Hore Abbey, County Tipperary

May there be a generation of children on the children of your children - Irish Saying

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Irish Genealogy News 

The Rochester Irish Festival is this weekend (Sep 6, 7, and 8) at Camp Eastman in Irondequoit. I will have a table there for the Rochester Genealogical Society and will be a presenter in the Celtic College. Course I – Searching US Records for your Irish Ancestors will be at 3pm on Saturday and Course II – Searching Irish Records will be at 2:30 on Sunday. Hope to see you there.

Who Do You Think You Are? is back on the air, this time on the TLC channel. If you are like me and don’t get TLC, you can watch entire episodes online.

There is a program September 7th at 10:30 about Researching Your Veteran’s Story. I believe the focus will be on researching veterans from the WWI era to the present. CDR Victor Failmezger USN, Retired will give the presentation at the Geneva Historical Society.

OASIS is a national organization “dedicated to enriching the lives of mature adults.” The Rochester OASIS offers many great courses in topics such as history, computers, and arts. One of the current offerings is a fantastic course that I had a chance to take last year. The San Patricio Battalion and the Mexican-American War is presented by Bill Sanders – you can see a preview by searching on YouTube for “San Patricio at Oasis.” This course gives insight into what it was like for our Irish ancestors in the US following the Famine.

Irish Genealogy News 

Hi folks!  Hope you're having a good summer.  I thought you might be interested in the following:

Irish subscription site, findmypast.ie has a temporary free access deal to birth/marriage/death records for today through June 30th. See http://www.findmypast.ie/articles/irish-records-office-destruction (You didn’t have anything planned for this weekend, did you?)

Not Specific to Genealogy…

Out of Ireland is a tv show that airs on some PBS stations (including Syracuse & Buffalo – not Rochester). The good news is that you can view past shows online at www.outofirelandtv.com. “Each week, the program features highlights of the news from Ireland’s national broadcasting service, RTÉ. The show also includes interviews with Irish and Irish-American celebrities and politicians and showcases Irish music, entertainment and business news.” (Thanks Patty)

There is a free online course about Exploring Irish Identity which covers history, literature, film, GAA, art, music and dance, language, and landscape. The website explains “The Exploring Irish Identity course aims to provide a broad exploration of how history, geography and culture have interacted to construct ideas about what it means to be Irish and, in so doing, shaped Irish consciousness.” To sign up, go to http://mooc.hiberniacollege.com and click on Register. You’ll see that some classes have already taken place, but you have access to all content. (Thanks Ed)

Irish Genealogy News - Irish Genealogy Magazines 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day (almost)!

The following is information about two magazines devoted to Irish genealogy. One is free and both, I’ve found, present helpful insight.

Irish Roots has been published since 1992. It’s available for a 25 euro subscription (4 issues per year) at http://www.irishrootsmedia.com. “Genealogy is the main focus, but Irish history, culture and news also feature prominently.”

Irish Lives Remembered (http://www.irishlivesremembered.com) is a FREE monthly digital magazine which has been published for 10 months. There is no paper version. The current issue has 86 pages including special sections for researching Tipperary and Australia. When viewing an issue, you can save it to your computer by clicking on PDF download at the bottom of the screen.

On Wednesday March 20, 2013 at 6:30pm, I’ll be presenting my Course III – Irish Name Variations & Search Techniques at the Ogden Farmer’s Library.

On Saturday April 20, 2013, the Rochester Genealogical Society (RGS) will be hosting a full day conference: A Day of British Genealogy Research with Paul Milner. Paul is an entertaining and knowledgeable speaker who has spoken at the major genealogical conferences. Even for those of us without a British line, I expect that we’ll be exposed to valuable tidbits. (Since Ireland was under British rule for a long time, there are many relevant Irish records in British repositories!) Pre-registration is required and full details are at http://nyrgs.org/.

