20,000 historical documents which were thought to have been lost forever when the public records held in the Four Courts were destroyed in the bombardment of the courts in 1922 have been digitized and put up for public access on a website by historians at Trinity College. The documents from the medieval Chancery of Ireland have been reconstructed by historians searching in other archives. The web project is called CIRCLE: a calendar of Irish Chancery Letters c 1244 – 1509. The chancery, established shortly after the Anglo-Norman invasion of 1169, issued letters in the king’s name under the great seal of Ireland.
You can see these letters at www.tcd.ie/chancery .
Here is a link to an interesting article entitled "Tracing and celebrating Irish ancestry easier than ever," by Shelagh McNally, for POSTMEDIA NEWS.
Forget the Titanic, this year also sees the 100th anniversary of the signing of a document in Ireland that demonstrated the vehement opposition to the cause of Home Rule by the island's Protestant population. In 1912 they feared the notion of Home Rule actually meaning 'Rome Rule', as the propaganda of the day alleged, thanks to the minority position of the Protestant people on an island wide basis which was largely Roman Catholic.
Some half a million people signed the Covenant on September 28th 1912 - strictly speaking the Ulster Covenant was signed by men and the equivalent Declaration of Loyalty by women. The records (signatures) have been digitised and made freely accessible on the PRONI website at http://applications.proni.gov.uk/UlsterCovenant/Search.aspx . The document was not only signed in Ireland, however, but in Britain and across the world.
It’s all happening at once, first I learn about The Family History Show vodcast (see previous posting) and then I hear that the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) are launching a YouTube channel.
The channel is offering a series of lectures which are being presented in conjunction with the Open University Ireland. The first lecture is entitled “What is Irish Local History?” and the second is “Poverty”.
Sounds interesting and having them on You Tube is great for us who can’t get to PRONI to hear the original talks. Dr Janice Holmes has started a blog to accompany the lecture series.
The sound is a little tinny, but hey nothing to complain about when we have the luxury of top speakers talking to us in the comfort of our own homes!!
Gavin Gavin McMahon of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) reports that a major new update to the Name Search facility was launched on 11th March on the PRONI website.
He writes that ‘Eight further pre-1858 will indexes have been added, containing around 53,000 new entries and the index to coroners’ inquests has been extended by ten years to 1920.
These entries are in addition to the pre-1858 administration bond indexes, fragments of the 1740 and 1766 religious census returns and 1775 dissenters petitions already available on Name Search. The application now provides a searchable index to thousands of records as early as 1608. The new indexes cover the dioceses of Armagh, Clogher, Connor, Down and Kilmore. Given the loss of census records for Ireland prior to 1901, these records will be of great interest to genealogists tracing their family tree as far back as the 17th century.
Although most pre-1858 wills do not survive, the indexes provide information of use to genealogists, such as the names of the deceased, their address, the date of the grant of probate or administration and occasionally their occupation. Previously users would have to come to PRONI and spend considerable time searching these indexes. Now they are available anywhere in the world and can be searched in seconds.
The completion of this major project is a valuable addition to PRONI’s online resources and a mark of its commitment to helping make the archives available to everyone.’
The site can be accessed via PRONI’s main website at www.proni.gov.uk
A Programme for Government agreed between the new coalition partners (Fine Gael and the Labour Party) includes a commitment to release the Irish 1926 census.
Given the destruction of Ireland's 19th-century census returns in 1922, access to the 1926 census returns has been an objective long pursued by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO).
Although lobbied by both CIGO and the Genealogical Society of Ireland, the outgoing Fianna Fáil-led government never really grasped the compelling arguments in favour of allowing access to these census records. By contrast CIGO found Fine Gael's spokesman on Tourism, Culture and Sport, Jimmy Deenihan TD, very receptive to the arguments, which he explained reinforced the party's own policy development in relation to the stimulation of roots tourism.
And he went on to say that this fitted well with their plan to develop in Dublin "a national archives and genealogy quarter, providing easy access to archives and tapping into an area of cultural tourism which is of huge interest to the vast Irish Diaspora".
Of course researchers shouldn't hold their breath on this issue as it will take time to prepare the necessary legislation to amend the Statistics Act 1993 and, in line with Fine Gael policy, to formulate wording to allow for the redaction of so-called “sensitive” data (basically, information relating to persons who, by virtue of their age in 1926, might still be living).
Despite these issues, today's announcement is excellent news for everyone interested in genealogy research.
Date: Sunday May 1, 2011
Location: Oakville Public Library, 120 Navy Street, Oakville, Ontario
Time: 2 p.m.
For more information about this meeting please contact Jane Watt, firstname.lastname@example.org or our chairperson, Bob Crawford, email@example.com
Tracing Irish Ancestors – Two Case Studies
Keith Rodgers, using Canadian records, traced the 1823 journey of his Irish ancestors to their farm in Ontario from their Belfast departure.
Ken Featherston's Irish ancestors settled in Trafalgar Township between 1823 and 1835. He has traced them back to their townland of origin in County Tyrone.
Both men are members of Halton–Peel Branch.
Check out the list of 50th Anniversary Projects we're celebrating with!
PRONI archival photographs now on ‘Flickr’
PRONI is the first Northern Ireland heritage institution to make such collections available on Flickr.
Here's more detail found on the PRONI Images on Flickr page.
