Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Irish Place Of Origin In Reproductive Loan Fund Records

Last Friday (1/23/15), as part of their self-styled Irish Family History Day, Find My Past released a significant tranche of Irish records. For more information about this you can read the report from the always excellent Irish Genealogy News. What caught my eye, and what is of interest to this blog, is the set of records, Ireland, Poverty Relief Loans, 1824-1871.

The Poverty Relief Loans are a collection of papers related to the Irish Reproductive Loan Fund. The fund was created in 1822 to provide short term, low interest loans to the ‘industrious poor.’ By industrious it is meant people who will use the loan for reproductive purposes, for example, a fisherman who needs money to repair a boat or a farmer who wants to purchase new seeds. The fund did not require any capital or physical backing, instead they required that each borrower have two guarantors sign for the loan. In some records the role of guarantor is also called security or sureties. These guarantors were often neighbors or close relatives. If the borrower defaulted on the loan then responsibility for repayment would lie with the guarantors. The records are significant because they include the years of the Great Famine and record those living on Ireland’s Western Seaboard who were hit the worst by the catastrophe.[1]

A large number of the Reproductive Loan Funds failed and closed during the years of The Great Famine. This era, of course, saw huge numbers of Irish people emigrate. In the early 1850s, a detailed townland-by-townland survey was carried out where the Funds were active, to see what happened to those who availed of loans.[2] It is these documents that will be of particular use to those in the U.S. and Canada who are trying to establish a townland of origin in Ireland for their ancestors; they recorded deaths, economic circumstances and, crucially, instance of emigration.

So, an example. Let's say that you have a Michael Ryan in your family tree, born in Ireland, appearing in the U.S. federal census of 1890, and you have traced his arrival in the U.S. to the time of the Great Famine.[3] How many Michael Ryans were born in Ireland? How long is a piece of string? You might never find out where he is from. But, lets also say that in the same building on that census document, the next entry after Michael Ryan and his family is for the Ebzery family, also from Ireland.

You've worked hard on researching your Irish ancestors over the last twenty years and you know that the FAN club methodology can be useful, all the more so with rare names. Ebzery is an unusual name in Ireland and a quick check of the 1901 census and Griffith's Valuation, shows that there are only a few of them, all concentrated in Limerick. That's a good development, but there are still a lot of Michael Ryans in Limerick.

Now it's time to look for these names in the Reproductive Loan Fund records. Philip Ebzery took out a loan on 23 November 1846, with John Ebzery and Michael Ryan acting as sureties.[4] An 1853 record from the townland of Doonscardeen in the civil parish of Robertstown, Limerick gives the following information -

Ebzery/Ryan Reproductive Loan Fund [5] - Click for larger image

For Philip it says: “resided here in 1846 a farmer, was poor, died about 4 years ago, family all emigrated.” For John Ebzery, it states: “lived here in 1846, was a farmer, went to Australia about four years since with his mother and sisters” and for Michael Ryan it outlines that he was: “lived here in 1846, a poor laborer supporting his mother and sisters” and he “emigrated to America with his family in 1847.”[6]

To suddenly find this information after years of searching would be a fantastic development for your genealogy research. You could now hone in on Catholic parish registers from the area to look for baptismal and marriage information to further link this Michael Ryan with the one in the U.S.

To learn more about these records, and see another  example of tracing an emigrant from his appearance in these records to the U.S federal census, you can read the associated Find My Past blog post.

Some of these records have been available for free online for a number of years. In 2003, the non-genealogy website, movinghere.org.uk, digitized records for counties Cork, Galway, Limerick, Mayo, Roscommon, and Tipperary for the years 1846-1848 and 1853-1854 (Clare and Sligo are not included).[7] Crucially, they include the relevant records that contain information about those who emigrated.

This website is no longer maintained, but can be accessed via the UK Government Web Archive. To access it, follow the instructions at this link, and search for 'Reproductive Loan Fund.' Alternatively, you can use this archived version (not all functionality will work).

The record images on the Moving Here website are not indexed, as they would be on a genealogy website, so you will have to experiment with the names of counties and areas within to see if they are available. If you find records for an area of interest, you can download them as pdf files.

The Skibbereen Heritage Centre (Co. Cork) has also transcribed information from eight funds that were active in the area. Access their database here.

