Tuesday, July 19, 2016

The 21st Century Parish History

When you find the civil parish of origin for your Irish ancestors then one of your checklist items should be to find out if a parish history has been written. The quality of such publications ranges from the forensically brilliant to the superficially glossy and everything in between. Regardless, if at all possible, it should be consulted as the type of information they contain might concern your ancestors and not be found elsewhere. For example, I recently had reason to read Forkhill Protestants and Forkhill Catholics, 1787-1858, a truly outstanding publication about Forkhill Civil Parish in County Armagh.

That important point is a somewhat tenuous segue into the recent announcement by Ireland XO of a new website feature called Chronicles.  Chronicles allows those with relevant information to add people, buildings and events associated with a particular civil parish. Their helpful video explains what it is all about and upon viewing, it struck me that it has the potential to become the 21st century parish history.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Celtic Connections Conference 2016

The second Celtic Connections Conference will take place in Minneapolis, Minnesota in a little over five weeks time. Previously held in 2014 in Massachusetts, the conference is co-hosted by two of the biggest Irish genealogy societies in the United States - The Irish Genealogical Society International (IGSI)  and The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA).

Spread across two days, 5 - 6 August, the conference will see some of the most well known names in Irish and Scottish genealogy give talks; John Grenham, Brian Donovan, Dr. Bruce Durie and William Roulston, to name just a few. The theme of the conference is 'Celtic Roots Across America' and there will be more than 20 lectures and presentation across the two days.

The event is being held in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel in the St. Louis Park area to the west of downtown (see map below). Registration for the conference closes this Friday (1 July) Thursday 14 July.

You can find out all the necessary information about the conference on the official website.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

From Carlow and Wexford to Canada, 1817 and 1818

In November 1817, officials from the British Colonial Office began to organize for hundreds of families to emigrate from Counties Carlow and Wexford to British North America. The families were to travel to Quebec in Spring 1818. Two lists were compiled, one Roman Catholics and the other Protestant, and they provide the head of household names and the number of family members for 710 Protestant and 281 Catholic families.

First page of Roman Catholic list[1]

First page of Protestant list[2]

The lists survive in the papers of the Colonial Department and Colonial Office, CO 384 at the National Archives in England. These papers have been digitized and are available to view in the database Canada, Immigration and Settlement Correspondence and Lists, 1817-1896 on Ancestry. They have been indexed, but they are part of thousands of other folios that comprise the collection. The relevant papers can be browsed by selecting Canada, Immigration and Settlement Correspondence and Lists, 1817-1896 → Year Range 1871-1851 → (Volume 001) North America Settlers, 1817 image 182 (Protestant list) / image 192 (Roman Catholic list).

Transcriptions of these lists are available to view elsewhere online. The Ship List has transcribed them and also provide a small amount of analysis to help researchers.

It is important to remember that these lists provide information about families that intended to emigrate. They may never have actually emigrated or other families could have also travelled.


[1] United Kingdom, War and Colonial Department and Colonial Office, Emigration Original Correspondence 1817–1857 and 1872–1896, CO 384/1, p. 188, A Release of Roman Catholic families preparing to emigrate from the counties of Carlow and Wexford in the insuing Spring [New] Ross 29th November 1817; digital image, "Canada, Immigration and Settlement Correspondence and Lists, 1817-1896," (http://www.ancestry.com), Ancestry, accessed 18 June 2016.
[2] United Kingdom, War and Colonial Department and Colonial Office, Emigration Original Correspondence 1817–1857 and 1872–1896, CO 384/1, p. 178, A Release of Protestant families preparing to emigrate from the counties of Carlow and Wexford in the insuing Spring [New] Ross 29th November 1817; digital image, "Canada, Immigration and Settlement Correspondence and Lists, 1817-1896," (http://www.ancestry.com), Ancestry, accessed 18 June 2016.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

The Patrickswell Brownes Blog

It is always refreshing and insightful to see what research problems others have to grapple with as they aim to uncover more about their Irish ancestors and where they come from in Ireland. Learning how other do their research, and the sources they have consulted, can help us become better genealogists.



I recently stumbled across the Patrickswell Brownes blog. Started in December 2015, it walks readers through the research of an unnamed person as they learn more about their Browne ancestors. The posts are insightful, detailed and show a very good knowledge of sources in the United States and Ireland. Bonus points, too, for the healthy dose of citations. 

There have been 14 posts so far and it is worth reading from the beginning.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

U.S. Census Series: Ward 12, Scranton, Pennsylvania 1870 - Part 2

Click here for Part 1.