Irish Genealogy News - Rochester & Toronto 

Hi Folks! Hope you had a great summer. The Rochester Irish Festival will be September 7- 9...I'll be there most of the weekend hosting the display for the Rochester Genealogical Society. Lots of good presentations in the afternoon on Saturday & Sunday. (The classes are free, but you have to pay to enter the festival.) I'll be presenting the following:

Saturday, Sep 8, 2012, Course I - Searching US Records for Your Irish Ancestors, 6 pm
Sunday, Sep 9, 2012, Course II - Searching Irish Records for Your Ancestors, 3 pm

There is a full day conference on Irish Family History being offered November 17, 2012 in Toronto. For info see: http://www.torontofamilyhistory.org/Irish%20Workshop%202012%20prelim.html

Take Care,

Irish Genealogy News - It's March 

Hi Folks! Hope you have a great March and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Here are my upcoming presentations:

March 7, 2012, Researching Your Irish Ancestors, Ontario County Genealogical Society, 7pm
March 8, 2012, How to Get Ready for 1940, RGS Computer Interest Group, 7pm
March 10, 2012, Googling for Genealogy, Central New York Genealogical Society, 1pm
March 14, 2012, Course II - Searching Irish Records for Your Irish Ancestors, Ogden Farmer's Library, 6:30pm
March 16, 2012, How to Begin Researching Your Irish Ancestry, Irish Studies Conference, St. John Fisher College, 11:15am

Also FYI, there is an Introduction to the Irish Language course being offered by Erin McMahon through the Rochester chapter of the Irish American Cultural Institute which begins March 10th. (The more we know about the history and culture of our ancestors, the “luckier” we’ll be as genealogists.)

If you’re like me and have missed some or all of the genealogy-related tv series, you can watch them online (without commercials!!!) at the following links:

Who Do You Think You Are? http://www.nbc.com/who-do-you-think-you-are/video/
Faces of America, http://video.pbs.org/program/1397337072/
History Detectives, http://video.pbs.org/program/1138014438/
PBS Ancestors, http://www.byub.org/ancestors/

Images of the 1940 US Census will be available April 2nd for no charge at http://www.archives.com. Indexing will begin at that time and your help is needed. See http://the1940census.com for details – even a few minutes a day can make a difference.

Take Care,

Irish Genealogy News - 2012 Developments 

Hi Folks! Hope you had a great holiday. Looking forward to a happy 2012, there are several encouraging signs for those of us interested in Irish genealogy.

There is a growing feeling in Ireland that making it easier for its Diaspora to find their Irish roots will encourage tourism. The thinking is that if more people can identify their ancestors, they will visit their ancestral homes. With the financial trials in Ireland the last few years, enhancing tourism is an important issue. Here’s some examples of initiatives that are under way:

• Ireland Reaching Out Project
o “The Ireland Reaching Out (Ireland XO) project is based on a simple idea; instead of waiting for people of Irish descent to trace their roots, we go the other way. Working through voluntary effort at a townland, village and parish level here in Ireland, we identify who left, and trace them and their descendants worldwide, proactively engaging with them and inviting them to become part of an extended “virtual” community with their place of origin.”
o “The national pilot project of Ireland XO was developed in South-East Galway from October 2010 through to July 2011 culminating in a hugely successful inaugural Week of Welcomes event held in the area in late June. The project is now expanding out of South-East Galway to a number of pilot project areas from Donegal to Kerry in preparation for a full national roll-out in 2012/2013.”

• 1926 Irish Census
o The 1901 & 1911 Irish censuses are available (free) at the National Archives site, http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie. These are wonderful resources and many born in the 1830s can be found in the 1901 Census.
o The next census in Ireland after 1911 was taken in 1926, which was the first census for the Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland).
o An Irish law declares a 100 year waiting period before a census can be made public. There is effort towards passing legislation to allow the 1926 Census to be made available as soon as possible instead of waiting until 2026. The new Irish government that took over last year was backing this move, but I haven’t heard where this stands.
o Northern Ireland also did a census in 1926, but I don’t know of any initiative to move up its availability.

• Irish Army Archives (www.militaryarchives.ie)
o Historical documents from 1913-1921 will be available soon (~March 2012). This period includes the 1916 Easter Rising and the War of Independence.