[1] FindMyPast. How to use our new Poverty Relief Loans to find your Irish ancestors. 2014. http://blog.findmypast.com/2015/how-to-use-our-new-poverty-relief-loans-to-find-your-irish-ancestors/?_ga=1.87627665.807020905.1419377821: accessed 24 January 2015.
[2] Grenham, John. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors. 3rd ed. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan. 2006. p. 29.
[3] Just checking to see if you are awake; practically all of this census was destroyed in a fire in the 1920s. We'll use 1880 instead for this example :)
[4] Grenham. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors. 2006. p. 29.
[5] National Archives. Irish Reproductive Loan Fund Records. Reference T91/180/0448. Image from www.movinghere.org.uk: accessed 6 July 2012.
[6] Grenham. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors. 2006. p. 29.
[7] Ibid.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Kansas Irish Genealogy Sources

It can be more difficult to find substantial and useful sources for the study of Irish genealogy in the United States the further west one is from the east coast. The vast majority of Irish immigrants stayed in states such as New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Nevertheless, many did travel to the midwest and beyond, where records about their lives were made and books written about their communities.

For those who are researching their Irish ancestry in Kansas, the state historical society provides a very useful online bibliography of sources, reproduced below, to aid such research. You can access the relevant webpage of the Kansas Historical Society by clicking here.

Bird, Roy. The Irish Arrive in Kansas. Kanhistique. 5 (March 1980): 1 and 3. (Oversize/K/978.105/K13/v.5/no. 11).

Bush, Maynie S. "Irish." The Frankfort Story. Frankfort, KS: Frankfort Centennial Committee, 1967. (K/978.1/-M35/F853/pp. 139-143).

Butler, Thomas A. The State of Kansas and Irish Immigration. Dublin, Ireland: McGlashan and Gill, 1871. (K/325.1/Pam.v.1).

Forter, Emma E. "The Irish in Marshall County." History of Marshall County, Kansas. Indianapolis, IN: B.F. Bowen Co., 1917. (K/978.1/-M35/F77).

"Into Old History: Dedicates a Feature to Early Irish Settlers of Solomon Community." Salina Journal. July 18, 1933. [1 p.]. (Reel: S 303).

"Irish Colony Settled Garden Township." Newton Kansan (Fiftieth Anniversary Edition). Aug. 22, 1922. [1 p.]. (Reel: N 469)

Madden, John. "The Irish Colony in Marion County." Florence Bulletin. Oct. 11, 1934. [1 p.]. (Reel: NP 4303).

__________. "A Lost Colony." Marion Review. Sept. 26, 1934. [2 pp.]. (Location: 34-04-01-02).

O'Neill, Pat. From the Bottom Up: The Story of the Irish in Kansas City. Kansas City, MO: Pants Publisher, 2000. (K/917.78/On2).

Owen, J.S. "Irish Came to Kansas Not in Colonies But in Families." Topeka State Journal. Mar. 18, 1939. [1 p.]. (Reel: T 1593).

Patrick, Nikki. "Irish Had Role in the Growth of Southeast Kansas." Pittsburg Morning Sun. Mar. 13, 1982. [2 pp.]. (Reel: P 1500).

Redmond, Bernard P. "History of Coal Creek: Its Irish Pioneers. Seneca Courier-Tribune. Apr. 14, 21 and 28, May 5, 12 and 29, June 2, 12, 16 and 19, and July 3 and 7, 1941. [13 pp.]. (Reel: S 891).

Rupp, Jane C. "Irish Settlement in Clark Township." Marion County Scrapbook. (Vol. 1). N.p.: Author, 1927. (K/978.1/-M34/R87/p. 45).

Taylor, Loren L. "A Short Ethnic History of the Irish People in Wyandotte County." A Short Ethnic History of Wyandotte County. Kansas City, KS: Kansas City Kansas Ethnic Council, 1982. (K/978.1/-W97/K133s).

Waldron, Nell B. "Colonization in Kansas from 1861 to 1890." Doctorate dissertation, Northwest University, Evanston, 1923. (K/325.1/W147/c. 2/pp. 40-120).

Monday, January 19, 2015

From Achill To Cleveland

In 2003, the town of Achill in Co. Mayo was twinned with the city of Cleveland, Ohio. The reason for this twinning was due to the considerable number of Achill emigrants who settled in the city over the last 150 years.

