31 December 2012


     Beginning with a huge public New Year's Eve celebration in Dublin tonight, Ireland will launch a special 2013 for Irish family historians. THE GATHERING will welcome those of Irish descent--and their friends and family, plus anyone of any nationality who wants to discover Ireland--to a year of locally organized gatherings throughout the country. Many of the gatherings will feature local and family history. Family and clan reunions are planned. Story and song and culture will also be celebrated. What better time to visit Ireland than in a year dedicated to Irish descendants and family/local history? You will find a warm welcome from Irish towns and parishes eager to aid and entertain family historians. Check the web site to find activities and festivals that might help you to find your ancestors:
Town centre, Castlecomer, County Kilkenny

26 December 2012


     Time to take a break from holiday cooking and let the family eat leftovers while you take a few hours to surf the Internet for your ancestors! The genealogy elves at Ireland Genealogy Projects (IGP) were busy through December, adding new items to their free databases. Enjoy!
IRELAND General Genealogy Archives
Assorted Irish Gleanings 1700's
DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Begnet's & Saggart Cemetery, Lawn Section Cemetery
DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Additional Headstones for Mount Jerome
DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Deansgrange Cemetery, St. Fintan's Section, Pt. 5
KERRY Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men
KILKENNY Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men
KILDARE Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men
LONGFORD Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men
LOUTH Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary 1854
Royal Irish Constabulary Men
LEITRIM Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary 1854
Royal Irish Constabulary Men
LIMERICK Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men
LONDONDERRY/DERRY Genealogy Archives
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men
MEATH Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men
MONAGHAN Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men
MAYO Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men
MONAGHAN Genealogy Archives - Photos
McKenna Photos
OFFALY (KINGS) Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men
ROSCOMMON Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men
SLIGO Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men
TIPPERARY Genealogy Archives - Military
1854 Royal Irish Constabulary Men
WICKLOW Genealogy Archives - Church
WICKLOW Genealogy Archives - Headstones
Addional Dunganstown (CoI) Headstones

20 December 2012


Check out this fascinating web site dealing with the history of Irish emigration:
The site is an interactive documentary that allows the user to follow several Irish emigrants at different points in history (1824, 1894, 1939, and 1975). As the user clicks on different boxes and prompts, the site comes alive with facts, photos, charts, and sounds. As a baby boomer myself, I found the 1975 journey a particularly entertaining one that gave me much insight into the emigration journey of persons about my own age.

17 December 2012


     Peter J. Clarke is the writer, blogger, and researcher extraordinaire who maintains the Internet site Free Irish Genealogy eBooks  ( ). Peter has graciously agreed to say a few words about researching  family history eBooks that can be found, for free, online. Thank you, Peter!
     Be sure to check Peter's site frequently for new additions!
     For my interview with Peter earlier this year, see

The Value of Free eBooks to Irish Family History Research
Commercial genealogy sites now boast millions (or is it billions?) of online records allowing people all over the world to research, for a fee, their family histories without ever visiting a library or record office and without ever purchasing (sometimes expensive) birth, marriage or death certificates.   The range of records is astonishing – fully indexed directories, transcriptions of church records, military records, prison records, census data and so on.   Every few months they add a new trove of records giving us new detail for our family trees and a boost to our individual research efforts.

And yet free websites continue to have relevance – whether they are hosted by local or national government bodies or by enthusiastic amateurs photographing and transcribing their local graveyard’s headstones.   My project is the listing and categorising of thousands of eBooks which, by simply clicking on a link, can be read online free of charge using a PC, tablet or e-reader depending on format used by the host site. In general these eBooks fall into two types – family histories and research tools.   In this article I deal with the first of these.
 Family History eBooks
Imagine starting your family history research and finding out that someone has already done it for you! That would of course be the ideal scenario unless of course it is the actual researching that you like rather than the finished results!   In the 19th century and early 20th century thousands of people in Europe and North America wrote and published their family histories.   In Ireland these books were mainly written by well-to-do Anglo-Irish families eager to show their connections with nobility and the ‘establishment’.  A few were written by the descendants of the great Gaelic families.   Intriguingly Irish family histories printed before the Four Courts bombing and fire of 1922 may well have data not available elsewhere.

