Sunday, December 7, 2008

Do You Have Ancestors Who Lived in South Africa?

Visit by clicking on logo just above. is one of the largest online sources of original South African genealogy information with over 1 million family tree records available.
The Database
The database currently includes the following genealogy sources:
South African Death Records index
South African Newspaper Classifeds from 2007
South African Settler Families Genealogy

Don't Let the Recession Get You Down!

Does the recession have you down? Do you find it too expensive to travel over to Ireland to conduct your own Irish family research?

Why not retain John Hamrock and to help you! We are based in Dublin where the major repositories for Irish family history archives are maintained. We offer convenient and affordable family history research services.

Over 70 million people worldwide clai, Irish ancestry. There has been an increased interest in tracing Irish ancestors that even a recession cannot stop.

Contact John Hamrock at or visit our website, today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

1911 Census of Ireland records online. Read all about it in Digital Genealogist!

John Hamrock has written an article, "1911 Census of Ireland records online" which was published in Digital Genealogist, Volume 2, Number 6, November/December 2008. The web link for this magazine which explores
the convergence of genealogy and technology is

The Managing Editor of Digital Genealogist is Elizabeth Kelley Kerstens, CG, CGL, who is also the owner of Ancestor Detective, LLC,, and Managing Editor of NGS Magazine,

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

John Hamrock Joins Genealogical Speakers Guild

John Hamrock of has recently joined the Genealogical Speakers Guild. The Genealogical Speakers Guild was founded in 1991 to facilitate better communication between speakers and societies. Their on-line directory at is one step toward that goal.

Whereas, the Guild recognizes and respects the prerogatives of existing organizations and societies in the field of genealogy whose missions are to serve societies, educate and protect genealogical consumers, certify professionals, and provide for an exchange of ideas in broadly based avocational, professional, and entrepreneurial activities related to genealogy, the Guild therefore directs its objectives to the following:

To provide a unified, effective voice to promote speakers' interests by providing a forum for the discussion of topics of concern to genealogical speakers.
To broaden the speaker base by identifying, educating and assisting promising speakers.
To raise professional lecture standards.
To aid speakers in understanding and fulfilling their obligations to program planners and to audiences.

The Genealogical Speakers Guild Directory will help you find speakers like John Hamrock you are seeking.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Sarah Palin, Ballykilcline, Kilglass Parish, Co. Roscommon, Ireland, Family Roots?

Sarah Palin, Ballykilcline, Kilglass Parish, Co. Roscommon, Ireland, Family Roots?

A day after the U.S. vice-presidential candidates’ debate between Sarah Palin and Joseph Biden, The Irish Times announced that Sarah Palin may be able to trace her ancestors back to the pre-Famine era Co. Roscommon.

According to a US based genealogist the maiden name of Alaskan Governor Palin’s mother is Sheeran. The ancestors of Sarah Palin were evicted from their Irish townland of Knockhall which is in the Barony of Ballintober North, Parish of Kilglass, Strokestown Poor Law Union, in County Roscommon. The Governor’s Roscommon ancestor was a Michael Sheiran or Sheeran, who crossed the Atlantic in 1844 and subsequently applied for U.S. citizenship on 12 September, 1855. His son, Michael James Sheeran, was born on 10 August 1852 in West Rutland, Vermont.

John Hamrock, the author of Tracing Your Roscommon Ancestors, a genealogist based in Ireland, believes that the work of the American genealogist, Mary Lee Dunn, is credible. For more information on Sarah Palin’s Roscommon Ancestors or to buy a copy of Tracing Your Roscommon Ancestors, contact John Hamrock at or visit his website at

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Antarctic Ancestor Adventure

Antarctic Ancestor Adventure

John Hamrock, Irish Genealogist and Writer, and (, are proud to be supporters of the Shackleton Foundation ( The Shackleton Foundation is a newly established charitable trust which supports individuals of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds, particularly the less advantaged, who exemplify the spirit of Sir Ernest Shackleton and who are inspirational leaders in their own right, wishing to make a difference.

The Shackleton Centenary Expedition is made up of six members who are descendants of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s team of Antarctic explorers. The six members plan to follow in their ancestors’ footsteps and recreate the 1909 Nimrod Expedition which was intended to be the first mission to the South Pole. The original Shackleton team trekked to within ninety-seven miles of the South Pole before being forced back. One hundred years later descendants of the original group hope to finish the trek and then continue on, to finish the mission that their forefathers began.

The centenary team will depart from the Shackleton Hut at Cape Royds on October 29th 2008 at 10:00am, exactly one hundred years to the day that Ernest Shackleton and his men began their trek. The team will travel unguided on skis and will cross the Ross Ice Shelf, each member hauling expedition supplies in sledges weighing about 150 kgs. The team will then ascend the seldom-crossed Bearmore Glacier, while collecting blue ice samples for scientific analysis en route. After, they will reach the Polar plateau where they must trek 400 miles to reach the South Pole.

