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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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University College Dublin has created the Irish Virtual Research Library and Archives or IVRLA for short. It is a digital library for the Humanities and Social Sciences. The website says that IVRLA “draws on the extensive resources of archival and rare material held in University College Dublin, and allows researchers to access this material in a digitized format…” They have divided the information into collections that can be browsed or searched and research projects.

You need the program Djvu to view the images in IVRLA.

Under the tab called Collections it is noted that there are restrictions on three Questionnaires relating to the Irish Famine, Emigration to America and Tinkers (Travellers). You need to be a member of UCD to access these pages but all is not lost. You can download an application from the National Folklore Collection research page and then contact the National Folklore Collection directly to apply for access.

Under Collections there are twenty five different collections to research. The Papers of Michael Collins (1890-1922) covers his life in London and his relationships with family and friends in Ireland and includes references to the Gaelic League and Gaelic Athletic Association. There are sixty eight items in the collection and they provide a small biography of Michael Collins in the Collection Description.

Another collection that makes for interesting reading is the 19th Century Pamphlet Collection. There are fifty items in the collection and they cover a broad range of subjects.

A pamphlet entitled “The History of Ireland from the Beginning of the World to the Present Time./ By H.E.” was published in 1879 and is supposed to be a satirical look at the history of Ireland. According to the title page of the book H.E. also authored “A Short History of the Dublin Aristocracy.” The first line of the pamphlet is “4004, B.C. At this distance of time it is difficult to decide whether Adam and Eve visited Ireland or not, and it is unnecessary to say that the evidence brought to bear on the subject is of the most shadowy nature.” That line alone makes you want to read further.

The other section to browse is Research Projects and the first item that draws my attention is “Joyce’s Dublin”. I have studied Joyce’s life and writings so this section is of particular interest. This research project is related to the short story “The Dead”. They are providing a greater understanding of the story itself and the time and place of the story’s setting.

While reading the description of the collection, and finding out the researchers involved in the project, it is mentioned that a podcast series was completed. It was broadcast on RTÉ Radio 1 and RTÉ Choice digital radio.

The “Joyce’s Dublin” collection consists of “maps, city guides, photographs and other visual images, relevant historical, political, religious, and economic texts, musical recordings, and interviews from the Urban Folklore Project.” Imagine my disappointment when I tried to view the collection and got an internal error message and a link to return to home page. The problem has been reported so hopefully the collection will be able to be viewed soon.

There is a social history section which has a research project on the Irish Famine. This continues the work that was started under the National Famine Commemoration Project which was set up to mark the 150th anniversary of the Great Irish Famine. The page lists the researchers involved in the project, the projects objectives, acknowledgments and the scope of the project. These are workhouse records for four areas in Ireland.

When you click on the link to view the collection you start on the Collection Description page. The next tab is the Collection Structure and you click on the file of interest. I chose to look at the Rathdrum Union Workhouse and this brought me to a descriptions page. Click on the Contents tab and here you can download an Excel database. There are no names on the database.

Another interesting Research Project is “Georgian Dublin: Architecture and the Built Environment”. Dublin is famous for its Georgian Architecture.

Of particular interest to genealogists is a Historic Maps Collection. There are eleven maps of varying topics available to view. “Fraser’s Map of Dublin and Suburbs: with Street References” was particularly interesting to me. The publication is dated 1860 and the maps are dated 1859. You can zoom in to read the street names.

There is an ejournal available which you can download in PDF format or an abstract.

This website is full of wonderful information and history.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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While searching TARA (Trinity’s Access to Research Archive) I came across a very interesting paper.

Under the History – Census topic is a paper written by Sir William J Thompson, Registrar General, entitled “The first census of the Irish Free State and its importance to the country” the issue date is 1927. This paper was read before the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland. He discusses the 1911 census and the upcoming 1926 census. The paper was read to the Society three weeks before the 1926 Irish census was taken.

He refers to the history of census taking going back to the Old Testament. He discusses the 1672 Irish census the “Down Survey” that was undertaken by Sir William Petty the founder of the Lansdowne family. Then Sir William discusses several other census takings in Ireland before the first census of the whole country which was taken in 1821. He then goes through the subsequent census takings and their statistics.

Sir William comments that in the 1861 census the question of religious denomination was asked for the first time and that neither England nor Scotland has ever asked this question.

When it came to the questions to be asked in the 1926 Irish census politicians, scholars and others were asked their opinions. The Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland was also asked to help with the process. The importance of this census was very great as it was the first census of the Irish Free State.

We find out that two questions from the 1911 census were eliminated from the 1926 census and they were “education and disability deaf, dumb and blind.” Sir William said that the question of education in the 1911 census was asked as whether a person could “write or read or read only or cannot read.” It was felt that the younger children went to school and it was mostly the older members of the family who answered in the negative. Since this population was declining it was decided that the question should not be asked in this census.

In 1926 there are new questions with regards to “widows and orphans” and “family wages” they also took great care with regards to the question of speaking Irish by giving it “much greater prominence.” Two columns have been left open for the question of rank, profession and occupation. They were hoping that those completing the census would fill it out in more detail. At the bottom of the form is a question about the amount of acreage a family holds.

