Last 5 Reviews for Twentyx20 Lunch-time talks

The following are the last 5 reviews for the Twentyx20 lunch time talks help in the National Library of Ireland for the month of August

16.Brian Donovan

Landlords & Tenants: land and estate records for Irish family history research.

IMG_8395As our scheduled speaker was unable to attend, Eneclann’s own Brian Donovan stepped back into the ring with a talk entitled “Landlords & tenants: Land and estate records for Irish Family History Research.

Brian’s paper gave an overview of the principal land and estate records available for Ireland. In the absence of census records these sources are an essential resource for Irish research. But until recently these sources were poorly understood, difficult to access and interpret. Most researchers are now familiar with Griffith’s Valuation, but still fail to get the full value of the source. Moreover a wealth of data has been recently released online which transforms access and how we can use these records, especially the Landed Estate Court Rentals 1849-85. Moreover, the administration of estates and the authority of the landlord class required more than the maintenance of rentals. It was supported by a judicial system (the magistrates courts) to sustain their position. These archives represent some of the richest resources of information for the population of Ireland in the 19th century.

Brian finished his talk by discussing how the landlord system in Ireland was systematically dismantled as a result of the Land War and through the mechanism of the Land Commission which resulted in a social revolution in Ireland, that has yet to be delivered in Britain.

 

 

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17.Ray Gillespie

Doing Local History

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It’s difficult to summarise Ray Gillespie’s talk so as to do it justice.  He drew on decades of documentary research, and gave a masterful performance that ranged across 500 years of Irish history, citing sources as diverse as the medieval annals and present-day oral traditions.

In the simplest terms, local history is about examining the story of a person in their community, in a given space and time.

Family history, like local history, is best achieved when we stop looking for individuals, and instead trace people in the context of their family and their wider community.

Ray gave two case-studies, one from the late 19th Century in Donegal, the second from the second quarter of the 1500s.

The first case study is published as a book by Frank Sweeney, The Murder of Connell Boyle, county Donegal, 1898 in the Maynooth Local History Series.  In 1898 the murder of Connell Boyle shocked his community, because it appeared motiveless.  He was a widower, living alone in poverty.  He was not in dispute with his landlord, and was not involved in the land-war or in political agitation.  The community thought they knew ‘who-done-it’ but the code of silence in the face of police enquiries, meant that no-one was ever convicted of his death.

The second case study, also a murder, occurred in 1334.  Magnus Ua Duibhgennain “an eminent historian, was strangled and smothered and concealed in his own house by his own wife and by Brian [Maguire].”  Ray considered the consequences for the murderers, their families and their community.

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18. Mary McAuliffe

Finding women in the records.

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In what was one of the finest talks in the season, Mary McAuliffe showed considerable erudition and humour, when she urged the audience to ‘Cherchez les femmes’.

One of the main problems in finding women in the records, is the lack of a paper trail.  The records that survive, focus on men.  This reflects the problem of women’s’ social, political and legal status down through history.  Women are born with their father’s name, and change their names on marriage, and this can make it difficult to trace women in the historic records.

McAuliffe advised us that women are documented, but that very often it’s all about effective use of the records.  We were treated to a whistle-stop tour of many of the documents we associate with family history: census, church and civil records, land records like Griffith’s Valuation and the Tithe Applotment Books.  She then advised us how to ‘cast our net’ more widely, and find lesser known, and less frequently used sources, including diaries, letters, journals, pension applications, some Union records, amongst others.

She concluded by recommending some of the data-bases in the National Archives, in particular the sadly under-used Directory of Sources for Women’s History in Ireland; and advised us all to read the National Library’s own Research Guide for Women in Irish History, which can be found online at www.nli.ie/en/manuscript-research-guides.aspx

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19. Dan Bradley

Niall of the Nine Hostages and the genetic architecture of Irish surnames.

Paternal lineage is traced through the Y Chromosome, while maternal is traced through Mitochondrial DNA.  Surnames are also passed along the male line, so that all things being equal there should be a correlation between the Y DNA and surnames.

Prof. Bradley cited a case study that focused on the Ui Neill Clan in North West Ireland.  The case study drew on over 800 people, randomly selected, from which the following conclusions were drawn:

  •   Y Chromosome genealogy in Irish surname groups usually have a dominant founder.
  •  YDNA indicates that approximately half of all those with the Ui Neill name, or one of the associated surnames derived from the Ui Neill clan group (O’Donnell, Bradley, etc.), are descended from the founder.
  • In Ireland, even common surnames display a foundation pattern, unlike in Britain.
  • Genetic diversity in Irish subjects, indicates that surnames probably originated earlier in Ireland, than in England.

Q.E.D. Ancient genealogy linkages in Ireland are often true.

In the Q&A session that followed, the Prof. revealed that he’s currently working on ancient DNA.  Early indications point to some exciting results!

Those of you interested in ‘this kind of thang’ will be pleased to hear, that Prof. Dan Bradley has already agreed to return in 2015 to talk about his new research findings.

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20. Damien Shiels

Uncovering the Irish of the American Civil War.

America is currently commemorating the 150th Anniversary of civil war (1861-1865).  One of the neglected stories in our history, is Irish participation in this conflict.  Official neglect is all the more surprising, considering how Ireland has courted the American connexion.

Between 1861 and 1865 approximately 200,000 Irish fought in the American Civil War: an estimated 180,000 in the Union army; and ca. 20,000 in the Confederate army.

An estimated 20% or 23,600 of the Union Navy were Irish-born.  We don’t yet have comparable figures for the smaller Confederate Navy.

The total number of the Irish that died in this conflict has been estimated at 30,000.

The Irish that fought in the American civil war, were predominantly the ‘Famine Irish’.

In a commanding performance Damian Shiels introduced us to the main sources online to trace the forgotten history of these Irish soldiers.

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This brought to a close the Twentyx20 talks in 2014.

We achieved record audiences this year, consistently higher than in any of the previous years.  A huge thank you to our speakers for their contribution, and also to the audience, many of whom were regulars throughout the month.

“Family history is popular history, but it’s also a discipline that cuts across many branches of learning.  In planning these talks, we wanted to show this multi-faceted aspect of our subject, which draws on archaeology and archives, genealogy and historical geography, genetics, history and professional researchers, writers and bloggers.

Of course the Twentyx20 talks are not simply about family history.  The talks were conceived with the idea that we might bring in a new audience, and persuade them of the enjoyment and simple pleasures that can be found in research.

In 2014 our invited speakers included established names like Patrick Comerford, Else Churchill, Brian Donovan, Jacinta Prunty and Ray Gillespie.  Family history is also a vibrant discipline, and we wanted to showcase emerging new talent like Lorna Moloney, Rhona Murray, Damian Shiels and John Tierney.

Finally, the Twentyx20 talks are a paen to the National Library of Ireland and its’ wonderful staff.  Since 2008 the National Library of Ireland has grown attendance by 85%, despite budgetary cuts of 40% in the same time-frame.  That the Library has continued to draw in a new audience, is a tribute to the dedication and commitment of the public servants that work there.  The Library provides an essential creative space in Dublin City to research, write, think and create plans.”

Cheers,

Fiona


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