A great example of this connection is seen in the Lavelle Family From Achill to Cleveland website. Lavelle is one of those wonderful rare Irish names and can be tied to a particular part of Ireland. MacLysaght's The Surnames of Ireland outlines that it "is the name of a north Connacht sept, also found in Donegal."[1] Indeed, the website has documented 44 different Lavelle families who settled in Cleveland from Achill.

Estimates vary as to how many Clevelanders have Achill ancestry with anything from 25%[2] to 80%[3] claiming such links. However, I have not been able to find cited documentation to support these numbers.

Do you have Irish ancestors in the Cleveland area and are looking for their place of origin? Chances are, they were from Achill.

[1] MccLysaght, Edward. The Surnames of Ireland. Dublin: Irish Academic Press. p. 190.
[2] Lavelle Family From Achill to Cleveland. Year Unknown. http://lavelles.us: accessed 6 January 2015
[3] Author Unknown. History of the Twinning of Cleveland, Ohio and the Parish of Achill, County Mayo, Ireland. Year Unknown http://ead.ohiolink.edu/xtf-ead/view?docId=ead/OCLWHi0286.xml;chunk.id=bioghist_1;brand=default: accessed 6 January 2015.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

McLean, VA FHC Irish Collection

The worldwide network of Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon/LDS) Family History Center's (FHC) have been an indispensable part of family history research for many people. Despite the advent of billions of records coming online, there are still many billions of records that are very much offline. When this is the case, getting those microfilmed records delivered to your local FHC can sometimes be the best option to move your research forward or, in reality, backwards!

The McLean, Virginia FHC is located just a few miles west of Washington, D.C. It is an unusual setting for one of the largest and little-known collections of Irish genealogy records, containing over 3,000 microfilms along with books related to Irish genealogy. My understanding is that it serves as a closer location, east of the Mississippi river, to the large Irish American populations in the east coast states. This results in less wait time for films ordered from FHCs in these states, as they do not have to come from the main LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Many people come to the nation's capital to do research at the National Archives and Library of Congress. If you do so for Irish genealogy research, then make sure to take the short trip a few miles across the Potomac river to check out the resources at the McLean FHC.

The Mount Vernon Genealogical Society (Virginia) has produced this helpful guide to Irish collections at the McLean FHC. The McLean FHC is included in the GSI database on this website. Click here to see all groups, societies, and institutions in the U.S. and Canada that can help your Irish genealogy research.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Irish In Cleveland Book

Many states, cities, and towns have a seminal publication about the Irish community that lives there. In Cleveland, Ohio it is The Irish Americans And Their Communities of Cleveland. The book was published in 1978 and written by Nelson Callahan and William Hickey.

The book begins with a brief overview of Irish history and Irish immigration to North America, before focusing on the Irish immigrants who came to Cleveland. Chapter 3, Settling in Cleveland, forms the core of the first section and follows a broadly chronological path through the 19th century. Beginning with those who first came in the 1820s, it moves on to those who lived on Whiskey Island and in Irishtown, focusing on such topics as employment, crime, the Civil War, and politics along the way.

The Catholic Church is a central theme that runs through the second half of the book. As in many other urban areas, it played a defining role in the lives of 19th century Irish immigrants who moved to the growing American cities. Readers will learn about the parishes and cemeteries in the city, which can lead to useful genealogical information. There are also maps, photographs, and information about Cleveland Irish organizations as they existed when the book was published.

While not aimed at genealogists, the book will be valuable to those who have ancestors in the city. Luckily it is available to read for free on the Cleveland Memory website, click here to access

Friday, January 9, 2015

Maps Of Select U.S. Cities 1930

I came across this interesting set of maps on the National Historic Geographical Information System website (NHGIS).[1] NHGIS provides free online access to summary statistics and GIS[2] boundary files for U.S. censuses and other nationwide surveys from 1790 through the present.[3] There are different sample maps to view, one of which is a set of maps for three U.S. cities, created from 1930 federal census data.

The maps show the distribution of first and second generation Irish immigrants in the cities of Boston, Chicago, and Pittsburgh. There can sometimes be ambiguity as to whether a first generation immigrant is the foreign-born person who immigrated or their native-born children. Social science researchers and demographers mostly refer to the first generation as those who are foreign-born and immigrated to the U.S.

Unfortunately the detail is not of the highest quality on the maps and there are no sub-boundaries for the cities. However, they can be useful when used with more detail maps of the cities. They indicate areas with high concentrations of Irish-born people and their children, and can be useful as  a starting point to work out where an immigrant might have lived upon arrival, if not already known. The thinking being that a new immigrant is more likely to first stay in an area with a lot of Irish people.