Approximately 100,000 images of probated wills have been made available online for the first time.
The following is from the Northern Ireland Executive
This is the culmination of a project by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) to index and digitise early wills from the three District Probate Registries of Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry between the years 1858 and 1900.
Speaking today about the Wills application, Culture Minister Nelson McCausland said: "One of PRONI’s key goals is to digitise key cultural resources and make them easily available to a worldwide audience. This free of charge application will therefore be of enormous assistance to anyone trying to trace their genealogical roots and will be of particular help to those wanting to begin their research from the comfort of their own home. "
"In recent years there has been a huge increase in people researching their family history and trends have shown that a large number of these people are from outside the UK. I am sure this new application will be of particular interest to this international audience."
Wills are one of the most used archival sources by both family historians and solicitors. The images have been linked to an existing searchable index which allows researchers to view details such as name, dates and the abstracts taken from the original entries.
Future digitisation plans include the addition of further pre–1858 will indexes to the PRONI Name Search facility. These indexes from Northern Ireland dioceses, will list the names of people who had wills probated as early as the seventeenth century – pushing the possibility of family and local history research further back in time.
Looking ahead to next year’s opening of the new PRONI headquarters, the Minister added: "I recently had the privilege to visit the stunning new PRONI headquarters at Titanic Quarter. This much needed £30 million investment in our cultural infrastructure was provided by the Northern Ireland Executive. The new state-of-the-art facility will open to the public early next year and will protect Northern Ireland’s irreplaceable archives in a safe and secure environment."
Find PRONI at www.proni.gov.uk/
ROOTS 2011- An International Conference on Family History Research
hosted by the Quebec Family History Society
This event will be the largest English-language genealogical conference ever held in Quebec. There will be numerous well-known speakers discussing all aspects of family history research, computer demonstrations, and a book fair. All lectures and events are in English.
Date: June 3rd, 4th, & 5th 2011
Place: McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
For complete program details and registration form visit the QFHS website at: www.qfhs.ca
Or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also write to:
ROOTS 2011, Quebec Family History Society,
P.O. Box 1026, Pointe Claire, Quebec, Canada H9S 4H9
or call: 514-428-0238
Essex County Branch of OGS will be having an Irish Theme
The Essex County Branch of OGS will be having an Irish Theme at their regular monthly meeting on March 14, 2011.
The Irish Cultural Group of Windsor will be there and Debra Honor, Director of OGS Region One has invited all Ireland SIG members who live in the area to attend as well!
The meeting is at the Windsor Public Library on Ouellette Avenue in Windsor, Ontario at 7:00 p.m. on March 14, 2011.
More details will be posted later!
New phase of irishgenealogy.ie launched
This new phase covers church baptisms, marriage and burial records from before 1900 for Dublin City, Carlow, Cork and Kerry, and will again be free of charge.
Please see http://churchrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/about/aboutprogress.html for detail on the release schedule.
PRONI Information Update
Please see PRONI Information Update for the latest details.
Certificate of Irishness
The Irish government has announced plans to introduce a certificate of Irish heritage for up to 70 million people of Irish descent around the world who do not qualify for citizenship. The certificates will be issued by a third party agency acting under licence from the Department of Foreign Affairs, which is considering charging a fee for each document issued.
The certificates are not intended as proof of Irish citizenship. Instead, they are certificates of Irish heritage.
The exact size of the market for a heritage certificate is not known. But it is anticipated that many descendants of Irish emigrants would wish to buy one to display in their homes or as gifts for their children.
You can read more in an article by Paul Cullen published in the Irish Times web site at
Travel Deals to Ireland
"Neither the Ireland SIG, nor the Provincial OGS office have any official involvement in any of these tours. This is not a recommendation, or a warning against these tours. You need to make your own assessment and inquiries"
We've been made aware of the following travel deals to Ireland, please investigate for your self!
1901 Irish census coming June 3
The National Archives of Ireland has announced that:
1901 Census material, with all data transcribed, will be launched before or on 3 June 2010. The data for every county will be launched all at once rather than in tranches as with 1911. http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/about/futureplans.html
As with the 1911 Irish census-- it will be free at http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/
With St Patrick's Day approaching many people think about
their Irish and Scots-Irish ancestry, and the Foundation's
forthcoming lecture tour in the USA (13 to 20 March 2010) is
a great opportunity to celebrate your Irish connections.
We have listed below the details for the venues of our six locations in Wayne PA, Lancaster PA, Raleigh NC, Naples FL, Lincoln NE and Bethpage, Long Island NY.
If you are unable to attend we would ask that you help us promote these events to the widest possible audience by passing on the information to your contacts or local societies.
We should like to thank everyone who helped in setting up our March programme.
To our members/contacts outside of the USA we apologise in advance that this information is not relevant to your area.
We would add though, particular for members in the UK, that the Foundation is keen to undertake more engagements in 2010 and a letter on this subject will be sent out shortly.
For members in Canada, the Foundation is willing to speak to any group who might consider hosting a programme. You might be interested to know that Research Director, Dr William Roulston, has been invited to speak at a conference in the autumn, and could include other venues as part of that trip.
We thank you for your interest in the Foundation's work.
Ulster Historical Foundation
Programme for the U.S. Ulster Historical Foundation Irish Genealogy Lecture Tour, March 13 to 20th, 2010.