Tag Archives: Eneclann

Reviews for the next 5 Twentyx20 lunch-time talks

The following are the next 5 review’s of the Twentyx20 talks that were held at the National Library of Ireland for the month of August.

11. Rhona Murray

 Using Ancestry.com to trace your family History

Rhona talks 1024x681 Reviews for the next 5 Twentyx20 lunch time talks                                                    Ancestry.com, the US genealogy web site, has billions of records online, but only recently has begun to develop an Irish record collection. Rhona flew in to describe the highlights of that collection, including their transcripts of the Tithe Applotment Books (originals at the National Archives), copies of the Lawrence collection of photographs (originals at the National Library), the Morpeth Roll and many other collections. She also discussed in detail their recent addition of over 1 million Catholic parish register entries, either in transcript form (from National Library microfilms) or with images (gathered by Dublin technology company eCeltic).

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12. John Mc Tierney

Reading Headstones primary sources carved in stone.

John runs an archaeology company who have developed an expertise in graveyards, surveying and recording tens of thousands of headstones from hundreds of cemeteries around Ireland and Britain. His team has also developed an exciting and rigorous approach to the whole process of recording the information in cemeteries. This is precisely because they are archaeologists rather than family historians. As a consequence they are as interested in the location of the grave, the material remains, its position within a cemetery and proximity to others. This is rich information that adds context and detail to the words carved onto the stone.

What is even more remarkable about the work of John’s team is that they are educators and facilitators working with local community groups to enable them to carry out the work under their expert supervision. The end result is then published online at www.historicgraves.com.

John is passionate about this project “it is about action – not sitting on the internet … Historic Graves are family names pinned onto the landscape – representing hundreds of years of continuity and change.”.

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13. Ellen O’Flaherty

Using the College Archives for family history research.

The archives at Trinity College are not well known to family historians, but they contain a great wealth of information. Ellen provided a tour of the key holdings. Naturally, these include copious student records. The entrance registers provide names of students, ages, name of farther, address and fathers occupation (and the images are available free online). But there are lot more student records, like examination records, scholarships, removals, church attendance and fines dispensed to staff and students alike. Ellen recounted some funny examples of food fights in the commons.The archive also has the records of college clubs and societies dating back to the 17th century. The University was a big employer in Dublin city too and the financial records are very useful for tracking staff. Ellen finished her fascinating talk by touching on the biggest collection for Irish genealogy at the Trinity Archives, their estate records. It is not generally well known that TCD was one of the biggest landowners in Ireland, having received land in various plantations and other land confiscations a different dates from its founding in 1592 to the 1700s. As a consequence they have rentals and other estate papers relating to almost every county in the country.

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14. Ian Tester

Digitising Irish newspapers: how we bring Ireland’s past stories back to life.

Ian gave an entertaining and informative guide through the British Newspaper Archive, the joint venture between the British Library and DC Thomson Family History (the owners of findmypast.com). This extraordinary project is digitising millions of newspaper pages from across Britain and Ireland. To date they have scanned 8.7 million pages from 266 different newspapers. So far they have published Irish newspaper titles, with 25 more in current production, and hundreds more after that. The value of newspapers for research is often poorly understood. Local and national newspapers covered an extensive range of subject matter. Ian gave us a glimpse of what he had uncovered on his own family, including wedding details, funerals, accidents and general gossip. He had plenty of advice about how to use newspapers for genealogical research, and was keen to impress that  “local stories are no just covered in local newspapers”.

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15. Lar Joye

No hope, except in arms: the Irish in European armies 1600 to 1945.

Lar Joye gave an absolute tour-de-force presentation, in a talk entitled “No hope except in arms: the Irish in European armies 1600 to 1945.”
Between 1600 and 1945 Irishmen joined the armed services of many European countries.
They served in countries around the world, in most of the major conflicts, and created the reputation of ‘the fighting Irish.’
Lar Joye gave a fascinating insight into the Irish regiments in French service 1685-1871; Spanish service 1709-1939; Italian service 1702-1862; and the Austrian service 1689-1956.
He further discussed the major wars in which they fought in Europe and America.
A few of these gained fame: Peter Lacy 1678-1751, became Field Marshal of the Russian Army.
Count Arthur Dillon 1750-94, led his regiment against the British during the American Revolutionary War, but was executed in 1794 by guillotine.
Myles Keogh was a veteran of the Papal Army and the U.S. Civil War.
The speaker rounded up his talk, with a brief discussion of the sources for the Irish in European armies.