The first place that I profiled for the Census Series posts was Scranton, Luzerne County, Pennsylvania. In this series, I highlight examples from censuses where the Irish county or place of origin was noted for those that were enumerated. Tables have been compiled showing the number of Irish county examples for all other places in the United States that I have written about, except Scranton. This has now been rectified.

Almost 600 people from Ireland had their counties of birth record by William Carling as he traveled around the 12th Ward of Scranton in his job as a census enumerator for 1860. Scranton is know for its large Irish-American population of Mayo origin and this is reflected in this ward. Carling did not record the county of origin for every Irish person that he met, but we can see that more than half of those that he did were from the western county.

County
Approx. no of entries
Mayo
348
Sligo (incl. Slago)
89
Tipperary
31
Cork
23
Kerry
17
Down
9
Waterford
9
Kilkenny (incl. Killshiney, Killiney, Kilenny, Klinny)
7
Limerick
7
Cavan
5
Laois (Queens)
5
Leitrim (incl. Lutraim)
5
Dublin
4
Offaly (Kings)
4
Galway
3
Roscommon
3
Antrim (incl. Belfast)
2
Armagh
2
Tyrone
2
Donegal
1
Longford (incl. Longfort)
1
Meath
1
Unknown (Fairfield)
4
TOTAL
582

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Documentary On One - A Genealogical Perspective

One of the best radio documentary series is the simply but aptly titled Documentary on One on RTE Radio 1. A full back catalog of hundreds of hours is available to listen to on the RTE website. Over the years, many documentaries have focused on migration from Ireland to North America and other topics that will be of great interest to genealogists. I have compiled a list below of such titles. Enjoy.

Migration

The McGraths (2000) - McGrath family reunion in Lanesborough, County Fermanagh. Members of the family first emigrated to the United States in 1827.

My Dear Cousin  (2012) - Letters sent between two cousins in Ireland and the United States between 1917 and 1971.

The Cons (2009) - The annual visit of the Smith family from America to County Cavan.

The Anaconda Road Massacre (2015) - The murder of Irish immigrant Thomas Manning in Butte, Montana 1916. Includes back story on Irish immigration to the town.

Kenmare Street (2012) - The story of Tim Sullivan, the son of two assisted emigrants from the Lansdowne Estate in County Kerry to New York City's Five Points.

The Newfoundland Connection (2003) - The links between south east Ireland and Newfoundland.

Other documentaries of genealogical interest

Strangers in Ireland (1985) - The Huguenots who settled in Ireland.

Battle of Carrickshock (1983) - Includes the history of the 1823 Tithe Composition Act, Tithe Applotment Books, and tithe defaulters.

The Murder, Me and My Family Tree (2015) - A member of the Haskins family 
uses DNA and documents to see if he is related to the last man hanged in Wicklow jail.

Lost Children: Children in Irish Workhouses (1982) - The story of children in Irish workhouses in the 19th century.


Bound By Regulations (1995) - The history of the hiring fair, which resulted in internal migration of agricultural laborers within Ireland.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Immigrant Ancestors Project

The Immigrant Ancestors Project is located at the Center for Family History and Genealogy at Brigham Young University in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is a project and database that is very useful for genealogists in that it provides the place of origin from countries such as Ireland for immigrants to the United States, Canada, and elsewhere. It sources from "emigration registers to locate information about the birthplaces of immigrants in their native countries, which is not found in the port registers and naturalization documents in the destination countries."[1]  It began in 2014 and is ongoing. Currently, it lists the National Library of Ireland, Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, The National Archives (UK), and the British Library as institutions it has worked with.


A search for those from Ireland who immigrated to the United States and Canada returns over 1,500 entries. Some of those records come from small, but interesting record sets and publications:
  • Castlecomer [Kilkenny] Poor Law Union Assisted Emigrants 1847-1853
  • Irish Emigrant Letters 1842-1910
  • Irish Emigrant Personal Accounts 1838-1901        

At the time of writing, information for more than 90% of Irish immigrants to North America in the database comes from one collection - WO23, Examination of Invalid Soldiers from The National Archives (UK). This is a collection which lists invalid soldiers who were given permission to stay in what was British Canada in the 19th century.

This clearly is a project with a lot of potential as there are many less well known record sets in Irish and British archives that contain Irish place of origin information for many who immigrated from Ireland to the United States or Canada. Dependant on funding, hopefully this is a database that will grow over the coming years.



[1] Center for Family History and Genealogy. Immigrant Ancestors Project. 2014. Available online at http://immigrants.byu.edu/about/iap: accessed 6 May 2016.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Podcast Of My Recent U.S. Genealogy Talk

My recent talk about introductory genealogy resources in the United States was kindly recorded and is available to listen to as a podcast. Many thanks to the Eneclann / Irish Family History Centre staff for recording it and making it available.