You can see this and other non-Irish maps on the NHGIS website by clicking here.

Note: as you can probably make out on the maps, the definition of Irish for this map includes those born in the then Free State and Northern Ireland.

[1] Minnesota Population Center. National Historical Geographic Information System: Version 2.0. 2011. https://www.nhgis.org/map-archive#Irish: accessed 6 December 2014
[2] Geographic Information Systems
[3] Minnesota Population Center. National Historical Geographic Information System: Version 2.0. 2011. https://www.nhgis.org/user-resources/project-description: accessed 6 December 2014

Monday, January 5, 2015

Western Reserve Historical Society

The Western Reserve Historical Society (WRHS) is the oldest cultural institution in Cleveland, Ohio and its efforts concentrate on the history of northeastern Ohio. It does this in many ways, such as with their large number of significant collections focusing of different ethnic groups, one of which is the Irish. Their "Irish American History Archives....collects, preserves, and makes available for research the papers and photographs of the Cleveland Irish community and the historical records of Irish organizations and institutions in northeast Ohio. Materials relating to politics, religion, culture, business, labor, genealogy, education, fraternal organizations, charities, and individual life experiences are the key to the understanding of the Irish experience in greater Cleveland."[1] The WRHS Irish American History Archives is maintained in partnership with the Irish American Archives Society, a Cleveland based non-profit organization.

The collection is wide ranging and consists of books, manuscripts, newspapers, periodicals, photographs, and other items. A considerable number of genealogy books are included, making it a good place to conduct research if you live in northern Ohio or western Pennsylvania. The family papers of many Cleveland area Irish families are housed here and contain genealogies, photographs, and other useful information. One final example of the use of this collections is the considerable number of organizations that have their records housed as WRHS, including the Burke School of Irish Dance, McGorray Brothers Funeral Home, and the superbly named Knights of Equity, an Irish Catholic social group, first established in 1895.

Click here to access the website of the WRHS Irish American Archives. The Western Reserve Historical Society is located at 10825 East Boulevard, Cleveland, Ohio 44106.

[1] Western Reserve Historical Society. Irish American Archives. Year Unknown. Available at http://www.wrhs.org/research/library/significant-collections/irish-american: accessed 31 December 2014.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Naturalization Records From Troup County, Georiga

Troup County, Georgia, was founded in 1826 on the border of that state with Alabama. Documents from the Troup County Archives are available to view via the Digital Library of Georgia. One interesting set of documents is the Inventory of the Troup County, Georgia Superior Court Records 1827-1926, 1936-1937. A subset of these records is ‘Series IV: Naturalizations, 1842-1908.’ Scanned images of the naturalization applications for sixty-eight immigrants are available to view. Eight of these men were from Ireland and their Irish county of origin is recorded on the documentation. They are:

Name                    Year of Naturalization                    County of Origin
Maginis, Daniel                 1843                                       Dublin
Ryan, Daniel                       1854                                       Limerick
Ryan, James                       1854                                       Tipperary
Ryan, John                          1854                                       Limerick
Sullivan, Jeremiah            1855                                       Kerry
Simpson, Thomas            1859                                       Leitrim? (unsure if it is this county)
Gaffney, Thomas              1860                                       Roscommon
Riley, Jeremiah                 1860                                       Cork

Access these records by clicking here. Access the Digital Library of Georgia website by click here.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Irish Genealogy In North America - 2014 In Review

2014 saw many interesting developments for Irish genealogy enthusiasts in the U.S. The biggest record release was undoubtedly that of the Irish Immigrant Girls Organization in New York City. In total, 35,000 free records in digitized ledgers from the years 1897 to 1940 came online. What makes this records set even more valuable is that they are records for female Irish immigrants and the Irish county of origin is listed. 

The members of the Troy Irish Genealogy Society, near Albany, NY were very busy with two record releases of their own in January and November. Both of these databases contain transcribed records from cemeteries and funeral homes. Again, the all important Irish county of origin is provided, where known.

One of the commercial genealogy websites also got in on the act with the release of two new databases. Irish Death Notices in American Newspapers and Irish Marriage Notices in American Newspapers debuted on FindMyPast. Here's hoping the big three (Ancestry, Familysearch, and FindMyPast) will have more records that focus on Irish immigrants in the U.S. and Canada in 2015.

