones
Diffreen R.C. Cemetery
& Manorhamilton Church of Ireland

Leitrim Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

Limerick Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

Longford Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

Louth Genealogy Archives
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

Mayo Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

Meath Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

Monaghan Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

Roscommon Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

Sligo Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

Tipperary Genealogy Archives - Military Tipperary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

Waterford Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1847 Royal Irish Constabulary men

Wexford Genealogy Archives
Wexford Voters 1835-1836

04 November 2012


      Female ancestors are often difficult to find, particularly in records before the twentieth century, due to name changes and records based on the husband's name. Even after a husband's death, an Irish woman of earlier times was often identified through his name. I have encountered many instances, especially in Irish estate records and in ship lists from the early and mid 1800's, in which a woman was identified as "Widow," instead of by her first name. For example, I have records from the 1840's in which my Bridget Large is listed as "Widow Large" and "Widow Thomas Large." Other such women are listed in like manner. While searching an online database, I found this Bridget in Canadian records by searching for "Widow Large." (I can deduce that the result was my Bridget because of other facts on the record).
      If you are searching for a female ancestor in online records, have you thought of using "widow" as a first name or as a keyword term in the search engine?

01 November 2012


     I have had great difficulty writing this blog for the past year or so because the world of genealogy has undergone many rapid changes. On the bright side, amazing amounts of records are now available online. But, as the online databases have become concentrated in fewer and fewer hands--both commercial and non-commercial--the costs of researching our ancestors has risen, while the accuracy of the transcriptions has fallen. The pricing structures have become so convoluted on a few sites that I no longer browse their records. I felt as if my reporting on the world of genealogy was rapidly becoming free advertising or endorsing for these sites.
      The sophistication of many search engines has also given rise to a new kind of family historian: the "cutter-paster." I am alarmed at the explosion of online trees containing my ancestors in error. I was especially depressed when I found a "cut and paste" tree that contained my late father and brother. I cannot verify that my family belongs in that tree at all.
      I was hurt and angry because I felt as if the owner of the tree did not know my dad nor my brother. He or she did not know the story of these two lives, and obviously they did not care. The person did not know that my father was a policeman nor that my brother loved to listen to Grand Funk Railroad. Jim and Jimmy Large are only two more beans in that family pot.
      So, I turned to the work that comforts me when I am feeling down--finding and sharing family stories.
      I have found that many family historians are timid about collecting and preserving their ancestral lore. Some of us have been put off by genealogists who scoff at family tales as worthless unless the stories provide a useful tool for finding records. But, there is a worth in every family story if it is approached with tact and reason. Many of us are afraid of picking up that pen or hitting that keyboard because we feel that we are missing the writing skills necessary to produce a first-class, written family history.
      I hope to convince you otherwise! There is no one way of preserving your stories, and the important point is that you DO preserve them, no matter how terse or inelegant the form. Along the way, I hope to convince many readers to begin to write about their own lives, too.
      Let's go spill the family beans!  Visit my new adventure of collecting and preserving family lore at
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     I hope to continue to update Help! The Faerie Folk Hid My Ancestors, so please check back here often as well!