The National Library of Ireland’s own Sources data-base lists and describes some of the original records relating to Irish soldiers in European armies held in archives in England, France, Spain, and Austria.

http://sources.nli.ie/

The audience’s only critique was that Lar Joye didn’t have longer to speak about a subject that he clearly has the mastery of.

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Back to our Past 2014

back to our past Back to our Past 2014

Back to our past 2014 is here again, 17th, 18th and 19th October 2014 Industries Hall, RDS Dublin, Ireland

Friday: 11am – 7pm

Sat & Sun: 11am – 7pm

Eneclann will be exhibiting at stand 30, 30a, 31 and 31a, with a team of our expert researchers ready to help you with all your family history research, Eneclann will also be giving three talks throughout the weekend,

Eneclann Timetable for talks at Back to our Past 2014.

BTOP 2014 talks Back to our Past 2014

  For further details:  phone 00 353 1 496 9028,

or go towww.backtoourpast.com

see you there icon smile Back to our Past 2014

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MR TUKE’S FUND

tukes confernce 1 Back to our Past 2014

dukes confernece 1 Back to our Past 2014

Tuke Conference Booking Form – final-1

 

Are Smart Cities Making Us Dumb ?

Friday the 26th, at 6pm as part of Discover Research,

The Innovation Academy

 will host Innovation Café,

there will be a moderated discussion panel with academics such as our very own Brian Donovan director of Eneclann.

independent image 21 Are Smart Cities Making Us Dumb ?

The topic under discussion is “Are Smart Cities Making Us Dumb?” all are welcome,

find out more by clicking the link below

http://www.innovationacademy.ie/are-smart-cities-making-us-dumb-innovation-cafe-discussion

IA Panel Flyer Updated 723x1024 Are Smart Cities Making Us Dumb ?

The magic of Culture Night 2014.

culture night 2014 in nli The magic of Culture Night 2014.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Culture Night fell on Friday 19th September this year.

A collection of genealogists from Eneclann, Ancestor Network and findmypast Ireland gathered in the National Library of Ireland to provide a free genealogy advisory service to all callers.

Although we’ve operated the genealogy service with our colleagues Francis Carroll and Christina McDonnell throughout the Summer months, there’s something magical about being in the Library after dark.

The evening was further enlivened by live music, poetry readings in the Joly Cafe, face-painting in the entrance hall, and literally thousands of families many with young children wafting around and enjoying what the Library had to offer.

The genealogy service on Culture Night ran from 5 pm to 10pm, with last questions answered by 10.25pm.

A big shout-out to my friends and colleagues that joined in the exuberance – Niall Cullen, Carmel Gilbride, John Hamrock, Hilary McDonagh and Stephen Peirce.

All of us would like to thank the staff of the National Library for including the genealogy service in their Culture Night offering.

Research Tip of the Week 26/9/2014

This weeks Research Tip is written by Enecann Research Expert, Fiona Fitzsimons

Fiona Fitzsimons Research Tip of the Week 26/9/2014

As co-ordinator of the Twentyx20 genealogy talks in the NLI this summer, I had the enjoyable task of attending all the lunch-time talks, and meeting each of the speakers.  One of the talks that really stood out for me, was by Damian Shiels who spoke on the Irish in the American Civil War.

The Irish that fought in the American Civil War were mainly the Famine Irish that settled in the United States between ca. 1845 and 1861.

IT’s possible to trace these men using online records.

The Compiled Military Service Records (C.M.S.R.) are soldiers’ service records, collated from contemporary documents, more than a generation after the war ended,.  These are essentially abstracts of evidence taken from original documents including enlistment, muster and pay-rolls; death notices, hospital and prison registers; descriptive accounts/ service narratives.  These records survive for soldiers of the Union and the Confederate Army, for each regiment in which they served.