Census night was Sunday 18 April 1926. To ensure that people understood the importance of the census a publicity campaign was started involving those of the professional trades, doctors, lawyers, magistrates, clergy and employers among others.

The schools were brought into the campaign by creating a series of lessons to promote the census the week before April 18th. The hope was that the children would become interested and bring the topic into the home in the form of discussion. This would help to educate their parents on the importance of the census. The press was notified to get the word out to the population.

The statistical work of the census was previously done by clerical labour. This is the first time they will be using machinery to help analyze the data. It appears that it was used in England and Scotland in 1911 and 1921 and had been used in the United States for several years.

Sir William comments on the huge upheavals that have occurred in Ireland since the last census was taken fifteen years ago. The result is a feeling of urgency for the completion of the 1926 census.

He also mentions how the United States has paid greater attention to the census process than any other country. Sir William quoted an unnamed American professor as saying: “the taking of the census is the most important and extensive of all State economic and political activities.”

Sir William Thompson ended his presentation with “In particular, I venture to ask each person here to-night to become a propagandist for the taking of the Census, which is of such vital importance to the country.”

While searching the TARA website this particular article caught my attention and imagination. I can almost see Sir William standing before the Society presenting his paper on the 1926 Irish census.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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TARA or Trinity’s Access to Research Archive is now available to the public. You can access the publications written by Trinity’s researchers and scholars.

You can browse by Academic/Research Units & Collections, Title, Author, By Date of Publication and Subject.

I started by going in and searching for History under the title category. Several topics within that search criteria were found. There was history, Ireland, Irish, art, architecture, economics, society, sports and leisure, statistical analysis, census and painting.

The first article I found was read on 9 January 1919 and written about the aims and achievements from 1847 to 1919 of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland. Click on the heading and a page which describes the article is found. In a small blue box under the description you will find the link to click so that you can download the file in Adobe PDF.

Now I did find that there were some items that were not open to the general public. I found an intriguing reference called “’Kali sucker’ – – sherbert and liquorice – – 1950s sweets”

This brought back some childhood memories so I clicked on the reference to find out what it was about. The link was connected to a painting in the Modern and Contemporary Irish Art Collection which has a digital collection. When I clicked on view/open I was required to log in before I could view the image. Since I do not have a Trinity username or password I was not able to view the online image.

There is no information relating specifically to genealogy but if you are looking for some background information to your research or trying to understand a particular time in history better, you may find something to help you here.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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You can now order birth, marriage and death certificates from Ireland online. These are only the records that can be ordered online not all the available civil registration records. There are a few catches to the process.

Birth Certificates

You can get a certificate for a birth from January 1864 to December 1921 in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland and from January 1922 in the Republic of Ireland.

The mandatory information to apply for a birth certificate is: first and last name of the child and mother’s first and maiden name.

Other information that is asked for but not mandatory are: date of birth which you can fill in completely or tick a small box that says it is an approximation; gender and father’s first and last name.

Requiring the maiden name of the mother to get a birth certificate is going to be restrictive for the majority of genealogists.

Marriage Certificates

You can get a marriage certificate that was registered in the Republic of Ireland from 1922 to the present. But you can only get marriages registered in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland from January 1920 to December 1921.

The mandatory information to apply for a marriage certificate is: first and last name of both the husband and wife and place of marriage. The place of marriage could be a church, village, town or registration district.

As when applying for a birth certificate you can add a date of marriage but tick the box to say it is an approximation.

Death Certificates

You can get a death certificate registered in the Republic of Ireland from 1924 to the present.

Mandatory information to acquire a death certificate is: first and last name of deceased and place of death.

Other information that is asked for but not required is: former residence of the deceased; age of the deceased and the date of death, where again they allow for an approximation.

You can also apply for Still-birth and Adoption certificates. Acceptance of the Terms & Conditions is a requirement for all orders.

The cost of the certificates is more expensive than requesting them by mail. Each certificate and each additional certificate of the same event costs €8.00. There is a search fee of €2.00 and postage which is €1.00 within Ireland and €2.00 to the rest of the world. So when ordering from Canada this would add up to €12.00 and with the current rate of exchange would equal about $15.75 Canadian.

You can pay for this online with a MasterCard, Visa or Laser credit card through their secure site.

If you have problems then you will have to contact the General Register Office by telephone.

The General Register Office says that the order will be shipped in five working days.

There is a Question and Answer section which can be helpful. Reading the Terms and Conditions also provides some more information.

It is a shame that they decided to severely restrict the years available for marriage and death certificates as well as making the mother’s maiden name mandatory for a birth certificate and both spouses’ names mandatory for marriage certificates. This makes it difficult for the average genealogist as they do not always know the mother’s maiden name for a birth or a spouse’s name for a marriage.

Remember that you can still check the Irish Civil Registration Indexes for births (1864-1958), marriages (non Catholic marriages from 1845, all marriages 1864-1958) and deaths (1864-1958) at Family Search.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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Anyone who does research of any kind knows how important maps are to the process. Ordnance Survey Ireland has put historic maps online and they are searchable for free. The website says “Between 1829 and 1842 Ordnance Survey Ireland completed the first ever large-scale survey of an entire country”.

