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These are my top five lists of books, blogs and websites that can assist you with your family history research in Ireland. Do you have any that you feel should be added? If so please leave a comment.


Tracing Your Irish Ancestors” by John Grenham [all three editions recommended]; published by Genealogical Publishing Co.

General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland: Based on the Census of Ireland for the year 1851” published by Genealogical Publishing Co.

Irish Church Records” by James G. Ryan; published by Flyleaf Press

A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland” by Brian Mitchell; published by Genealogical Publishing Co.

The Big Houses and Landed Estates of Ireland: A Research Guide” by Terence Dooley; published by Four Courts Press


Pue’s Occurrences

National Library of Ireland blog

Irish Family History

Irish Genealogy News Blog


National Library of Ireland

Census of Ireland 1901/1911

Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives

Find My Past Ireland

The IreAtlas Townland Database

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Recently I came across a Flickr group for Churches of Ireland. People have taken photographs of all sorts of churches in Ireland. You can search by county and some place names. You never know what you might find so go in and have a look.

Similarly another website is Stain Glass in the Church of Ireland. These are photographs of stain glass windows found in some Church of Ireland churches. They provide the date of the window, who designed the window and the studio that made it, who commissioned it and other information.

The search can be done by building or window. You can even search by the subject type of the window. Buildings are broken down into the choices of buildings, location, diocese, county, architect, country and parish group. Country is either Northern Ireland or the Republic.

The window search is broken down into building, iconography, artist, studio, date, location, diocese, county, architect, country and parish group.

You can leave the search criteria broad and have a large number of windows to look through or you can narrow the search. When the search is complete you have the option to display the windows or remove the criteria and start again. If you chose display you get a list at the bottom of the screen. If you click on the highlighted numbers under the window section you will see the display of the windows. If you click on the highlighted Principle Name you will get a picture of the church and the windows. You can click on the smaller images to make them bigger.

If you click on Diocese you will get a long list of the churches in the diocese. There will be pictures of the church along the bottom of the screen and if you click on the image you will get more detailed information and pictures of the windows for that church.

When people think of churches in Ireland the first thing that comes to mind is Catholic and Church of Ireland. Then you might think about Quakers, Presbyterian and Methodist. There are other religious denominations represented in Ireland. You can find Jewish, Baptist, The Church of Jesus Christ and the Latter Day Saints, The Salvation Army and Moravian just to name a few.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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RTÉ (Raidió Teilifís Éireann) is the National Public Service Broadcaster for Ireland. On RTÉ Radio One there is a program called “Documentary on One”. They cover many and varied topics. I download them through ITunes and listen to them on my IPod. You can also listen to them online or download them from their website.

Under the topic history was one very interesting program. It is called “Bullet Holes in the Manuscript” and was broadcast in 1991. It is a radio documentary that focuses on the destruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland in 1922. It is very interesting to find out some of the stories behind the event.

I remember my Grandfather telling me that he was 11 years old when the fire started and he saw bits of scorched paper floating down into his back garden. The family lived in Clonskeagh a suburb of Dublin. He said it was quite a sight and although my Grandfather did not know it then he was watching some of his nations printed history float down into his garden.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research All Rights Reserved

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Have you visited the National Library of Ireland’s website recently? They have a lot of information available on their website to help the family historian.

The first is their page on doing family history research at the National Library of Ireland. Here you can download a PDF file to help you get started. The file is two pages and gives brief descriptions of civil, church, census and land and property records. There is a list of useful addresses to further your research.

On this page you will find a link to a description of the Genealogy Advisory Service which is free to all those who go to the library.

There is a searchable online catalogue and if you are lucky you may find some digitzed items in the results. You can narrow your search to just digitized items but you may miss out on something important.

Sources Database is the online version of Hayes Manuscript. I discussed this database in a blog posting entitled “Hayes Manuscript now Online at the National Library of Ireland.”

The Newspaper Database is a searchable database to find newspapers available at the library by either publication name or by publication town/city or county. You can chose to include titles from the Newsplan Project which are not held by the National Library of Ireland.

Manuscript Collection Lists provides a detailed listing for the contents of the manuscript collections. You can search by the following categories: business, cartographic, estate, family, Gaelic, literary, military, personal and political. You can browse the records by these categories as well.

