Thursday, December 31, 2015

Irish Genealogy In North America - 2015 In Review

Compared to 2014, 2015 was a quieter year when it came to new developments and record releases in relation to Irish genealogy in North America. However, there were some very positive additions. The year kicked off in great fashion with the addition of editions of the Gaelic American newspaper on GenealogyBank.com and the release of Reproductive Loan Fund Records on Findmypast.

March saw the launch of a new website, Irishnewspapers.com, that allows people to pay in dollars for access to digitized local newspapers from Ireland. In the same month, the Ulster Historical Foundation had a very successful annual tour of the U.S. and Canada. They managed to fit in a phenomenal 15 stops in 17 days, no doubt taking planes, trains, and automobiles to get to all their destinations. They have already earmarked their 2016 tour, so watch out to see if they will be visiting a city near you.

Season six of the U.S. Who Do You Think You Are? featured actor Sean Hayes and his Irish-American ancestry. This was quite a good episode that showcased a number of detailed record sets in Illinois and Ireland.

The New York Public Library launched an interested website in November called Emigrant City. The website is an effort at crowd-sourcing the transcription of mortgage and bond record books from the Library’s collection of Emigrant Savings Bank records. Many of those who banked with the Emigrant [Industrial] Savings Bank were Irish immigrants and their descendants.

Lastly, the Irish Government released two documents this past year that have the potential to positively impact Irish genealogical research efforts in the United States and Canada. Global Irish: Irish Diaspora Policy and Local Diaspora Toolkit encompass a wide range of ideas and it is fantastic to see genealogy begin discussed in a government policy document. Read my two opinion pieces about these documents here and here.

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