In North America the motive seems clear enough – people felt some connection with the ‘old county’ and wanted to trace their origins.   They also wanted to pass on to the next generation the story of their origin – in some cases involving poverty, deprivation, religious persecution and in others descent from ancient and noble families.   Millions of Irish people emigrated to seek a better life for themselves and their families and most of these stories show that, indeed, that is what happened.   Many of this first wave of books relate to the Scotch-Irish emigrations which preceded the famine. Now out of copyright and out of print, books which haven’t seen the light of day for decades and some of which were printed for ‘private circulation only’ have been converted to eBooks and made available to everyone without charge on FamilySearch, the Internet Archive and other sites.  

 A second wave of eBooks is much more recent in origin.   Perhaps it was the great 1970’s TV mini-series ‘Roots’ based on Alex Haley’s book telling the story of tracing a slave family back to Africa which gave many around the world (including myself) the inspiration to research and write their own family histories.   The relative ease of modern international travel has meant that some of the authors from North America have actually visited homesteads and locations in Ireland where their ancestors once lived, looked at original parish records and in some cases met with distant relatives.   The invention of computers and the creation of the Internet have also transformed the whole process of family history research.   Using word-processors and then PC’s a new generation of family historians has emerged.   Some have used software programs to ‘write’ their family histories – but these are usually less satisfying – being merely lists of names and dates.   Others have written lengthy chapters on their families and included photographs of family members, copies of documents and other interesting items.  Many of these new authors have subsequently donated their work to FamilySearch who have converted it to freely available eBooks. Other authors have ‘self-published’ using their own websites or the Internet Archive. These later books tend to be about Irish families who emigrated since the famine.

While you probably won’t find a published eBook giving all of your individual family history – you may well find that some branches of your family have already been researched and great detail on the origin of surnames in your tree is now readily available by reading the work of others - living or long dead.   At the very least you can draw inspiration from those who have produced beautiful books crammed with original research.
copyright 2012 Peter J. Clarke
Saintfield, County Down.
13 December, 2012


     The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)  has announced its holiday hours:
PRONI will close at 2pm on Friday 21st December and re-open on Thursday 27th December.
PRONI will not be running a late night service on Thursday 20th and 27th December. On these nights PRONI will close at 4:45pm.
PRONI will also be closed on Tuesday 1st January

09 December 2012


     Our impending move back to the States has me worried about transporting my collection of family history "stuff." Besides the worries of transporting boxes of paper records and notes, I worry about computer accidents and crashes. I don't trust the Cloud, yet I know that papers burn and get lost. Nothing makes a family historian so vulnerable as placing her life's work in another's hands. I want a thousand ways to back up my work!
     I tend to get bored when the B word--backup--is mentioned. Luckily, my husband is obsessive about backing up computer files. While he was setting up my computers for the trip home, I began to drill him on his backup methods. Rather than repeat our conversation here, I will simply direct you to my "interview" with Doug that I posted today on my sister blog, Spilling the Family Beans:
     Read it if you, too, are concerned with the preservation of your own genealogical research and records!

05 December 2012


The server problems of the Ireland Genealogy Projects website has been fixed, and you should have no trouble accessing their records now. Don't forget to check their archived databases as well as the individual county pages. Updates to their databases are below.
CAVAN Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary - 1854
CLARE Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary - 1854
CORK Genealogy Archives
Royal Irish Constabulary - 1854
DOWN Genealogy Archives - Military and Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary - 1854
DONEGAL Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary - 1854
DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Military
Royal Irish Constabulary - 1854
DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones - Deansgrange
Deansgrange Cemetery, Assorted Photos
DUBLIN Genealogy Archives - Headstones - Glasnevin
Glasnevin Cemetery, part 12
GALWAY Genealogy Archives - Military & Constabulary
Royal Irish Constabulary - 1854
FERMANAGH Genealogy Archives - Military Records
Royal Irish Constabulary - 1854
LEITRIM Genealogy Archives
St. Ann's (CoI), Annaduff Parish,  Drumsna
 LONGFORD Genealogy Archives - Photos
Thomas Bredin, Esq.
LONGFORD Genealogy Archives - Headstone Photos
Newtownforbes Old Cemetery (R.C.)
OFFALY Genealogy Archives - Headstones.
St. Colmcilles Catholic Church Graveyard (Durrow)
TIPPERARY Genealogy Archives - Miscellaneous Records
Sessional Papers. 1839
 WEXFORD Genealogy Archives - Headstones.
Monaseed; St.Patrick's Church Cemetery (RC)
WICKLOW Genealogy Archives - Church
Dublin Marriage Licenses - Wicklow 1789-1794