Records of Union soldiers were compiled from 1886; records of the Confederate soldiers from 1903. There are more than double the number of records, than there were soldiers, so scrutinise all matching records for a typo in a name, or a change of regiment.

An index to the Compiled Military Service Records is available free online.  It provides a basic index – name, rank, unit and State – by which you may identify individual service records on microfilm

https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1910717

The [Civil War] Soldiers and Sailors (CWSS) data-base is currently under construction.  On completion this will be a portal-site for the history of the American Civil War, and will include records of battles and military units, burial records in the National Cemeteries, Prisoners and Medals of Honour.

http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/soldiers-and-sailors-database.htm

I shuddered when I read NARA’s archival description of the Compiled Military Service Records. “The abstracts were so carefully prepared that it is rarely necessary to consult the original muster rolls and other records from which they were made.” One of the few constants in any field of human endeavour, be it stamp-collecting or maths-physics, is the possibility of h human error.  Where you can’t find a soldier examine the printed lists of both armies, edited by Janet B. Hewett

  •  The Roster of Union Soldiers, 1861-1865, 33 vols.
  • The Roster of Confederate Soldiers, 1861-1865, 16 vols.

 

The best guide to this fascinating subject is Damian Shiels’ book The Irish in the American Civil War, published in 2013 by History Press.]

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Win a Spot Prize

Q. What ‘s a collective noun for a bunch of genealogists?

A frustration of genealogists, a brick-wall of family historians, an obsession of researchers

The best answer wins a spot prize from Eneclann,

Email your answer to marketing@eneclann.ie

Expert Workshops for CPD in Irish family history continue

We continue our series of Expert Workshops for CPD in Irish family history, with a workshop developed by Claire Bradley

claire bradley image  Expert Workshops for CPD in Irish family history continue Title

Crowdsourcing your Irish ancestry

how to use social media and message boards for genealogy.

Time & Date:
2pm to 3.30pm on Saturday 11th October 2011

Venue:
Trustees Room, National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street.

Description of workshop:
Technology has delivered a ‘digital revolution’ in Irish family history and shaken everything up.
Most discussions focus on the greater number of records online and easier access to them.
What often goes undiscussed, and what Claire Bradley focuses on in this workshop, is the ease of access to information and research online via social media (Twitter, Facebook) and message boards.  It has become standard practise to to review family trees and boards online.
In this workshop, Claire covers the “etiquette” of putting family trees online, and the importance of setting out a method of best practice to avoid falling into error.

 

Claire Bradley began researching her own ancestry at the age of 12.  She completed the UCD certificate in genealogy in 2011 and has been working professionally since then. Claire works on the Genealogy Advisory Service in National Library in the summertime and also teaches a beginner genealogy class in Malahide Community School during the academic year.

This is a free ticketed event.
To apply for a ticket, please email workshop@eneclann.ie

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Gala up the Hill for Jack and Jill

up the hill logo  Expert Workshops for CPD in Irish family history continue

Eneclann and Ancestor Network are now raising money for Jack and Jill Childrens Foundation at our Monthly Continuous Professional Development Workshops, We will be holding these workshops every month and hope to raise a little for the foundation each month, a big thank you to all who donated at our last workshop as it is now going to such a great cause.

jack and jill foundation image 2 819x1024  Expert Workshops for CPD in Irish family history continue gala up the hill for jack and Jill image 1 819x1024  Expert Workshops for CPD in Irish family history continue jack and jill foundation1  Expert Workshops for CPD in Irish family history continue

Twentyx20 talks reviews

The following is a review of the first 10 Twentyx20 talks at the National Library of Ireland this Summer, our very first guest speaker was Eneclann Director Brian Donovan and he was followed by some of the top experts in the world of genealogy. Below you can read a short review on each talk.

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1. Brian Donovan:

              The digital revolution in Irish family history.


Since 2003, over 120 million Irish historic-records have been digitised and published online. Of these, 75 million were digitised by Eneclann and findmypast in projects led by Brian Donovan.  Brian is uniquely placed to provide an overview of the digital revolution in Irish family history.IMG 8395 1024x961 Twentyx20 talks reviews

Online publishing has improved access to the records; democratised research by taking it from the hands of a few professionals; and transformed family history into a popular hobby with a mass audience.