In August, the Celtic Connections conference was held near Boston. Some of the most well known speakers and professionals in the Irish genealogy world were in attendance for the two-day event. The word is that the organizers hope to plan a similar conference in Minneapolis, MN in 2016.

The Wexford Savannah Axis was launched in March and holds the promise of being useful for those with links to the southeast of Ireland and the state of Georgia. Collaborations between historical societies and institutes of higher education in both places will examine the migration of people from that part of Ireland to the Peach State.

To the best of my knowledge, I am not aware of any new records from Canada that were discovered or came online in 2014 and are specifically to do with Irish genealogy. There are, however, many such useful resources already online. Click here to read more than forty posts I wrote this year that highlight some of the best.

There is a fantastic Irish genealogy society scene all over the U.S. and Canada. From Florida to Ottawa, west to Seattle and south to San Diego, various clubs and societies met every month during 2014. At these meetings, thousands of people learned more about their Irish ancestors. There were some excellent talks and lectures arranged by these organizations, with many more to come in 2015.

All in all, 2014 was a pretty good year for Irish genealogy in North America.

Friday, December 26, 2014

You Want To Learn More About Your Irish Ancestors?

The Christmas and New Year holiday period is a time when families travel great distances across the U.S. and Canada to be together. It can often be a time for reminiscing about family occasions and those from older generations who have recently passed away. This conversation can gradually turn into a genealogical investigation without anyone realizing. Questions are asked about grandparents, great-grandparents, when ancestors first came to North America, and before you know it, you have just spend a couple of hours trying to find information about your ancestors online.

For those of you with Irish ancestors, some of the same refrains can be heard when this conversation begins: "well, your grandfather didn't talk much about where his parents came from in Ireland", "we only ever see Ireland on the records we have", and "I think they might have been from Cork, wait, or did their ship leave from Cork?"

If you have come across Townland of Origin as you try to Google information about your ancestry, then welcome, and have a look around. Start in the About section to learn what this site does and what exactly a townland is. Next, try the archive and select the country, state, or Irish county that you are interested in to read the articles about those areas. Did any of your ancestors immigrate through Ellis Island or live in New York City? Then I encourage you to learn what my book Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City  (cover image above) has to offer. 

If you are looking for an introduction to genealogy research in states that have large Irish-American populations then check out all the free articles that I wrote for Irish Lives Remembered genealogy magazine. Lastly, do you want to get more involved in your genealogy research in 2015? If so, I definitely recommend joining your local genealogy group/society. Check out my GSI (groups/societies/institutions) database to find one in your area.

Best of luck with your Irish genealogy research in 2015! 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Irish Newfoundland Connection

The southeast of Ireland has very strong historical links with Newfoundland in Canada. Indeed, many people with ancestors in this part of Canada can trace their Irish origins back to the counties of Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary, and Kilkenny.

A 2000 documentary about these historic links is available to view on YouTube. An Bóithrín Glas: Talamh an Éisc (Green Lane/Small Green Road: Newfoundland) was produced by the Irish language network TG4.

Note: this is an Irish language documentary but has English subtitles.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

South Bend, Indiana

South Bend, Indiana is the small town that is renowned for being the home of the famous Notre Dame University. The university was founded by a French Catholic priest in 1842 and is intimately associated with Catholic Irish higher education.[1] Countless numbers of Americans of Irish heritage have studied there. The town itself attracted a small but significant number of Irish immigrants in the post-Famine years. By 1860, there was about 400 Irish born residents.[2]

If you know or think that some of your Irish ancestors may have lived in South Bend, then Jill Dale's Rootsweb site is an important port of call for your research. Among her research focusing on county Mayo, and Irish immigration in Britain, she has documented her extensive research about Irish immigrant families in the city. Her own Brennan family research is the focus, but she has gone far beyond this to include information about Irish immigrants coming to the city, a history of the main Catholic parish, St. Joseph's, and transcriptions from many 19th century sources such as censuses, parish registers, and city directories. The transcribed information is helpfully divided by family name.

Access the website by clicking here.

[1]University of Notre Dame. History of the University: A Place Born of Imagination and Will  2014. http://www.nd.edu/about/history : accessed 7 December 2014

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Irish Episode For WDYTYA 2015

The New York Post newspaper ran a story yesterday outlining the 2015 lineup of celebrities that will appear on season six of U.S. Who Do You Think You Are? The one that will be of interest to Irish genealogists will be the episode featuring sitcom actor Sean Hayes.