Before the South Pole expedition, the team has been conducting a rigorous training program for four years. This has included intensive ice training in places such as Norway, Baffin Island, Greenland, Scotland and Austria. The Austrian trip has focused on hauling sledges in the Alps. The training in Greenland was for 17 days and was conducted in Milne Land to recreate some of the conditions the team will face in Antarctica. The training has included experimenting with diet as they each must consume 5,500 calories per day to make up for the 6,000 calories they will burn up each day.

While training, the team takes time to read Ernest Shackleton’s The Heart of the Antarctic in order to better understand what was involved and to get a feel on a daily basis of the extraordinary courage the original explorers exhibited.

The expedition begins on 29 October 2008 and the team members will provide commentary on their progress which will be recorded on

Shackleton Centenary Adventurers

Henry Worsley MBE Team Leader Henry Worsley has been in the British Army for 25 years, and is distantly related to Frank Worsley, Shackleton's skipper on the Endurance. He has wide expedition experience, and has completed the Haute Route and Yukon Arctic Ultra. This journey will satisfy an obsession with Shackleton and fulfill a lifelong ambition to follow the route of one of his polar expeditions.

Will Gow Will Gow works in the City. He has raised over £100,000 for charity by completing the Himalayan 100-mile stage race, and is related to Shackleton by marriage. The Centenary Expedition combines his desire to travel in the last great wilderness and reunite Shackleton's descendents at the Pole.

Henry Adams is a shipping lawyer and the great-grandson of Jameson Boyd Adams. He has trekked extensively throughout South America and Africa and is a passionate kitesurfer and sailor. Since boyhood he has dreamed of reliving his great-grandfather's Polar experience.

Patrick Bergel works in advertising. He is the great-grandson of Shackleton. Patrick will support the fundraising effort and intends to meet the ice team at the Furthest Southerly Point reached in 1909, from there to complete the last 97 miles to the Pole.

Tim Fright works in Westminster. He is the great-great-nephew of Frank Wild, the only explorer to accompany Shackleton on all his missions. Tim counts skydiving and marathon running amongst his hobbies, and will also complete the final 97 miles from the Furthest Point.

David Cornell is the great grandson of Jameson Boyd Adams. David was an officer in the British Army before entering the City, and spent several years in Norway leading arctic warfare exercises. The expedition will give him the opportunity to trace a link to his own ancestor's efforts, bringing to life the heroic journey in order to connect the past to the present.

Friday, July 25, 2008

AskAboutIreland new research facilities

Ask About Ireland,, is an initiative of An Chomhairle Leabharlanna, funded by the Department of the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, through the Information Society Fund and The Heritage Council. It is a website to assist in finding answers about Ireland, particularly the Irish countryside and Irish heritage. Visitors to the site will find unique access to new information, rare images, and documents from Irish public libraries, museums and archives.

They have introduced some exciting tools for genealogists and family historians doing research on Ireland. These include in the Heritage and History segment. Each of the following is quite interesting and should be explored:

• Architecture
• Big Houses of Ireland
• Built Heritage, 1700 – Today
• Families in History
• Heritage Towns
• Monuments & Built Heritage
• Pages in History
• Poor Law Union

There are also additional facilities on the website which are briefly described here.

Griffith’s Valuation Place Name Search

This facility not only allows researchers to locate 'occupants' to see who lived in the locality and were recorded in the Griffith’s Valuation of the 1850d, but also to see a Griffith's Valuation map of the locality. Additionally, for some locations, there is also a facility to see a modern (Google Maps) map. This is an amazing facility and all free of charge.

Irish Times Digital Archive

Ask About Ireland Irish Times Digital Archive provides online access free of charge for internet users within public libraries and schools in Ireland through Every effort has been and is continuing to be made to ensure the highest possible quality of the digital archive images and accuracy of the search. However, please note that due to the condition of the original material in some cases and the technological processes involved, it has not been possible to produce perfect results in every single case.

This service can only be accessed within a public library or school in Ireland, but again, an excellent facility.

Federation Of Genealogical Societies 2008 Conference

John Hamrock of will be attending the Federation of Genealogical Societies Conference entitled, “Footprints of Family History”, which will be held in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania from Wednesday, September 3rd through Saturday, September 6th, 2008.

This promises to be an exciting event particularly in helping those in their genealogical professional development. It will also be a great opportunity to speak with the many US genealogy enthusiasts about the future market for genealogy information.

Genealogists and archivists from Ireland will be well represented at the conference.

• Gregory O’Connor from the National Archives of Ireland
• Eileen O’Duíll, CG, Professional Genealogist, speaking on Irish research and professional development
• Seán O’Duíll, Irish Folklorist, speaking on marriage customs in 19th Century Ireland
• John Hamrock, author of Tracing Your Roscommon Ancestors and sponsor of
• Dr. James Ryan of Flyleaf Press who will be displaying Flyleaf’s interesting range of Irish genealogical and family history books at the TIARA exhibition at the conference
• A number of members of the Irish Family History Foundation
• Other professional and amateur genealogists from Ireland

More information about the conference can be obtained at Hopefully, we will see you there!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Commissioning Research (Continued)

We are please to announce that the National Archives of Ireland have added John Hamrock's contact details to its paper-based and web-based list of genealogical researchers.