There are three series currently online:

6 inch mapping series (1:10,560) colour 1837-1842
6 inch mapping series (1:10,560) greyscale 1837-1842
25 inch mapping series (1:2,500) greyscale 1888-1913

On the first page you can choose to either browse the maps or look at Lewis’ Topographical Dictionary which is in PDF format. This gives you the location and a brief history of towns and townlands in Ireland.

When you first go into browse the maps you get a full image of Ireland. If you click on the province or area of interest it will get bigger.

On the right hand side there is a menu. If you click the mouse on pan you will have the ability to move the image around. Search will help you find a specific place. The easiest way is to click on search, chose by county, pick your county name and then enter a town, locality, townland or historic parish name. You have several to choose from in the drop down menus.

There is also choice of maps. A hybrid map which shows a satellite map with the buildings and roads filled in and then overlaid on top. Ortho 2005, 2000 and 1995 are satellite maps created in those years. A historic map which is in colour and a historic map in black and white are the last two options. You also have the ability to do a modern map overlay which places a historic map over the modern image.

Historic Layers allows you to choose different features and to apply them to the map. The features are: environmental such as brewery, gas works and quarry; or genealogical such as churches, burial grounds or a military barracks. These only apply to the historic 6 and 25 inch maps.

The historic layers can be difficult to see on the maps. The writing is in burgundy. This makes it tricky to see if the map is zoomed out or if looking at a city map. They are easier to read if you use the black and white historic map. Try turning on all the choices and see what can be found in your place of interest. This will give you a good idea of what the area was like.

If you click on reset view it takes you back to the full image of Ireland. You also have the option to purchase hardcopy maps.

So go in and have a look as you never know what you may find.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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Anyone who does Irish research ought to examine Hayes Manuscripts. These books are the result of a massive indexing project. Richard J. Hayes was the National Library Director who started the project in 1941.

Hayes wanted the library to catalogue all the data relating to Ireland or the Irish for all periods around the world. The final project was called “Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation”. It was completed in 1965 and there was a supplement in 1975. According to the National Library of Ireland’s website this resulted in “23 substantial volumes, containing over 17,000 pages of records.”

To use these indexes you had to go to a national, university or very large library. In the Toronto area I know there is a copy at Robart’s Library in the University of Toronto.

The earliest record in these indexes is 1785 and the records cover about 200 years. The digitization project started in late 2007 and it is now available online for free.

What exactly can you find in Sources? According to the National Library of Ireland’s website it is the following:

“All of the National Library’s manuscripts catalogued up to the 1980s; Irish manuscripts held in other libraries and archives in Ireland and worldwide, listed between the 1940s and the 1970s; articles, reviews and other content that appeared in over 150 Irish periodicals up to 1969.” There is also a link to download a list of the journals that are included in the collection.

If you find an article you would like a copy of you can order it through the library’s Copying Services. You can contact the Reprographics Department to find out the cost of the copying.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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Recently I came across a new blog called “On a flesh and bone foundation: Irish History” and found it very interesting. Jennifer Geraghty-Gorman is researching her Grandmother and her family who lived in Dublin at the start of the 20th century. The Magee family was also involved in the Irish War of Independence.

Jennifer’s blog provides a good description of how family and history come together. She shows the effects of the Irish War of Independence on the family and how the death of a beloved son affected them.

Jennifer shares her trials and tribulations of doing research in Ireland as well as the joys and sorrows of seeing the places that played a big role in her family’s lives.

I would suggest that you visit the blog and have a great read.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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This is a day when the world goes to pubs and drinks green beer. In fact up until the last half of the twentieth century Ireland was dry on St. Patrick’s Day. The pubs had to close for the holiday. Everyone wears green for St. Patrick’s Day but did you know the national colour of Ireland is actually blue.

This year the parades started on the weekend since the big day falls mid week. In Toronto on Sunday there was green all around for the annual parade. The oldest parade in Canada is in Montreal which started in 1824. Newfoundland is the only place in Canada that has a legal holiday on St. Patrick’s Day. The Islanders are mostly of Irish descent with a good number of their ancestors from Waterford and Wexford.

The Irish Diaspora has contributed greatly to countries around the world. When the Irish first arrived the one thing they could give to their new homelands was their brute strength and the will to get things done. Through the generations their circumstances have improved and the ancestors of those original Irish immigrants are helping to build stronger and more productive communities around the world. Some have even returned to the old sod to create a stronger Ireland.

I am a first generation Canadian. My roots are still very connected to Ireland. The family covers the whole island from north, south, east and west. There are professionals, land owners, roof thatchers, and farmers.

St. Patrick’s Day started as a remembrance of the death of St. Patrick who died on 17 March 461 AD. Now it has turned into a huge celebration of Ireland and the Irish people around the world. Everyone is Irish on this day no matter where their ancestors were born. So everyone have a Guinness and celebrate Ireland and her people.

Beannacht Lá Fhéile Pádraig – Rút

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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