Brian also discussed how Eneclann – a small Irish company, has blazed a trail in placing Irish cultural heritage online, in partnership with the cultural institutions.

“Genealogy is more than just names and dates, it is our family story”.

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2. Patrick Comerford:

Hatch, match and beyond: finding trails and tails in parish records.

In a delightfully witty and wise talk, Patrick Comerford informed us there’s more to parish records than registers.  Parish records tell us more about our religious identity and social conditions in the past. the records also show that Ireland was a pluralist society before Ne Temere.rev p Twentyx20 talks reviews

Family history has become main-stream because in the modern world, we use it to construct our own personal identity.

For anyone who missed Patrick’s talk on Tuesday, but who would like to hear more of his ideas on family history, see

http://www.patrickcomerford.com/search/label/Family%20History

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3. Brian Mitchell

Shipping records and their usefulness when searching for your ancestors.

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From the 1700s the main ports of embarcation for Irish immigrants were Dublin, Belfast and Londonderry.  Cork only gained importance as a passenger port in the 1800s.

The Province of Ulster saw particularly heavy emigration from the start.  Between 1717 and 1776, 250,000 Irish left to settle in the British colonies in North America.

The government in Ireland and Britain was mainly hostile to emigration because they didn’t want to loose skilled tradesmen and craftsmen.  Despite this, there are no official registers of passengers leaving Irish ports before 1890, except for the lists of emigrants 1803-06, in the Hardwicke Papers, British Library.

Some records do however survive.  Lists of passengers were compiled by the Masters of the passenger ships, and sworn before the Commissioner in the Port of departure.  A duplicate of the oaths was sent to Dublin.  The survival of passenger lists and shipping records to the present day varies enormously.

“There was an imaginary line that stretched from Sligo on the west coast to Dublin on the east coast.  If you lived north of this line you emigrated from Derry, south and you embarked at Queenstown (Cobh).”

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4. Lorna Moloney

The genealogy of Gaelic Clans: sources, records and evidence – 11th to 17th Centuries.

Genealogy defined the political landscape in medieval Ireland, and was propaganda  by and for the ruling families. The earliest genealogies written down, were recorded in the twelfth century but date from centuries earlier.

By comparing genealogies with the contemporary records, it’s possible to document the rise and fall of dynasties and clans over time.Lorna blog image 1024x530 Twentyx20 talks reviews

Lorna discussed some of the main sources for tracing Gaelic families including Duald McFirbise’s Great Book of Irish Genealogies; the Irish Annals; and records of the Dublin government – the Calendar of State Papers Ireland, the Fiants, and the various land surveys taken in the 1650s and 60s, when the Gaelic political system finally ended.

 “Ireland as a colony was forgotten as a kingdom.”

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5. Aoife O’Connor

Yesterday’s children: discover your ancestors’ childhood.

Aoife O’Connor  gave a thought-provoking talk, on where to find children in the historic records.

Children are civilians too, and the first place to look is in the usual records used for family history: civil records of births and deaths, church records of baptism and burial, and census records.

The National School system in Ireland began in 1837, and the largest collection of school registers is held in the National Archives of Ireland, currently digitising these records with findmypast.ie

In the past, children entered the world of work at an earlier age – some as early as eight or nine years, the majority from the age of 12 or 13.  It’s possible to find records of children in occupational records.aoifes blog image 1024x681 Twentyx20 talks reviews

The National Library of Ireland has photographic collections that show images of childhood in Ireland.  Collections by private and commercial photographers show the middle-classes and the wealthy.  There are some images of childhood in rural Ireland among the photographic collection of the Congested Districts Board.

Records of children also survive for institutions.  Often the first point of contact with any institution, was through the court system.  The Petty Sessions records have many cases in which children are involved, from building an ice-slide and raiding orchards, to the darker side of childhood poverty with instances of children up before the courts for vagrancy or burglary.

She concluded with institutional records of orphanages, reformatory and industrial schools, and prisons.