Photographic Databases include: The Lawrence Collection, The Clonbrock Collection, The O’Dea Collection and The Poole Collection. This past St. Patrick’s Day Ancestry announced that they had the Lawrence Collection. You can view it for free here. Searches can be done by county, description keyword and location keyword.

The Clonbrock Collection can be searched by title, subject and year. The O’Dea Collection can be searched by county, location, description, date and subject. The Poole Collection can be searched by subject and year. There are some more specific search criteria but these will be the ones used by most family historians.

The Digital Photographs Database has eight collections: Clarke Collection; Eason Collection; Independent H Collection; Lawrence Royal & Cabinet Collections; Keogh Collection; Poole Whole Plate Collection; Stereo Pair Collection and the Tempest Collection.

I found the Stereo Pair Collection fun to go through. They were meant to be viewed in a stereoscope where you would get a 3D image of the photograph. The years covered are 1860-1890.

There was one of the Little Sugar Loaf in Wicklow that brought back memories. We used to climb the Little and Great Sugar Loaf mountains and have a picnic near the top. They were called Sugar Loaf because they looked like a loaf of sugar. You used to get sugar in a conical shape and shave off the amount you needed. You have the ability to order a digital copy of the images.

Why not go in and have a little fun at the National Library of Ireland today. You do not have to travel to Ireland to do it!

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day – Beannacht Lá Fhéile Pádraig – everyone.

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The Linen Hall Library has put digital images from their postcard, cartoon and map collections on the Belfast Telegraph website. You can view the image and purchase a copy. The words Belfast Telegraph appear right in the middle of the image and while I understand they have done this to prevent people downloading the images, it is a little off putting and can make it difficult to clearly see the image.

Despite this it is worth going in and having a look at what is available. The postcard images may be found in the Linen Hall Library in Belfast but they cover all areas of Ireland. They show Ireland in a simpler time. The cartoons take you back in time and some can be humourous. The maps section is not as large as the other two.

One thing that would be nice is if we had the ability to enlarge the image and manipulate it to better see some areas. This is particularly true for the maps. A date or year of the document would also be useful.

Have a look around the website and see what can be found. I spent an enjoyable hour looking at the images.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

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Dublin City Libraries and Archive have put images and special collections online.

The Digital Collections Gallery has 529 images and counting. There are photographs from the 1974 Dublin Bombings; Dublin’s Sporting Heritage which honours the fact that Dublin was made European Capital of Sport in 2010; Vanishing Dublin shows places that have disappeared or changed completely in the last half of the twentieth century; Dublin Pubs provides images of pubs both past and present; and Working for the City which is photographs of Dublin City staff at work.

The sporting heritage photos that sparked memories for me were the Liffey Swim of 1999, the Royal Dublin Horseshow and Landsdowne Road. My grandfather won the Liffey Swim when he was a young man. We used to go to the Royal Dublin Horseshow if we were in town when it was on and Landsdowne Road was near where my grandparents lived.

The saddest one for me was Vanishing Dublin. In some of the pictures you would not recognize the area anymore. The photo of Moore Street in 1959 brought back fond memories. I can remember in the 1970s going down to Moore Street and the ladies still used perambulators to transport their wares. Moore Street today is still a market place but things have changed.

The Working for the City gallery is a reminder of how the way we do things sometimes does not change. The cleansing department is a couple of men with brushes pushing two bins on a cart. I remember the Liffey clean up in 1976.

The next gallery is Improvement Works which is current improvements to two libraries in Dublin.

The last gallery is Treasures from the Collections. Capital Letters shows a few of the collections they own by Irish authors. Celebrate! is about festivals, feasts, civic events and commemorations that were held in Dublin. Here you will find a souvenir of the Parnell monument unveiling in 1911, a photograph of the royal visit in 1911, the Papal visit in 1979 and a yearbook from the Dalkey Festival in 1989 amongst other items.

Getting Around provides images of maps and other items relating to the theme. Unfortunately they are not the complete item but snippets. Other collections include Little Treasures which contains material related to children, Rich and Rare which showcases books, manuscripts and broadsheets held by Dublin City Public Libraries, and Women’s Health and Wellbeing which features advertisements promoting “medicines” marketed towards women.