Listen here.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Maine Gaeltacht DNA Project

Last week, I profiled the genealogy holdings and services at the Maine Irish Heritage Center (MIHC) in Portland. The jewel in the crown at MIHC, though, is undoubted the Maine Gaeltacht[1] DNA Project.

It was started in 2011 and is essentially an attempt to trace the genealogy of Irish immigrants to Maine via the traditional paper trail and DNA. To date it has collected information on more than 142,000 such immigrants and their descendants and 535 people have participated in autosomal DNA tests.[2] The well known Irish genetic genealogist, Maurice Gleeson, has described it as "the most advanced DNA project of its kind in existence."[3]

The project is named so due to the high number of Irish immigrants who came from the Irish speaking areas of County Galway, such as Connemara. What makes the project even more valuable is that many people from Connemara have submitted samples for DNA testing.

The project was profiled in the Portland Press Herald newspaper back in March. The article gives an excellent overview of the project and what it has achieved so far. Members of the project traveled to Ireland last year to present a lecture at the Back to Our Past Genetic Genealogy Ireland conference. You can watch that presentation below (53 mins).

If you want to participate in the project you can contact the MIHC online.





[1] Irish word for an Irish speaking area.
[2] Bouchard, Kelley. Thanks to DNA ancestry project, Mainers with Irish ties find family. Portland Press Herald. 17 March 2016. Available online at http://www.pressherald.com/2016/03/17/thanks-to-dna-ancestry-project-mainers-with-irish-ties-are-smiling: accessed 3 April 2015.
[3] Ibid.

Monday, May 9, 2016

U.S. Genealogy Talk At The National Library Of Ireland

Next Saturday, 14 May, I'll be speaking about U.S. genealogy at the National Library of Ireland, Dublin. The talk begins at 2pm and there will be a bit of chat and a cup of tea or two afterwards at Buswell's Hotel, across the street. All are welcome to attend. More information.

Title
Researching Uncle Sam: Introductory Genealogy Resources in the United States of America

Synopsis
Almost 3.8 million people immigrated to the United States of America from Ireland between 1851 and 1921. Millions more arrived on the shores of North America in the decades and centuries before those years. Therefore, practically every Irish-born person today has an ancestor who can be traced in American genealogy records. This talk will provide researchers with an overview of the main record sets that should be consulted when beginning genealogy research in the U.S. The backbone of American genealogy, the Federal Census, will be discussed in detail, along with the less well known state censuses. Civil registration, or vital records as they are known stateside, will be explained along with where to apply for those all-important birth, marriage, and death records. Immigration and naturalization records will be the focus of the concluding parts of the lecture.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Digitized Irish Records In The Familysearch Catalog

UPDATE 31 May 2016: See the Irish Genealogy News blogpost about this topic before reading.

Last November, the Familysearch blog outlined that the most requested microfilms at the Family History Library would be digitized, with access to the images available through the Familysearch Catalog. Before this, digitized records were, and still are, found in the Records section, with the Historic Record Collections list the quickest way to identify records of interest. Digitized record sets have the image of a camera beside the title. Just like in the Records section, selecting on the camera icon in the Catalog listing will allow you to view any of the newly digitized records.

Digitized Irish records on the Familysearch website. Camera icon highlighted.

The plan to digitize microfilms and place the images in the Catalog has very quickly provided an unexpected boon to Irish genealogy research. Two weeks ago, John Schnelle contacted Claire Santry about the availability of digitized Griffith's Valuation House, Quarto, and Field books (read the blog post here and access the Catalog listing here).

My AncestryProGenealogists colleague, Eimer Shea, brought it to my attention that wills from the Tuam probate district have been digitized and are also available in the Catalog. A subsequent perusal of the Catalog by us found that digitized wills from 11 of the 12 post-1857 probate districts in the Republic of Ireland are also available to view in the Catalog (wills from the Dublin probate district are not listed in the Catalog). These wills are available to view up to various cut of years around 1900.

Digitized wills from Tuam Probate District. Camera icon highlighted.

As well as the Valuation Books and wills, there are other microfilms that have been digitized, for example:


The Family History Library obviously has a  huge collection of microfilmed Irish records and it is very likely that other interesting records have been digitized. As such, the Familysearch Catalog should now be a mandatory place to look online for digitized Irish records. Of course, this digitization project is not just confined to microfilms of Irish records. It therefore offers a new and exciting research path for people researching ancestors who immigrated to the United States, Canada, and elsewhere, as microfilms of records from other countries are also being digitized.