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6. Paul McCotter, N.I.I Cork

Researching the history of Irish Surnames and clan-names

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Speaking from his own notes, without the aid of overheads, Paul McCotter delivered a bravura performance, at what was one of the best attended talks.

It’s generally accepted by most historians that clan names have an early origin in Ireland, but surnames were only ‘laid-down’ from the 10th Century onwards.  Ireland was probably the earliest of all European countries to adopt surnames.  Yet we still don’t have a full picture on how surnames and clan-names developed over time here.

The starting point for most researchers is the work of Edward McLysaght, a former Chief Herald of Ireland.  MacLysaght’s work though authoritative contains errors.  Individual medieval historians – and here Paul gave an honourable mention to Kenneth Nicholls –  will occasionally research how names may evolve over time, but even then it’s usually as an aside to their main research work.

Paul explained the influence of languages spoken in Irish regions in the last millennium, and how they contributed to the evolution of surnames.  Before the conquest, Irish was the main language.  After the Conquest, the political elite families spoke French, but many of the settlers that followed their political leaders to Ireland spoke Welsh, Flemish and an early form of English [Anglo-Saxon?].  Some colonists adopted the practice of Irish patronyms, and later many Irish adopted English versions of their name, to ‘conform to English civility.’  Paul demonstrated serious scholarly credentials, reeling off examples to show how an original name could evolve over centuries, sometimes changing beyond recognition.

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7. Else Churchill, Society of Genealogists,

The exile of Erin, researching the poor Irish in Victorian London

else blog 1024x871 Twentyx20 talks reviews Elsa Churchill demonstrated a deep knowledge of her sources, and an absolute mastery of her subject – finding the Irish poor in London in the 1800s.

Emigration from Ireland to England and Wales probably reached it’s high-point in the first half of the 19th Century, specifically 1815 to 1851.  There were a number of reasons why migration between Ireland and the rest of the United Kingdom picked up at this time.  The conclusion of the Napoleanic Wars led to an agricultural depression, just as many ex-servicemen attempted to return to civilian life and work; the progression of the industrial revolution, and large-scale engineering projects, led to a higher demand for Irish labour; a growth in steam-shipping between Ireland and England made travel cheaper and more easy to avail of; changes to the Poor Laws adversely affected the Irish poor, who could be removed from England or Wales to an Irish port; and, the Irish people fled the Famine via communication lines that linked them to England and Wales.

By 1851 the Irish born population of England and Wales was 520,000 or 2.9% of the population.  The Irish settled almost exclusively in cities, where they could find jobs.  The greatest concentration of Irish settlement was in London, followed by Liverpool, and then Manchester/ Salford.

Elsa identified the communication lines that brought the Irish into London, and how these shaped the ‘Irish colonies’ – pockets of Irish settlement in the city and suburbs.

She discussed the historic sources of central government (Parliamentary reports); local government (Poor Law Unions) and of the RC church (parish registers); where they can be found; and what information they hold that can be used to trace Irish families.

“[In the early 1800s] The Irish were severely affected in the transition years from the old to the new Poor Laws.”

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8. Audrey Collins, National Archives U.K,

Under-used Irish records in the National Archives in England

Audrey opened her talk with a challenging question – the National Archives of ‘where exactly?’ British identity has changed through the centuries, and very many records of Irish people can be found in TNA. She broadly classified these as specific Irish records series, and general series that contained Irish records, for example Military Service records; other Service records such as the Royal Navy, Airforce and Merchant Navy records; Home Office; Probate; migration records; and Census records.

Specific Irish records series such as the records of the Royal Irish Constabulary, the Reproductive Loan Funds, the Irish Sailors and Soldiers Land Trust, Irish Outrage papers and the Dublin Castle records, ended up in TNA for a variety of reasons but essentially because the  Irish records were part of central government activity.

The TNA has risen to meet it’s public service remit by digitising many records sets and making them available online through digital downloads, and also in collaboration with commercial partners like findmypast and Ancestry.

Audrey’s talk was delivered with a delicious deadpan sense of humour that produced some of the best belly-laughs of the entire season from our regular audience.  A gem

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9. Hilary McDonagh, Ancestor Network,

Genealogy and sporting records-from sporting Laurels to Family Trees.

