Sunday 25 October 2020

My first published genealogy article !

My article on the Baron Talbots of Malahide has been published in The Irish Genealogist.
The Talbots were one of my chosen families and the subject of considerable genealogy research, as I worked to obtain a Certificate in Genealogy/Family History, with the well-respected genealogist, Sean Murphy, at University College Dublin. The Talbot's family tree could be traced back to the twelfth-century Norman invasion of Ireland. Plus, the family’s place in Irish society ensured they featured far more prominently in genealogical sources than their tenants, my small-farmer ancestors.

The article is primarily a genealogical and heraldic account of the Talbot family, Lords of Malahide, through the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, together with an examination of their Norman origins. It also looks at the family’s relationship with their tenants in Malahide, Co. Dublin, over the centuries and thus encompasses elements of local and social history.

And, as I opened the package containing my copy of The Irish Genealogist, which arrived in my letter box this week, there it was, my name and research listed on the cover page of the journal. How exciting!

The Irish Genealogist is the publication of the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS), issued annually since 1937, and renowned for its scholarly contribution to the field of Irish genealogy.

In the 2020 edition, my work is included. What a great honour!

If you are not a member of the IGRS, and would like to read my article, let me know and I'll happily email a copy to you.

Sunday 11 October 2020

Brian Mitchell's New Pocket Guide to Irish Genealogy

The Genealogical Publishing Company recently sent me a free copy of Brian Mitchell’s NEW Pocket Guide to Irish Genealogy, to independently review.
This handbook is divided into three easy-to-read sections.

The first section includes an outline of Irish history and genealogy for those beginning their Irish research, as well as information on how to get started from overseas, and the first steps a researcher should take.

The second section covers Irish record sources. Here, Mitchell examines how to make the best use of his seven ‘major' record sources, which he claims enable all researchers trace their roots back six or seven generations, on most lines. My ancestor scorecard supports this, to an extent, though it must be admitted, despite nearly ten years dedicated research, the names of only 9 of my 64 ancestors in the seventh generation have been identified.

Still, the majority of people born in Ireland during the 19th century and late 18th century, are bound to be found mentioned in these seven sources:
  • Civil registers of births, marriages and deaths
  • Parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials
  • Gravestone inscriptions
  • Wills
  • The 1901 and 1911 census returns
  • Griffith’s Valuation
  • Tithe Applotment books.

Next, Mitchell examines a wealth of ‘other' record sources, including the pre-1901 census fragments, newspapers, directories, school registers, 17th and 18th-century census substitutes, plantation and settlement records, military records, workhouse records, memorials of deeds, and estate records. These sources should enable most researchers to fill in gaps and build a much more complete picture of their ancestors' lives.

The worked examples provided liberally throughout the section are especially valuable for anyone beginning their Irish research. They often illustrate how to construct two and three generational family trees, from the information contained in the record being examined.

Essentially, in the current COVID-19 situation, directions on how to access digital copies of the records online are provided.

The sources and worked examples reflect a distinct Northern Ireland flavour, an acknowledged bias perhaps, and probably irrelevant to a beginner, who might easily apply the principles involved to their own research. However, the more experienced researcher, whose ancestors are not from Ulster, may find themselves at a relative disadvantage. For example, the non-denominational burial registers in Dublin, which often prove indispensable in tracing Dublin city lineages back that extra generation, are not mentioned in this guide. But should the bemoaned gaps in my pedigree ever take my research to Northern Ireland, Mitchell's local knowledge might come in very handy indeed.

The final section generously shares the 'insights and strategies' Mitchell garnered over many years working as a genealogist in Ireland. It appears as a mishmash of unrelated ideas, yet a knowledge of each topic is often crucial to successfully tracing Irish roots. Subjects covered include Irish place-names and administrative divisions, the origin of Irish surnames, Irish passenger lists, an introduction to genetic genealogy, and a list of sources for tracing Scots-Irish ancestors. To conclude, Mitchell sets out two case studies demonstrating how to apply everything in practice - one that works backwards from a man who died during the First World War, and another that traces the origins of a Scots-Irish family who emigrated to the US in the 1700s.

With nearly 40 years’ experience as an Irish genealogist, Brian Mitchell is already the author of several notable Irish genealogy reference books. He currently heads up RootsIreland's Genealogy Centre in Co. Derry, Northern Ireland. This handbook is ideal for newcomers to Irish genealogy, providing them with everything they need to know, but its 122 pages, crammed full of expert knowledge and experience, will almost certainly contain something for everyone.

Sunday 4 October 2020

Signature Silhouette #10 ~ Francis Byrne

For many of my ancestors, we have no photographs, no treasured heirlooms, not even a funeral card to remember them by. But of those who could read and write, a few left their signatures behind. They often signed historical census returns, for example, copies of which still survive. Their signature may be all that remains of them today. So, it's my intention to feature a Signature Silhouette for one ancestor, here, until they are all are preserved.

Here's one for my maternal great-great-grandfather, Francis Byrne:-

Francis Byrne (c.1853-1912)

Idea courtesy of Cathy Meder-Dempsey at Opening Doors in Brick Walls.

Source of signature: 1911 Census of Ireland, Francis Byrne household, Jane Place Lower, North Dock, Dublin,The National Archives of Ireland.