2018 June – Irish Genealogical Research, Part II

Irish Genealogical Research, Part II

Coordinator/Instructor: David E. Rencher, AG, CG®, FUGA, FIGRS

Additional Instructor: Nora Galvin, CG®

Held June 24-29, 2018, at La Roche College, Pittsburgh, PA. Registration Information.

If you attended the 2017 Irish Genealogical Research course, then you will certainly want to join us in 2018 for the NEW Part II course. If you didn’t attend in 2017, no worries, you will be on an equal footing with other members of the class as the course stands by itself to give you a well guided approach to solving your research objectives for those elusive Irish ancestors. Whether they were Protestant or Catholic, you will enjoy a well-balanced course addressing the challenges of finding the Scots-Irish, Anglicans and Catholics from the earliest immigration to North America into the 20th century.

This class covers various Irish records from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Online resources as well as all of the major Irish record repositories are covered in this in-depth look into the source materials available to identify and link your Irish families. The course will mix in-class workshops with some homework. Although not required, it is suggested that students complete the homework to increase the learning opportunity.

Electronic devices are not required, but strongly recommended as you may want to avail yourselves of viewing various websites as they are discussed in class and as a way to take notes. There are a number of key Irish genealogical resources available as eBooks. Again, not required, but the following eBooks will all be discussed in class. Most are also available in hardcopy, but you do not need to bring them to class.

  • Roulston, William J. Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors
  • Byrne, Joseph. Byrnes Dictionary of Irish Local History
  • Paton, Chris. Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet
  • O’Neill, Robert K. Irish Libraries: Archives, Museums & Genealogical Centres: A Visitor’s Guide
  • Helferty, Seamus and Raymond Refaussé. A Directory of Irish Archives (5th edition)

MONDAY – Establishing a Sound Foundation

Irish Jurisdictions and Reference Works (David E. Rencher) This session is a basic approach to ensuring that all seminar participants understand the reference tools that are needed to do successful Irish research and to understand how jurisdictions should be treated in Ireland to identify records.

Mining the Destination Data (David E. Rencher) Using all of the data available to determine the number of touch points needed to successfully identify your emigrant ancestor using an Irish example. This session incorporates maps and spreadsheets to organize your research and see the big picture.

Lunch Break

Irish Immigration to North America (David E. Rencher) Have you adequately covered all of the sources for immigration in the records of the U.S. and Canada? This session will focus on records you may not have considered for locating the home of your Irish ancestor.

Irish Church Records (David E. Rencher) This session combines information about the time period, content and record availability of records for the three major religions in Ireland – Catholic, Church of Ireland and Presbyterian. Additional information on some of the non-conformist sects is also included.

TUESDAY – Fragmentary Evidence

Census and Census Substitutes (David E. Rencher) This session explains the scope of what records survived and focuses on what can be done to mitigate the loss rather than focusing on the loss itself. This will broaden the researcher’s perspective of what constitutes a census record and how the various name lists can be used to leverage their maximum potential.

Evaluating & Interpreting Name Lists (David E. Rencher) This session illustrates how to use and draw the most information out of name lists as substitute censuses. When someone says, “the name is there, but it doesn’t tell me anything” this session is especially for them! Examples used are for both Ireland and the United States.

Lunch Break

Irish Probate Records (David E. Rencher) This session focuses on methodologies on how to locate what records are available and strategies for successfully knowing you have done what you can to locate what records may still exist.  The lecture will cover both pre-1858 and post-1858 probate materials and will discuss the probate classes of wills, administrations, inventories, grant books, and day books.

Introduction to Irish Maps for Genealogists (Nora Galvin) Maps help us to understand the various jurisdictions encountered in Irish genealogy, and they help to relate records and locations to modern Ireland. We will visit parishes and townlands using Google Earth. We will discover how to find your ancestor’s home at the time of Griffith’s Valuation, and determine whether it is still standing, using a favorite website. We will see how online map collections can be used to identify addresses in the US and Ireland.

WEDNESDAY – Land, Property and Military

Introduction to Irish Land Records (David E. Rencher) This session outlines the Irish land law pre-12th century to the separation of the Irish Free State in 1921. The timeline covers the plantation schemes, the relevant Irish land statutes, the Irish Land Commission and the records of the Quit Rent Office. It will also lay out the difference of the Land Registry versus the Registry of Deeds and the Landed Estates Court.

Ireland Registry of Deeds (Nora Galvin) The Registry of Deeds is a repository for deeds of sale, and, importantly, lease documents. Though many Irish immigrants did not own property in Ireland, they or their ancestors may have leased land and recorded the leases at the Registry of Deeds. Other types of documents were also recorded there, e.g., wills and marriage agreements. This lecture introduces the Registry of Deeds and how to research there. It discusses examples of documents that are loaded with genealogical information and demonstrates how to tie multiple research threads together in an attempt to reconstruct families.

Lunch Break

Encumbered Estates Court (David E. Rencher) The Irish Potato Famine had a severe negative impact on the Protestant land owners as well as the native Irish who died from starvation and were driven to immigrate. With rampant inflation and land owners locked into leases for lives, the indebtedness of the landowners drove them to bankruptcy. The records created by the Encumbered Estates Court are massive and give numerous genealogical details. This session outlines the jurisdiction of the court and the numerous online records for research.

British Military Records – Ireland (David E. Rencher) The Irish played a major role in the British military. Many families had at least one or more sons who served in the military and the associated identifying information may give valuable clues to validating or extending your Irish pedigree. Participants will learn how to identify the necessary regiment to explore the wealth of data in these records.

THURSDAY – Irish Law and Government Documents

Irish/English Court and Legal Records – An Overview (David E. Rencher) This presentation lays the foundation for understanding the records of the Irish legal systems from Brehon Law to the present day. Ireland’s legal system is a blend of the Manorial court and the English common law systems.

The Four Courts of Equity in Ireland (David E. Rencher) This session provides an understanding of the role of each of the Four Equity Courts of Chancery, Exchequer, Common Pleas, and King’s (Queen’s) Bench along with the officers of these courts and the records each created. A summary of the records available through the Family History Library collection is included for reference.

Lunch Break

Introduction to the Irish Penal Laws (David E. Rencher) For over a century, the Penal Laws defined life for the Irish Catholics and the ruling Protestants. Caught in a titanic struggle to try and force the native Irish to conform to the Anglican Church every effort was made to impose laws that would drive them to convert to Protestantism. Not until the recognition of these failed strategies did the laws begin to change and lead to disestablishment of the State Church and the creation of the Irish Free State. This sessions outlines the events and the impact to researching in the records created.

Introduction to Irish Law Libraries and Their Records (David E. Rencher) Records in the law library are often overlooked for Irish research. This session identifies what records are available, the major repositories in the U.S. and Ireland and the best online resources for Irish law research.

FRIDAY – Strategies for Success

Strategy for Irish Research 1500-1800 (David E. Rencher) Every research problem needs a strategy for solution. In this session, learn the strategies and how to apply them to solve Irish research problems in the sometimes record scarce 16th to 18th centuries.

Strategy for Irish Research 1800-1930 (David E. Rencher) With the massive emigration of much of the Irish Catholic population during the famine of the 19th century, research can be problematic. Learn the techniques to identifying your ancestral homeland and extending the research into the records of Ireland.

Course Wrap-up, Q/A, and the presentation of certificates prior to lunch