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Hilary considered the connection between family history and sport.  Almost everyone has ‘done’ sport at some time during their lives, but we don’t often consider sporting records as relevant to research.

Sports-clubs generate records: administrative records including Committee Minute Books; Membership Registers; the club’s Financial records including dues paid, or not, or larger debts around club maintenance or kit; Fixture lists and results/ score-books; programmes and other publications; as well as newspaper cuttings.

Hilary briefly considered some of the challenges in persuading clubs that these records are intrinsically useful, and to either create archives or deposit their records in archival collections.  In the former category, she cited the examples of the G.A.A., the F.A.I. and the I.R.F.U.

In the latter category, she discussed the Dublin City Sports Archive collections in the Gilbert Library, of fairly recent origins.  In a hilarious aside, she recounted her own experience in preparing a commemorative publication and subsequently archiving the records of the ‘Maids of the Mountain’ Hockey Club

Hilary concluded with a call to arms: to the public to recognise the importance of sporting records, the clubs to be more proactive, and the cultural institutions to widen their definition of popular culture.

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10. Jacinta Prunty, N.U.I Maynooth,

Did you come from Dublin dear ? understanding Dublin city through maps

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Development of Dublin city over 1000 years in maps.  Dublin has always been unusually well documented in maps and surveys.  Even the earlier medieval history of the city has been surveyed in retrospect by its’ historians and archaeologists, who have re-created maps and scale models of the city from Viking times and the time of the Conquest.

Jacinta’s basic premise was that maps are a key source with which we can ‘open-up’ the history of people and places at any given time.  Researchers can use maps to understand how a village, town or city developed; how a town may be connected to other places by its’ proximity to the sea or rivers; how villages, towns and cities often develop close to fords/ crossings, which may later become the sites of bridges and harbours.

Maps display change over time: in the early 1600s for example the city of Dublin began to develop beyond the limits of its’ medieval walls; or how the status of a neighbourhood can change over time – for example Henrietta Street build from the 1720s as townhouses for the elite, was by the early 1900s a tenement.

Jacinta directed the audience to explore some of the maps she showed on screen, which are widely available in hard-copy or online.

The Down Survey Maps 1650s http://downsurvey.tcd.ie/down-survey-maps.php

The Ordnance Survey Maps from 1837 http://www.osi.ie/Home.aspx

In hard copy, Irish Historic Towns Atlas series http://www.ria.ie/research/ihta.aspx

Jacinta Prunty is an engaging speaker, who has the lucky knack of making her audience feel smarter just by listening.

“The where always matters in family history.”

 

 

 

 

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Expert Workshops for Continuous Professional Development, have resumed again.

Organised by Eneclann’s Fiona Fitzsimons and Ancestor Newtwork‘s Maeve Mullins.

The Expert Workshop series resumed this week, with a double-bill from our own Kay Caball, and guest speaker Dr. Gerard Moran.

 Expert Workshops for Continuous Professional Development, have resumed again.

Kay Caball led a workshop on  “Researching the Kerry Girls: Emigration and the Earl Grey Scheme.”
The workshop was held in the Davis Theatre, Trinity College Dublin at 3pm on 11th September.

 

 

cc760904 beec 4ffb a1c1 24539c153ae2 Expert Workshops for Continuous Professional Development, have resumed again.

The second Expert Workshop for CPD, will take place at 2pm today, Saturday 13th September in the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street.

Dr. Gerard Moran will give a workshop on “Emigration from the Workhouses and family history.”

 

We have a first rate line-up for the Expert Workshops this Autumn.
Keep an eye on our newsletter for all announcements.
The workshops are free ticketed events.

To apply for a ticket to the particular workshop you’re interested in attending, write to workshop@eneclann.ie

 

jack and jill foundation Expert Workshops for Continuous Professional Development, have resumed again.

As part of our monthly Continuous Professional Development in Irish Family History workshops we will have a little box set up for anyone who would like to donate what they can to such a worthy cause, all proceeds will go to the charity and hopefully make a difference to someone.

Research Tip of the Week! 10-9-2014.

