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.

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.