• The Gathering 2013 (http://www.gatheringireland.com/ - not much at this site yet)
o “The main focus of The Gathering will be a series of flagship festivals throughout the year, both existing and new, along with special interest spin-off events, designed to showcase Irish arts, food, sports, genealogy, family heritage, learning, science and hospitality. The initiative will be officially launched with The main focus of The Gathering will be a series of flagship festivals throughout the year, both existing and new, along with special interest spin-off events, designed to showcase Irish arts, food, sports, genealogy, family heritage, learning, science and hospitality. The initiative will be officially launched with a number of special events on St. Patrick’s Day.” - http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Ireland-announces-a-global-Irish-homecoming-for-2013-131382033.html

Take Care,

Irish Genealogy News - Griffith's Valuation 

Hi folks. Next Tuesday, November 8th, 7pm I'll be giving a talk about Griffith's Valuation at the Irish American Cultural Institute at St. John Fisher College. (Details)

"Griffith's" is a major resource when researching Irish families about the time of the Famine. Irish civil registration began in 1864 (non-Catholic marriages began in 1845). Irish church records can fill the void prior to 1864, but they require knowledge of where your ancestors went to church. Griffith's can help you narrow down the location of your ancestral home.

I'll be giving background info on Sir Richard Griffith and his 40 year project. The "products" of his work will be presented along with which ones are most relevant for genealogy. How to access the major components (at no cost) will be discussed. A detailed handout will be available on my site soon after the presentation.

Resources include:
o Free site: http://www.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation/
o Available at http://www.irishorigins.com (fee), http://www.findmypast.ie  (fee) & ancestry.com
o Reilly, James R. Richard Griffith and His Valuations of Ireland. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2000.

Irish Genealogy News - Place Names 

Hi folks. The Rochester (NY) Irish Festival is this coming weekend (Sept 9, 10 & 11) - hope to see you there. I'll be at the Rochester Genealogical Society table most of the weekend and will be giving the following presentations:

Course I - Searching US Records for your Irish Ancestors, Celtic College at the Rochester Irish Festival, 1:15pm, Saturday, September 10, 2011

Dual Citizenship for Irish-Americans, Celtic College at the Rochester Irish Festival, 1 pm, Sunday, September 11, 2011

Course II - Searching Irish Records for your Ancestors, Celtic College at the Rochester Irish Festival, 3 pm, Sunday, September 11, 2011

Administrative divisions and place names are a challenge in Irish genealogy. You may come across a place name related to your family, but then have trouble finding where it's located. Irish Place Names is a free site that lets you enter a place name and see what admin divisions it belongs to. You can also search on county, province, barony, civil parish or poor law union.

Note that like Irish names, the spelling of Irish place names is often more of an art than a science. One of the outcomes of Griffith's Valuation was to specify standard spellings and boundaries for place names. Unfortunately, due to stubborness and illiteracy, spelling variations persisted - so be flexible.

Here's a breakdowon of Administrative Divisions & Place Names:
o Province (4) - Connaught, Leinster, Munster, Ulster
o County (32)
     o Connaught - Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo
     o Leinster - Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leix (Queens), Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly (Kings), Westmeath, Wexford, Wicklow
     o Munster - Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, Waterford
     o Ulster – Antrim(NI), Armagh(NI), Cavan, Donegal, Down(NI), Fermanagh(NI), Londonderry(NI), Monaghan, Tyrone(NI)
o Barony (270) - collection of civil parishes (or parts), http://www.seanruad.com/ for baronies within counties
o Civil Parish (2,508 - these are not church parishes) - Repositories often catalogued by civil parish, http://www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/browse/counties/civilmaps/index.cfm for parishes within counties, http://www.seanruad.com/
o Townland (~64,000) - Smallest official geographic unit, but doesn't have it's own government. http://www.seanruad.com/, http://www.searchforancestors.com/locality/ireland/townlands.html
o Poor Law Union (163) - Poor Law Act of 1838, unions of townlands responsible for poor. Each had a workhouse. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Irish_Poor_Law_Unions for PLUs within counties.
o Superintendent Registrars’ Districts (245) – used in Civil Registration Indexes, http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~bifhsusa/irishregnc.html for districts within counties
o District Electoral Division (3,751) - a division of the Poor Law Union, important when using Griffith's Valuation DEDs within counties

Take Care,

Irish Genealogy News - US Civil War 

Hi!    2011 marks the 150th anniversary of the start of the U.S. Civil War (12 Apr 1861 at Fort Sumter, SC).  Did someone in your family fight in that war?   If your ancestors were in the U.S. at that time, your family was very likely affected in some way.  Below are some basic steps for researching those who served from your family.  For more info, you may want to take a look at Course I – Civil War Addendum at my website.