This weeks Research Tip of the week is written by Enecann Research Expert, Carmel Gilbride

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Family history concerns itself with mapping people to places. We need to be familiar with the places where events in our ancestors lives may have taken place. One of our ‘go to’ sources for this information is the work of Brian Mitchell, including hisGuide to the Parishes of Ireland. Guide to the graveyards and parishes in Ireland  and the new edition of hisAtlas

These publications are an invaluable source for family historians.  The simple numbering of parishes, of all denominations, within counties can signal  to us to the scale of our task. At a glance we can see, for example, how many Presbyterian congregations there may be in a given civil parish. We are then alerted to the extent of our possible search.

As graveyards are a constant source of interest for family historians, Mitchell’s listings of graveyards by denomination within counties , together with Ordinance Survey reference, can really help to pinpoint a likely place of burial for our ancestors,

Book Review: ‘Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City’ by Joe Buggy

finding your ancestors in newyork city Book Review: Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City by Joe Buggy

 

This book is the first by relative newcomer Joe Buggy. I say relative because I had the pleasure of meeting him and hearing first-hand the early fruits of his labours two years ago. It was a revelation to me then, and the end result, neatly packed into 165 pages, is a wonderful addition to the arsenal of those Americans trying to trace their Irish roots. Joe’s aim is both simple and ambitious and summed up eloquently in his opening paragraph.

“The aim of this book is to present a comprehensive overview for anyone wishing to trace their Irish ancestors within the five boroughs of New York City” and specifically to help find their place of origin in Ireland. For anyone who has ever tried to research their Irish ancestry this is the number one aim, and a challenge that has left many enthusiasts stumped. Americans are driven to despair by this seemingly impossible task.

Certainly Irish research has become much easier as a result of the digital revolution in access to Irish archives, especially those available throughfindmypast.com and other commercial and free websites. But it’s of little assistance to those who have no idea even what county their ancestor came from in Ireland.

Into this breach steps Joe, ready with concrete steps to deal with the problem in NYC. He starts by describing the vital records created by the city, state and federal government, including BMDs, census, naturalizations, wills, employment, crime, cemeteries and more. But that’s just the start, he describes a huge number of record collections, publications and web resources in detail, with helpful hints on how to use them, and what you’re likely to find. He gives a great chronological account of settlement patterns of the Irish in the city, and the way people from certain counties would congregate in specific districts and wards.

His methodology section is strong, emphasising the importance of researching an entire family within the context of their broader community and network. This is so important in unlocking intractable problems, and his advice is relevant to everywhere in the USA, not just NYC.

His treatment of the records of the Roman Catholic Church is very extensive, comprising a third of the book. He gives a comprehensive list of parishes, register start dates, websites and important notes. He is right to focus on these records, as they are not available online, or in most cases on microfilm. They are rich with critical information about the lives of the Catholic Irish community which made up a large majority of the Irish in New York City. Many registers recorded details of place of origin, or gave information about parents still resident in Ireland.

finding your ancestors in newyork city 2 Book Review: Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City by Joe Buggy

I have a few minor quibbles regarding this otherwise excellent guide. I would suggest that the next edition should include the records of the Episcopalian and other protestant churches. By 1841 nearly 40% of the Irish population were non-catholic. This section of the Irish population declined rapidly during the 19th century precisely due to emigration. Probably the greatest number of non-catholic Irish immigrated to the USA but they assimilated more quickly with mainstream America because of their religious affiliation and language. If this is true for the 19th Century, it cannot be over-emphasised for all Irish immigration to New York before 1800. This is another area where further work could be done, but where fewer records survive. These criticisms shouldn’t detract from the book which remains an essential guide for all thoseBook tracing the Irish in New York City.

So is this the final word on the subject? Of course not. Even Joe doesn’t claim that. There are dozens of small county associations, Irish centres and support groups, trade unions, radical and conservative political organisations some of which are mentioned, but with only sparse details given. Their records are at serious risk, if they haven’t been lost already. The sad truth is that “Irish-America” is disappearing, and with it the organisations that sustained the links, as well as their records. As a consequence Joe’s book is even more important in bringing attention to the importance of these records in the story of the Irish.

By Brian Donovan

Brian Donovan 2 Book Review: Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City by Joe Buggy

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