Hayes recently tweeted about his trip to Ireland where he did family history research.

The Hayes name is mostly associated with the counties of Munster*, but he could be searching for information about other paternal lines, or his maternal line. His Wikipedia entry says that he was born in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, a suburb to the west of Chicago, so that could be a likely starting point.

Season six of WDYTYA? will begin on February 24th. So far, I have not found a listing of when the other episodes will air, but it would not surprise me if Hayes' episode comes to our screens around St. Patrick's Day.

Do you need help with Irish genealogy research in Chicago or Illinois?  Click here to read other articles about these places.

Click here to watch Irish genealogy shows and presentations, including more Irish Who Do You Think You Are? episodes.

*The province of Munster contains the counties of Cork, Clare, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, and Waterford.

UPDATE, 18 Dec: Dick Eastman's blog has a piece on the new season and confirms that the episode will focus on Hayes' paternal ancestry

UPDATE 2, 19 Dec: The Irish Independent newspaper has all the details about where in Kerry his ancestors were from.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Saint John Almshouse Records

I have featured a number of databases on this blog from the New Brunswick Irish Portal over the last number of months (see the end of this post for a full list of links to previous articles). Another one worth highlighting is the Saint John Almshouse Records, primarily for the Irish place of origin information in these records.

This database covers the years 1843 to 1897 and is made up of two different sets of registers - St. John [sic] City Almshouse Admission Registers, 1843-1897 and Saint John Almshouse Admission Registers, 1843-1884. A number of city institutions are covered in these registers, namely the Alms and Work House, the Emigrant Infirmary, and the St. John Emigrant Orphan Asylum. These institutions were created due to the arrival of large numbers of poor emigrants from Europe, in particular Ireland.

The structure of the search facility is slightly different when compared to the websites of the commercial and non-profit behemoths. Firstly, you can pre-select the amount of information that is returned from searches. Some of the information, such as collection, page, given names, and surname is automatically returned, but there is a sizeable list which is optional. This include: admitted by, age in years, age in months, age in days, condition, nativity, date landed, died/discharged, date of death/discharge, place of origin, parish of residence, time in house, time in province, vessel, vessel type, vessel master, religion, departure, landed, and remarks. However, information was not necessarily collection for each heading.

Secondly, the collections can be filtered and they are categorized by archival number. St. John [sic] City Almshouse Admission Registers, 1843-1897 make up the MC249 collections and Saint John Almshouse Admission Registers, 1843-1884 make up the MC700 collections. It is recommended to read the introduction and 'About the Records' to fully understand this record set and database.

Many of the records for those born in Ireland return a county of origin, making this a particularly useful database to consult.

Access the database by clicking here.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Journey Home Genealogy Blog

The amount of quality blogs that focus on Irish genealogy has steadily increased over the last five years. The two that stand out from the crowd are Claire Santry's Irish Genealogy News and John Grenham's Irish Roots. Blogs in that crowd include Margaret Jordan's Cork Genealogist, Kay Caball's My Kerry Ancestors, Donna Moughty's Irish Genealogy Resources, and without jumping on the self-praise bandwagon, hopefully Townland of Origin.*

There is one blog, though, that teaches me something new with almost every single post: Journey Home Genealogy. It is written by Dwight Radford, who is one of the foremost experts in the US when it comes to Irish genealogy. Blogposts frequently focus on methodologies, sources, and experiences researching in Ireland, and among Irish immigrants in the U.S. and Canada.

If you don't know your Tithe Applotment Books from your Griffith's Valuation, or are still looking on Familysearch for that 1861 Irish census database, then you might want to come back to it in the future. Basically, by that I mean that this blog is aimed at intermediate and advanced Irish genealogy researchers. Irish records in Spanish archives? Check. Correlating city directories with censuses in Ireland? There is some of that too. Irish Immigrants in a multi-ethnic parish? That's covered.

The blog is usually updates 2-3 times a month and you can sign up via email to follow it. It's definitely one to check out.