Identify family members who served
  • Don’t limit your search to direct ancestors. Brothers, cousins, uncles, nephews, in-laws may have served and their military records may include important family info (remember the benefits of Whole Family Research).
  • Locate the candidates in the 1860 U.S. Census (www.familysearch.org). Most served in Voluntary units which were state-based. In most cases, the state where they resided at the time of the 1860 census will be the same state where they enlisted. 
  • Locate the candidates in the following censuses, which include an indication of their veteran status:
             * 1865 NY (census of other states may include similar info) – at www.familysearch.org.  Includes unit and service dates.
             * 1890 US Veterans & Widows Schedule- at www.familysearch.org Includes unit and service dates. Deceased veterans may be included.
  • Search for your candidates in rosters of soldiers and sailors.  Civil War Soldiers and Sailors (CWSS) – at www.civilwar.nps.gov. For each soldier found, gives easy access to regimental history and basic info about each of its battles.

Procure military records and pension applications
  • The National Archives suggests that genealogists:
              * first order the pension application files (often contains great info relevant to the family history).
              * If no pension application is found, then order the compiled military service records (usually contains only info about their service record, although in some cases they do include some family history).
  • How to order a pension application file ($75 or $25)
              * Go to http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/pre-ww-1-records.html#natf85
              * Under Military Pension/Bounty Land Warrant Applications, click Download the Form in order to verify that you have the required information to order.
              * Under Military Pension/Bounty Land Warrant Applications, click Order Online to order.
              * You will have to choose between 2 pension options: Full Pension Application File-Civil War, 1860 or Later ($75) or Pension Documents Packet ($25)
              * The Form 85 instructions describe both options. In theory the $25 packet has the sections which most likely contain genealogical info, but you will have no indication of what you might be missing by not ordering the full option.
  • How to order a compiled military service record ($25)
              * Go to http://www.archives.gov/veterans/military-service-records/pre-ww-1-records.html#natf86
              * Under Military Service Records, click Download the Form in order to verify that you have the required information to order.
              * Under Military Service Records, click Order Online to order.

Good Luck.

Irish Genealogy News - Reverse Genealogy 

Hi folks. If you’ve ever “survived” my Course I presentation, you’ve heard me encourage the use of reverse genealogy. This Wednesday (May 4th) in Rochester there is a presentation on that topic. (6:30pm, Community Room on Second Floor, Barnes and Noble at RIT, corner of Jefferson Rd & John St)

Ed Groszewski, a professional genealogist, will be presenting. He works with a company that does genealogical research so the armed forces can contact kinfolk of missing service men and women. The focus of the talk will be on using sources for twentieth century searching. I expect that Ed will present tools and techniques which will be relevant to your reverse genealogy project.

What is reverse genealogy? Our typical research is aimed at going back in time. Reverse genealogy (or descendancy research) works forward to the current day. You simply select a couple from your family (maybe grandparents or ggp or etc.) and work to identify ALL of their living descendants. Identify all of the couple’s children and then all of their children’s children, etc. To reap the full benefits of reverse genealogy, it’s important to CONTACT the living descendants. Someone out there knows something about your family that you don’t know. If you never contact them, you won’t be able to benefit from their knowledge.

When you make that first attempt to contact someone, DO NOT overwhelm them. Give them a very SHORT explanation of your relationship (~1 sentence) and indicate your willingness to share more info. Ask them ONE question that is simple and straightforward. Make it easy for them to immediately reply (ex: self-addressed stamped envelope). Once you get a nibble, then you can go into more detail.

Is it Spring yet?

Take Care,