Friday, August 29, 2014

Kansas City Irish Fest Genealogy

I'd like to give a shout out to Barbara Scanlon and the folks who will be providing a free genealogy advisory service at the Kansas City Irish Fest, starting today at 5pm and running all weekend (Sat and Sun 11am-11pm, both days).

You can get all the relevant information at this link, where they have also posted a useful resource list.

It you can't make it to the festival, there is a genealogy advisory service at the Kansas City Irish Center. To learn more about this service, consult the Missouri section of the Groups/Societies/Institutions database on this website by clicking here.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Going Beyond US WDYTYA II

My previous post about Irish themed Who Do You Think You Are episodes outside the US has lead to an unearthing of some more episodes on YouTube. Tonight, the episode from British WDYTYA is about Brendan O'Carroll, a "comedian" from Ireland (4pm Eastern). See the Kerry O'Brien instructions, below, for how you might watch this episode.

Alistar McGowan**         UK version           
Did not research in Ireland (focus on Irish ancestry is in the last few minutes of episode): Part 1, Part 2

Jeremy Irons*                   UK                            
Dublin Down

Barbara Windsor**         UK                           
Cork:  Part 1, Part 2

Kerry O'Brien                   Australia               
Could not find video of episode. WDYTYA is aired on the SBS network/channel in Australia. If you are outside Australia, you might try something like, ahem, this, and view them on the SBS On Demand page (BBC iPlayer for the above mentioned Brendan O'Carroll episode).

Jack Thompson                 Australia              
Same as above

Thanks to shanew* and P. Breathnach** on the genealogy forum for providing information about some of these episodes.

UPDATE (1 September) : Thanks goes out to Lisa Walsh Dougherty—who has previously written two posts on Townland of Origin (here and here)—for highlighting that episodes from the current season of UK WDYTYA are available to watch on YouTube:
This includes the Julie Walters (Mayo) and Brendan O'Carroll (Dublin) episodes.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

One Year Old Today

Townland of Origin was launched exactly one year ago today. With that in mind, I'd like to offer a reminder of what this blog is all about:

The primary focus of this blog is Irish genealogical research in North America. It is hoped that the posts will assist researchers in the hunt for their ancestors townland of origin in Ireland.

I try and do this in two main ways: firstly, by highlighting sources that contain the place of origin for Irish immigrants, and secondly, by writing about sources that can help get you a step closer to finding your townland of origin. This has been the theoretical principle that has guided my genealogy research over the last couple of years, and especially since I decided to write my first genealogy guidebook, Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City.

Being an Irish-born person in the North American genealogy community has been an interesting experience over the last few years. I have the luxury of knowing where my ancestors came from as I grew up with their stories and heard them in houses in those townlands. I didn't have to go searching in naturalization records, obituaries, and cemeteries for that elusive piece of information. Through Townland of Origin, the previous 125 articles have tried to help people find where they came from in Ireland in those same records, and more. So, if this blog has helped you with your research I'd love to hear about it, in a comment below.

To celebrate, I've created an  infographic with all the Townland of Origin facts and figures from the first year. Plenty more posts to write....

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Banking With The Emigrant Savings Bank

The Emigrant Savings Bank records are one of the main genealogical resources for tracing Irish ancestors in New York City in the second half of the 19th century. You can learn more about this resource and how it can help your New York City Irish research in my book, Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City.

The image below reputes to show people in the bank, busy depositing and withdrawing money from their accounts. The caption reads: "Irish depositors of the Emigrant Savings Bank withdrawing money to send to their suffering relatives in the old country".

The picture comes from p. 29 of an 1880 edition of Frank Leslie's illustrated newspaper, v. 50, no. 1275 (March 13) and was published in the run-up to St. Patrick's Day.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Chicago Area Naturalizations 1871-1929

Chicago is one of the big four Irish-American cities, along with New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. The city is located in Cook County and the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court oversees administration for that court system. In the 19th and 20th centuries, hundreds and thousands of people went through the naturalization process at their various courts.

Their website has an index of naturalization records from the late 1800s and early 1900s, as "the Clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County Archives is home to more than 500,000 naturalization petitions covering the years 1871[1] to 1929. More than 400,000 of these records are Declarations of Intention, 1906-1929, which were usually the first papers to be filed by those who wished to become U.S. citizens."[2]

This index is currently a work in progress but it is already showing tremendous promise for those looking for the Irish place of origin for their Chicago-area ancestors of this era. Currently, there are almost 7,500 index entries that list the county of origin for applicants. These numbers come from just six Irish counties: Clare, Cork, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, and Mayo. What is even better is that many of the index entries give details about what part of the county the applicant was born in. Overall, the index provides valuable information: name, birth date, birth town (this is where Irish place and county are to be found), birth country, and occupation.