* I have not considered blogs from commercial companies that have a large number of Irish genealogy records and databases.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery, Baltimore, MD

St. Peter's Catholic Cemetery in Baltimore, Maryland is located on Moreland Ave., to the north-west of the downtown area. It opened in 1851 and was associated with St. Peter the Apostle parish which was founded on the corners of Hollins and North Poppleton Sts. in 1842. This parish, known as the "mother Church of west Baltimore", was built to provide a place of worship for the growing Irish population who moved to the west side of the city to work on the B&O Railroad.[1]

Three different online indexes of burials for the cemetery, in .pdf file format, are available to view for the years 1851 to about 1970. Each of these indexing efforts come from different sources and cover a majority of, though not all, entries. It is recommended to read the 'Preface' for each set of files to understand from what source they were transcribed and what years they cover. You can access all three sets by clicking here and a cemetery map by clicking here.

Note: St. Peter the Apostle parish is now closed. In 2004 it merged with St. Jerome and St. Martin to form Transfiguration Catholic Community. Phone: 410-685-5044 or visit the parish website for more information, such as the location of parish registers.

[1] Spalding, Thomas W. The Premier See: A History of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, 1789-1989. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. 1989.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

From Donegal To Philadelphia

The always excellent Irish in the American Civil War website recently had an in-depth article about Irish chain migration to the U.S. Focusing on the life of Private Charles O'Donnell, the blog curator, Damian Shiels, tells the story of how many people from the civil parish of Donaghmore, Co. Donegal emigrated to Philadelphia, PA, beginning in the early 19th century.

Friday, November 28, 2014

New Troy Irish Genealogy Society Database II

Last week, Irish Genealogy News reported that the Troy Irish Genealogy Society (TIGS) released another fantastic database of records. St. John’s Cemetery, Albany, NY Interment Records, 1841- 1887 contains over 12,700 transcriptions, of which almost 4,000 of these are for people from Ireland. What makes this record set even better is that the county of origin is provided for almost 3,400 of those Irish-born people.

The importance of having local knowledge and of preservation efforts are both seen in the description of how these records came to light. The TIGS website outlines that the interment book was in the possession of a former employee of another Catholic cemetery in the area and was in a gradual state of  decay. Who know what would have happened to these records if they had not been discovered by those who knew the genealogical importance of the information contained in that book.

You can read all about the records and access the database in the TIGS website by clicking here.

Troy Irish Genealogy Society is listed in the GSI database on this website. Click here to read a Townland of Origin article from January 2014 about other databases that the group launched on their website.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thanksgiving Radio Show Interview

**UPDATE Wed, Nov 26th: Tomorrow's episode of the Genealogy Radio Show has been postponed. I will post the date/time of the rescheduled broadcast when it is announced.**

On Thursday, I will be interviewed by Irish genealogist Lorna Maloney on The Genealogy Radio Show. The show is broadcast live and my interview will take place at 4pm Irish time/11am Eastern.

The show has only been broadcast for a few months and has already had a stellar line-up of Irish genealogy experts, such as Brian Donovan, Fiona Fitzsimons, and Dr. Paul MacCotter.

Thursday, of course, is Thanksgiving in the United States, So if you are looking for an excuse to get out of the kitchen for half an hour, why not tune in! You can listen, via the "Listen Live" button, on the right hand side of station's webpage.

The Genealogy Radio Show is broadcast every Thursday on the county Clare based community radio station, Radió Corca Baiscinn. Podcasts of previous episodes are available to listen to.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Biographical History Of The American Irish In Chicago

Biographical History of the American Irish in Chicago[1] is an 1897 publication that falls into the category of books that highlight the origins, life, and achievements of notable Irish-born immigrants and first generation Irish Americans in the United States. In total, the book contains information for about 300 such people who lived in the Chicago area in the 19th century.

For almost every entry, the place of origin in Ireland is given for those who were immigrants. The place of origin of their parents is noted for many of those who were first generation Irish American. Other useful genealogical information is included for many entries such as year of immigration, early movements in the US for immigrants, employment history, who they married, how many children they had, and date and place of death and burial. Pictures and signatures are also included for some of those written about.

This example gives a flavor of what is contained in the publication:[2]

As with almost all of these 19th century biographical publications, there are no citations from primary sources. Use the information as a guide in your research and, as much as is possible, verify any information with primary documents.

You can read the book in full on the always excellent Hathi Trust website.

[1] Ffrench, Charles. Biographical History of the American Irish in Chicago. Chicago, IL: American Biographical Publishing Co. 1897.
[2] Ibid. pp. 10-11.