Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Was someone looking for your Irish ancestors?

If you have Irish ancestors you know how frustrating your search can be. Records are non-existent, have been destroyed or are just impossible to find. However, if you want to try for a needle in a haystack, give this website a look.

This site, provided by Boston College has links to the advertisements placed in the Boston Pilot by friends and relatives in Ireland trying to locate their loved ones in the United States. On the outside chance that someone was looking for your ancestor, this is worth a look. 

I did not find anyone but I certainly enjoyed looking. 

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Genealogy Conference in Cavan

Join us in Cavan for a one-day conference with some of Ireland's leading experts on seventeenth-century Ireland to discuss the Towns in the Ulster Plantation.
VENUE: Johnston Central Library, Cavan
DATE: Saturday 14 th October
TIME: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
TO BOOK: Contact Cavan Genealogy
First Floor, Johnston Central Library and Farnham Centre, Farnham Street, Cavan
Phone: +353 (0)49 436 1094
Fee: €10.00
Fee is non-refundable and must be paid in full at time of booking. To guarantee your seat, early and full booking is essential. All major credit cards including Visa, Mastercard and Laser are accepted.
For more information click the link below.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Beyond your autosomal DNA test

You have finally bought your autosomal DNA kit, sent it in and have your results. Now what?  If you bought it from Family Tree you can take it and download the results and put them on  You can not, however, put them on, Ancestry does not allow you to download your results from other sites. That is a shame of course since they have the largest database. 

If however, you had your test done at you can download your results and add them to Family Tree for free. If you really want to be able to use the result to the full extent, you will need to pay $19 to unlock some of the other features that they offer. It takes about 24 hours for your results to be available to you after the download. 

You may also download your raw data to My Heritage. Different people have their DNA at different sites so the more places that you place yours, the more likely you are to find some useful matches. 

I have downloaded mine to all of them and one of my brothers to Family Tree since that is where I had his Y DNA tested. I will update you all as I find useful matches. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Civil records available to Irish genealogists

Civil registration in Ireland began in 1864 which, for many Americans, is just too late to provide direct assistance. Having said that, these records are a treasure trove and may be able to connect you with family members who remained in Ireland.

The website allows you to access a variety of records. Births, marriages, and deaths are all available. For some of the records there is only an index, for others there are images. 

Births  1864-1915
Marriages 1845-1940 (Catholic marriages from 1864)
Deaths 1864-1965

Births 1864-1915
Marriages 1882-1940
Deaths 1891-1965

In addition to the civil records, this website includes access to church records as well as lots of valuable information about researching your Irish ancestors and links to many sources that can help you in your quest. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

1666 Census of Quebec

What a fascinating snapshot of a moment in history this 1666 census is. While it is in no way complete, it does give those of us who have French Canadian ancestors a way to see where our ancestors were at this one moment 350 years ago. If you have other ancestors in other countries you realize what a gem this is. 

There are several ways that you can look at this, if you want to see the handwritten pages, they are available on the Canadian National Archives website. Some of them can be a bit hard to read so I used it in combination with this Rootsweb site which has them translated and listed by area. Not all the links, however, work so if you are looking for the list of the ancestors on the Isle d'Orleans, Coast of Lauzon or Beauport, you will have to resort to the original records. 

The original records are also by region but you must be careful to notice when the change happens. The census is 147 pages long in PDF or you can look at the 163 pages one page at a time. The last entries in all of the areas are the unattached men, some of whom have wives in France (some no doubt who have lied about having a wife) and the single men. Also, many families have young men working for them as domestics, this is how our ancestors paid their way over to Canada, by promising to work for someone for usually three years. 

I highly recommend if you have Canadian ancestors, you look at and enjoy the wonderful record. In some cases, it is the only way we have any idea what year or about what year our ancestors were born. Don't worry if you can't find one ancestor, you will find many others. 

The areas are:
Coste de Lauzon
Isle D'Orleans
St Jean, St Francois, St Michel (parishes on the south side of the St Lawrence River)
Trois Rivieres 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

An Introduction to the Irish Tithe Applotment Books

One record that has survived for Irish researchers to take advantage of are the Tithe Applotment Books. What are the tithe applotment books?  They are records of those people who were Catholic and occupied a piece of land for agriculture over one acre. They wanted a record so they could charge Catholics a title for the Church of Ireland. It was a tax for not being a member of the established church. While it was a very discriminatory practice, today we are grateful to the establishment for this record if not for the actual tax.

The Tithe Applotment Book can help to replace some of the records that would have ben included in the censuses from 1821-1851. They were compiled between 1823 and 1837. They only record agricultural land and not city dwellers and only the head of household but they can be quite useful. 

They record the townland, civil parish and the amount of land occupied. It is very useful to have the exact townland of your ancestor to take full advantage of the information available. All of these fields can be searched, and there is also a browse facility, which allows users to survey entire parishes and townlands.

The population of Ireland was recorded in 1841 as 8.2 million. It would have been somewhat less than this during the 1820s and 1830s, when the Tithe Applotment Books were compiled.

The books for Northern Ireland are in the held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, but there are microfilm copies in the National Archives which can be consulted in our Reading Room.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Placing your ancestors in historic context

Recently, as I was working on my son-in-law's genealogy  something triggered me to wonder about historic context. He had an ancestor who emigrated to Canada in 1757. The battle for the Plains of Abraham took place in 1759. The majority of French Canadian ancestors came to Quebec in the 17th century. I was surprised that this man came so late.

It made me wonder if perhaps he was a soldier sent by the King of France to defend the colony from the rising English threat. I looked at the record of his marriage which took place in 1757 and sure enough, he was listed as a soldier. 

Obviously, I would have found this out eventually when I went to look for his marriage but because I am aware of French Canadian history, it made sense to me that he might be a soldier. This will work for any genealogy in any time period or place. If you familiarize yourself with the history of the town, state, country or even world in which your ancestor lived, you will be able to recognize tips and hints that may help you to find out more about them. 

If you know that there was a famine or an economic downswing, you will recognize what may have triggered your ancestor to emigrate. Some of these are the Irish famine, Russian programs and religious persecution in England and France just to name a few. Rest assured, if you learn the history, lights will go on for you too.