2023 July – Ireland and Northern Ireland Genealogical Research, part I

Ireland and Northern Ireland Genealogical Research (Part I)

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

With Additional Instructors: Richard “Rick” G. Sayre, CG®, CGL(SM), FUGA, and Mary Kircher Roddy, CG®

Held 9-14 July 2023, In-person at La Roche University, Pittsburgh, PA. Registration Information.

Overall Course Objective: Participants will acquire a solid foundation for their Irish research, whether just beginning, or they’ve been working at their Irish ancestry for some time. This class covers various Irish records from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Online resources as well as all the major Irish record repositories are covered in this in-depth look into the source materials available to identify and link your Irish families.

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 to take notes. There are several 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 hard copy, 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 – Laying the Foundation

9:00 AM – Irish Jurisdictions and Reference Works (Sayre)
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.

10:45 AM – Irish Immigration–North America Sources (Rencher)
Have you adequately covered all 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.

1:30 PM – The Hub of the Wheel: How Tracing a Brother with no Children Connected Ten Siblings (Roddy)
A family from Ireland emigrated in a chain migration scheme to western Pennsylvania between 1825 and 1845. See how using the standards for researching connected the siblings and their descendants and led to their origins in County Tyrone.

3:15 PM – Framing the Problem for Overseas Research (Rencher)
This session focuses on helping the participant identify the specific objectives for successful overseas research in Ireland. Failure to focus the research often leads to discouraging results. With this much invested in your trip to Ireland, you want to leverage all of your knowledge.

TUESDAY – Irish Land Records

9:00 AM – Introduction to Irish Land Records (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.

10:45 AM – Chasing the Poor and the Landless (Rencher)
Defining the landless and alternate record sources is crucial for identifying the poorest of the poor. The records of the Irish poor are voluminous but scattered throughout the country. This session helps you understand where and how to approach this problem.

1:30 PM – Estate, Land and Property Records (Rencher)
Prior to parish registers, estate, land and property records are the next best record to identify generational links and family information for landowners and tenants. This session arms participants with the tools necessary to examine these invaluable records.

3:15 PM – Irish Church Records and Analysis (Rencher)
Ireland’s three major religions, the Church of Ireland (State Church), the Catholic Church and the Presbyterian Church all have existing church records. In addition, there are a number of non-conformist religions, including Baptist, Methodists, Unitarian, Quaker, Jewish and others.

WEDNESDAY – Irish Research

9:00 AM – Advanced Methodology for Irish Research (Rencher)
Starting with a solid foundation, Irish genealogical research progresses from the survey phase through to publication. Understanding the foundation principles and strategies to build a solid genealogical conclusion on a family lineage will lead to the successful publication of the findings. Whether it is published online or in print, you will have the confidence that you have conducted reasonably exhaustive research and followed the genealogical standards.  

10:45 AM – Irish Websites for Genealogical Research (Rencher)
In the last decade, numerous genealogical websites have emerged to assist the researcher in tracing their Irish ancestors. This session highlights the major resources available on the top 50 Irish websites.

1:30 PM – Valuation and Tithe Records (Sayre)
The Valuation and Tithe records can be used as the fundamental basis for reconstructing neighborhoods in cities and rural areas. This session outlines the tools, strategies and resources needed to trace your ancestor’s land in Ireland.

3:15 PM – Irish Mapping Tools (Sayre)
Understanding place is fundamental to Irish research. Maps are one of our key tools. This session describes the essential mapping resources needed to research in Ireland. The discussion will include Ordnance Survey maps, valuation maps, and modern GIS tools. Examples of correlation with other information will be demonstrated.

THURSDAY – Irish Record Fragments

9:00 AM – Ireland Census and Census Substitutes – Part I (1800 – 1922) (Rencher)
With the destruction of the Public Record Office, Ireland in 1922, the standard Irish census records and many of the census substitute sources commonly used are unavailable. This session identifies the sources that still exist for research.

10:45 AM – Ireland Census and Census Substitutes – Part II (1600 – 1800) (Rencher)
With the numerous sources available, this session is a continuation of the previous session with a focus on the 17th and 18th century record sources.

1:30 PM – Irish Genealogical Collections (Rencher)
Many noted genealogists and antiquarians made abstracts and transcripts of records in the Public Record Office, Dublin prior to its destruction and 700 years’ worth of Irish history and records. These collections can be a valuable resource in searching for Irish ancestors.

3:15 PM – Plantation and Settlement of Ulster (Rencher)
This session outlines the events surrounding the plantation schemes and the settlement of Northern Ireland from the London Companies and the large, landed Estates in Scotland. This session highlights the sources for tracing the Scots-Irish in Ireland and Scotland.

FRIDAY – Wrap-up and Preparations for Ireland

9:00 AM – Preparing to go to Ireland (Rencher)
This session concludes the course with a strategy for getting the most out of your “trip of a lifetime” by clearly setting the expectations of what you can achieve on your research trip. Ready, set, go!

10:45 AM – Getting it all in Ireland (Sayre)
A case study of mining all the available information in Ireland. Despite significant record loss, there exist an amazing amount of records including Griffith’s Valuation, freeholder records, estate records, and much more. You too can walk the land of your ancestors.

Certificates and Farewells before lunch