It is useful to remember that someone did not have to live in Cook County, IL to declare their intent to naturalize. An immigrant could do so at any court. Therefore, don't discount those ancestors who lived in counties and areas around Cook County/Chicago.

You can access the database by clicking here.

If you find a relevant entry in the index you can apply for the declaration of intention via the application form at this link.

Number of records per county (as of July 2014)
Clare - 979
Cork - 753
Galway - 841
Kerry - 1261
Limerick - 986
Mayo - 2657

Total - 7477

[1] All records before 1871 were destroyed in the fire of that year.
[2] Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court. About the Collection. 2014. accessed 29 July 2014.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Density & Proportion Of Irish In U.S. 1900

This selection from the David Rumsey map website collates two types of statistical data from the 1900 U.S. federal census. Firstly, there is the 'density of natives of Ireland' (see below), with the number of Irish born people per square mile mapped.

Density of Natives of Ireland 1900

Secondly, there is the 'proportion of natives of Ireland to total population', where the darker colors on the map represent a higher proportion of Irish-born people.

You can view both maps at this link.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Friendly Sons of Philly

List of Members of the Hibernian Society for the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland......[1] contains a listing of members of fraternal Irish societies in Philadelphia in the 18th and 19th centuries. Primarily, there is the Friendly Sons of St Patrick, founded in 1771. This organization is still in existence today and you can find more information about it at The Friendly Sons has had other sub-groups throughout its existence, such as the Hibernian Society for the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland.

The publication is divided into various listings:

p. 5 Presidents, Secretaries, and Treasurers, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick (names and year elected)
p. 6 Presidents, Secretaries, and Treasurers, Hibernian Society (names and year elected)
p. 8 Members, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick (names and year elected)
p. 10 Honorary Members, Friendly Sons of St. Patrick (names and year elected)
p. 11 Members of the Hibernian Society for the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland (names and year elected)
p. 31 Present Members of the Hibernian Society, 31 March, 1884 (names and addresses)

[1] Author Unknown. List of Members of the Hibernian Society for the Relief of Emigrants from Ireland Together with the List of Members of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, 1771-1884. Philadelphia: The Society. 1884.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Celtic Connections Conference

Next week, the Celtic Connections Conference will take place in the LaCava Center at Bentley University, Waltham, MA. Spread over two days (Friday, 15th and Saturday, 16th) the event is co-hosted by The Irish Ancestral Research Association (previously featured on this blog here and here) and the Irish Genealogical Society International. The focus of the conference is Celtic culture, with genealogy a central component.

The lineup of speakers for the event is a veritable who's who of the Irish genealogy world: John Grenham, Brian Donovan, Kyle Betit, Dwight Radford, Donna Moughty, and more. While every talk is worth attending, there are a number that will be of particular interest to those carrying out Irish genealogy research in North America:

Friday, 11:30am-12:30pm, Room 305, Marie Daly, Researching Irish Domestic Servants
Friday, 3:15pm-4:15pm, Danielson Room, Dwight Radford, Leaving Home - Again, The Irish Who Stopped Along the Way

Saturday, 8:45am-9:45am, Room 325, Sheila O'Rourke Northrop, Missing Friends: Migration Patterns from Ireland to North America
Saturday, 11:15am-12:15pm, Room 325, Dwight Radford, Developing an Irish Census Substitute Using Irish and Immigrant Sources
Saturday, 2:00pm - 3:00pm, Room 325, Richard M. Doherty, The Scots Irish: Origins, Emigration, Religion, and Resource Sources

Monday, August 4, 2014

Irish In 19th Century New Brunswick Newspapers

The newspaper database on the New Brunswick Irish portal is made up of a collection of articles from a range of 19th century newspapers from the province. A detailed breakdown of the years of publication is not provided for all papers, but some, such as the Saint John True Liberator was first published in 1847.[1]

New Brunswick Irish Portal Newspapers Database

It does not seem that all articles from all editions of the newspapers are included. Rather, a selection that are most relevant to the history and genealogy of the Irish in the province have been digitized. An unusual but interesting feature of this database is that the selected articles from the newspapers are divided into the following helpful sections:

"Information Wanted" Advertisements
"Reminiscences of New Brunswick"
Affairs and Conditions in Ireland
Assisted Emigration
Cards of Thanks and Commendations
Conditions in New Brunswick
Confederation and Union of the Colonies
Customs, Exports and Imports
Emigrant Hospital, Almshouse and Lunatic Asylum
Emigrant Societies
Employment and Trades
Illness, Disease and Quarantine
Irish Culture
Juvenile Emigration
Legal Affairs
New Brunswick Emigration Office and Emigration Agents
New Brunswick Land Settlement and Colonization
Passage Conditions
Passage Notices and Other Advertisements
Passenger Act
Pauper, Orphan and Emigrant Relief
Physicians and Health Officers
Religious Affairs
Ship Wrecks and Accidents
Small Pox
Speeches, Debates and Lectures
St. John Board of Health
St. Patrick's Society
The Famine and Irish Relief
The Fenians
Typhus/Ship Fever
Vessel and Emigrant Arrivals
Views on Emigration
Views on the Irish

A quick search of the famous (and unfortunately small number of) 'information wanted' adverts finds articles with priceless genealogical information that can be so hard to find for immigrants from the mid 19th century: year of immigration, names of family members, and exact place of origin in Ireland. Some articles in the "Assisted Emigration" section report on the arrival of the thousands of assisted emigrants from the Gore-Booth estate in Co. Sligo, while there are also articled about societies that operated in the province.

Articles in this database come from the following newspapers:

New Brunswick Courier
New Brunswick Reporter and Fredericton Advertiser
New Brunswick Standard
St. John Liberator Irish Advocate
The Freeman
The Gleaner and Northumberland, Kent, Gloucester and Restigouche Commercial and Agricultural Journal
The Herald
The Morning Freeman
The New Dominion and True Humorist
The New Freeman
The Saint John Gazette and the Weekly Advertiser
The St. John Daily Sun
The Standard or Frontier Agricultural and Commercial Gazette
The True Humorist
The True Liberator

You can access the database by clicking here.

Note - I have previous written about other databases from the New Brunswick Irish Portal: Brenan Funeral Home records, Fitzwilliam Estate Emigration Books, Irish Immigrants in New Brunswick Census 1851 & 1861, and the Teachers Petition Database.

[1] New Brunswick Provincial Archives. Introduction. Year unknown. accessed 11 July 2014.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Going Beyond US WDYTYA

Who Do You Think You Are (WDYTYA) is the flagship show for genealogy in the United States. In each episode, the ancestry of a celebrity is explored, with prominent narratives from their family history investigated. It first aired in 2010 and began its fifth season last week.

Those in the U.S. who have Irish ancestry might be disappointed with the relative lack of focus on celebrities with Irish ancestry. In the first four seasons there has been 35 episodes. Four participants had their Irish ancestry partly or fully investigated, with three episodes showing research in Ireland. They are:

Chris O'Donnell  season 4, episode 5         Did not do research in Ireland
Rashida Jones season 3, episode 10           Dublin
Rosie O'Donnell season 2, episode 3         Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow, Offaly 
Martin Sheen      season 3, episode 1         Tipperary, Dublin

This is a small return, considering Irish is the largest ancestry grouping in the U.S. after German. Personally, I think there are two reasons for this. Firstly, it can be difficult to find the Irish place of origin. Other celebrities might have been considered, but their Irish place of origin might not have been found. Secondly, the Irish ancestors of some celebrities might not have been involved in something that was considered worthwhile for a TV show. Leaving a poverty stricken rural part of Ireland, living in a densely crowded tenement and dying of tuberculosis at age forty-five is not exactly going to see audiences flocking to watch the show. This could be called 'Cherie Blair syndrome.'

So, where can you get your fix of Irish genealogy on TV? Well, the US WDYTYA has an older British sister, as the show is also aired in the UK. The UK version is actually the original and has been on TV since 2004. The 11th season will begin in August, starting with a special show to mark its upcoming 100th episode

The close proximity of Ireland to the UK has seen many Irish celebrities move to the bigger British market and many British-born celebrities have Irish parents, grandparents, and other ancestors. So, the UK version can be a great place to get your fix of Irish genealogy TV. Below, I have YouTube links to some of these episodes:

Graham Norton                Cork, Antrim/Belfast, Wicklow
Dervla Kirwan                  Cork, Dublin
Chris Moyles                      Dublin, Mayo
John Hurt                            Sligo
David Tennant                  Derry/Londonderry
Amanda Redman             Cork/Wexford (parts of the episode)
Nick Hewer                        Antrim/Belfast (could not find video of episode)

The Irish Genealogy News blog reports that the upcoming 11th season of the UK WDYTYA will have two Irish-focused episodes. While you may have know about the UK version of the TV show, you might be surprised to learn that there was also an Irish version of Who Do You Think You Are. It broadcast for two season in 2008 and 2009. I managed to find one episode knocking about on YouTube:

Ryan Tubridy                      Galway/Mayo/Dublin