The photographs were most interesting to me. The other items provide a small image and not much else because you have to go into Dublin City Public Libraries & Archive to view the originals and to find out more.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

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On the Family Recorder blog Audrey Collins writes about the new Irish databases that are due to be put online.

We have the following to look forward to:

National Library of Ireland and Family Search partnership are digitizing the Tithe Applotment Books 1826-1837. There is no launch date at the moment.

Landed Estates Court Records which contains information on about 600,000 tenants is due to be online in mid-2011.

Prison Records from the 26 counties of the Republic which spans from 1790s to the 1920s.

Irish Petty Session Records from 1821-1910 are to be released starting mid-2011.

To find out more read Audrey’s blog posting “Rootstech – good news from Ireland.”

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

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This holiday season the news was full of pictures and stories of stranded airline passengers because of the snow in Dublin and other parts of Europe.

In the Irish Independent newspaper there was an article on 30 December 2010 about the cold snap of 1740. There is a new book written by Trinity College Dublin history Professor David Dickson called “Arctic Ireland.” I have not read the book but am looking forward to getting a copy.

Hundreds of thousands of Irish died during “The Great Frost.” It brought the country and Europe to a standstill. They believe “The Great Frost” may have been the result of volcanic activity in Russia. The devastation began on 29 December 1739 and went into 1741.

To find out more you can read the article here.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

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The Archives of New Brunswick have added The New Brunswick Irish Portal to their website. The portal opens with an essay by Dr. Stewart Donovan of St. Thomas University. You can read it online or download versions in PDF and Word. The portal has exhibits and databases.

The databases include Saint John Almshouse Records; Brenan Funeral Home Records: Traces of Ireland; Fitzwilliam Estate Emigration Books 1847-1856; RS555 Provincial Secretary: Immigration Administration Records; Immigrant Letters; Newspapers; Passenger Lists; Teachers Petition Database and Irish Immigrants in the New Brunswick Census of 1851 and 1861.

The Saint John Almshouse Records has a name index. There are PDF files about the records and social welfare in New Brunswick from 1784 to 1900. The records are from the St. John [sic] City Almshouse Admission Registers from 1843-1897 and the Saint John Almshouse Admission Registers, 1843-1884. These records are for people who were admitted to the Alms and Work House, the Emigrant Infirmary, and the St. John Emigrant Orphan Asylum.

When you click on Name Index you come to the list for the letter A and can choose another letter from the alphabetical listing above. When you click on a surname of interest you get a transcription listing of the people found. The information includes a surname, given name, date of admission, age, condition (health), nativity (county/country of origin), vessel, religion, departure and landed.

When you click on details you get a more complete transcription, microfilm number and a digital image of the record in question which you can download.

The Brenan Funeral Home Records has a complete transcription of records from 1901-1960. Brenan’s dealt mainly with Protestant clients. The information found on the transcriptions is some basic information that can be found in a death record with the added bonus of finding other pertinent information.

Fitzwilliam Estate Emigration Books 1847-1856 this database consists of the 383 people that travelled on the sailing vessel called “The Star” to St. Andrew’s New Brunswick. The results are listed alphabetically and include name, age, townland, townland official, civil parish, year, ship, departure, arrival, and notes.

RS555 Provincial Secretary: Immigration Administration Records does not have a searchable database. There is a finding aid for the records and an essay on “New Brunswick as a Home for Immigrants” by Koral Lavorgna.

Immigrant Letters consists of several indexes: subject, place and collection as well as a full text search.

Newspapers have a subject and newspaper index and a full text search.

Passengers Lists describe the act to “regulate Vessels arriving from the United Kingdom with Passengers and Emigrants” and passenger statistics from 1816 to 1865. You will also find a vessel and name index.

The Teachers Petition Database is a searchable database with information on 509 petitions requesting a teaching license or payment for the teaching services that were provided from 1816 to 1858. These records relate to those who said their place of birth was Ireland.

The last section is Irish Immigrants in the New Brunswick Census of 1851 and 1861. Here you will find statistics, a name index and other indexes where you can search by county, religion, where from and year landed.

There is an exhibit called “In the Wake of Dark Passage Irish Famine Migration to New Brunswick.” More exhibits are coming.

This website is a great resource for those who have New Brunswick Irish connections. It is also a valuable resource to learn about the Irish immigrants and how they contributed to their new homeland.

©2011 – Blair Archival Research

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