If you have not used the Familysearch Catalog before then follow this step-by-step.

1. On the Familysearch homepage, select Search, then select Catalog


2. Select Search By: Place


3. Enter the Irish county you want to consult and select Search

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Maine Irish Heritage Center

The Maine Irish Heritage Center (MIHC) was founded in 1997 when the City of Portland generously donated St. Dominic's Roman Catholic Church to the Irish American Club and Friends of St. Patrick. Today, the mission statement of the organization is threefold:[1]
  • preserve and restore the historic landmark that was formerly St. Dominic’s Church, a hub of early Irish Community in Maine
  • provide a center for Maine’s diverse communities to share their cultural experience through education, programs and community events
  • house Maine’s Irish Genealogical Center, Museum, Archives and Library, preserving the story of Irish history in Maine


This last point encompasses a number of facilities within the MIHC that have seen it become one of the best places to go for Irish genealogy in the New England area. Volunteer genealogists are available to help you get started to assist in trying to break through those brick walls. Members get a complimentary consultation with a genealogist and there is a very affordable member and non-member fee schedule for further research. Genealogy workshops are also held throughout the year.

The MIHC library contains over 2,000 volumes, including city directories, yearbooks, obituaries, and St. Dominic’s school registers, along with access to online genealogy resources. There is an online library catalog to get started with their holdings. The MIHC archive contains some fascinating collections, including oral histories with Irish immigrants and Irish Americans in Maine.

You can visit the MIHC in person at the corner of Gray and State Street, Portland, ME 04112-7588 or online at their website. This organization is an absolute must to visit or interact with if you have Irish ancestry in Maine.





[1] Maine Irish Heritage Center. Mission. 2013. Available online at http://www.maineirish.com/who-we-are/mission: accessed 30 April 2016.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

U.S. Census Series: Ward 2, St. Louis, Missouri 1860

One of the recurring features of this blog is the U.S. Census Series, where I highlight the rare examples of Irish place of birth/origin recorded on census documents. To date, seven locations have been explored and they can be accessed at the Census Series page. This post is about Ward 2, St. Louis, Missouri in the 1860 U.S. Federal Census.

St. Louis, Missouri 1871 Ward Map. Click to enlarge.[1]

We can be thankful to census enumerator Edward Thierry for going beyond the norm when gathering answers to the question 'Place of Birth, Naming the State, Territory or Country.' In total, he recorded an Irish county or place of birth for approximately 323 people. There were also a few other very interesting efforts by him to document place of birth, such as 'County Neals, Ireland,' 'Not Ascertained, Ireland' and 'Born at Sea, Ireland.' He collected this census information between 1 June and 31 July of that year.

County
Approx. No. of Entries
Tipperary
55 (incl. 3 Thurles, 1 Chermill [?], 2 Littleton)
Cork
29 (incl. 3 Bandon, 2 City, 2 Bantry)
Cavan
29
Wexford
21
Dublin
19
Limerick
17
Mayo
17
Meath
15 (incl. 2 Oldcastle)
Galway
14 (incl. 1 Hedford)
Kilkenny
11
Tyrone
10
Roscommon
9
Waterford
9
Westmeath
7
Kerry
6 (incl. 1 Kenmare)
Kildare
6
Monaghan
6
Clare
4
Carlow
4
Derry
4 (incl. 2 'Londy' possibly Londonderry)
Down
4 (incl. 1 Newry)
Leitrim
4
Sligo
4
Offaly
3 (incl. 1 'Fardown' [?])
Antrim
3 (3 Belfast)
Fermanagh
3
Wicklow
3
Armagh
2
Donegal
2
Laois
1
Longford
1
Louth
1
County
323


Co Neals, Ireland
2
Born at Sea, Ireland
1
Portage, Ireland
1
Co City, Ireland
1
Co Casey, Ireland
1
Not ascertained, Ireland
1
Not known, Ireland
1
Other
8


Final Total
331
  
He did not record the county of birth of every Irish born person he encountered, but we get a flavor of the Irish county makeup of the 2nd Ward of St. Louis. Tipperary and Cork feature the most, with counties Cavan, Dublin, Wexford, Limerick and Mayo all heavily featured. At least one person from every county in Ireland had their place of birth recorded.

_______________________________________
[1] Tracey, J. L. Map Of The City Of St. Louis For Tracy's Guide To Missouri. 1871. Available online at David Rumsey Maps           http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~215834~5502559:Missouri-And-St--Louis?sort=Pub_List_No_InitialSort%2CPub_Date%2CPub_List_No%2CSeries_No?: accessed 23 May 2016.