The web-based list is available at:

The physical location of the National Archives of Ireland is:
Bishop Street,
Dublin 8,
Tel. +353 (0)1 407 2300
FAX +353 (0)1 407 2333

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Commissioning Research

The National Library of Ireland in Dublin does not offer a genealogical research service. However, if people wish to commission a professional to carry out research on their behalf a list of researchers - private individuals and organisations - who have indicated a willingness to undertake family history research on a professional, fee-paying basis, can be downloaded from the National Library of Ireland web link provided below.

The National Library of Ireland is updating its list of family researchers and will be bringing out a new one at the end of May 2008. We are pleased to announce that the National Library of Ireland has added John Hamrock's and's details to this new list which are:-

Mr. John Hamrock
63 Fosterbrook
Stillorgan Road
Tel: +353 (0)1 219 5799
Mobile: +353 (0)87 0505 296

The National Library of Ireland does not sponsor or endorse the individuals or organisations named and will not be responsible for research arrangements, payments or results.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Dublin City Library and Archive Talk

John Hamrock provided a presentation entitled, "Undiscovered Repositories for Tracing Roscommon Ancestors," on Saturday, the 29th of March, 2008 at the Dublin City Public Library and Archives.

The following are some of the Undiscovered Repositories and Archives John Hamrock spoke about:-

General Register Office
Government Offices, Convent Road, Roscommon.Tel: +353 (0) 90 6632900; LoCall: 1890 252076; Fax: +353 (0) 90 6632999Fax: +353 (0) 90 6632988;

Roscommon County Library;
Abbey Street, Roscommon, Tel: +353 90 663 7274

Roscommon County Courthouse
The Courthouse, Roscommon, Co. Roscommon
Tel: (090) 663 7140; Fax: (090) 663 7108; Email:

Roscommon Heritage and Genealogy Company
Church Street, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon; Tel: +353 71 9633380;
Fax: +353 71 9633398;; Email:

County Roscommon Family History Society
Bealnamullia, Athlone, County Roscommon

Roscommon Historical Research; Bona fide researchers can contact Liam Byrne to visit the Roscommon History archives near Lecarrow, Co. Roscommon. Liam can be contacted

Clonalis House
Castlerea, Co. Roscommon, +353 94 9620014;

Strokestown Park House
Strokestown Park, Strokestown, Co. Roscommon
Tel: 00 353 ( 7196 ) 33013; Fax: 00 353 ( 7196 ) 33712; e-mail:; web:

King House, Boyle;
Tel: 071 9663242; Fax: 071 9663243

The Connaught Rangers Association
Museum located at King House. One of their objectives is to formulate a database of information on the men who were veterans of the Connaught Rangers. They publish a yearly newsletter and an annual magazine. Their website is Email is

Beirne, Francis, The Diocese of Elphin; People, Places and Pilgrimage, Columba Press, Blackrock, Dublin, 2000
Gacquin, William, Roscommon Before the Famine, The Parishes of Kiltoom and Cam, 1749-1845, Irish Academic Press, Dublin, 1996
Hamrock, John, Tracing Your Roscommon Ancestors, Flyleaf Press, Dublin, 2007
Legg, Marie-Louise Legg, editor, The Census of Elphin 1749, Irish Manuscripts Commission, Dublin, 2005
Weld, Isaac, Statistical Survey of the County Roscommon, Royal Dublin Society, Dublin, 1832

Hunter, John, Resource County Roscommon, self-published, Queensland, Australia, 2004

Gacquin, William, «1821 Census Fragments for County Roscommon,» Roscommon Historical & Archaeological Society Journal, Vol. 7, 1998
------------------, « Eskerbaun, County Roscommon, » Irish Townlands: Studies in Local History, Four Courts Press, Dublin, 1998
McGowan, Eileen, « Surnames of County Roscommon ,» Irish Roots, No. 1, 1993

Feedback following the presentation was as follows:-

"Thank you for your excellent talk, which was very well prepared and just right for the day. I have had lots of positive feedback from the audience, many singled out your talk as giving a valuable step-by-step guide to sources. As a result people are now suggesting similar talks for other counties!"
Dr. Maire Kennedy, Divisional Librarian, Special Collections, Dublin City Public Libraries, 138-144 Pearse Street, Dublin

"Your talk was very well prepared and delivered."
Douglas Appleyard, Artane, Dublin

Sunday, March 30, 2008 launches new Irish Naturalization Service!

More and more non-European companies and institutions are conducting or plan to conduct affairs within the European Union (the “EU”). Individual managers or employees working for these organizations with a valid EU passport can work and travel freely without additional work visas.

If an individual’s parents or grandparents were Irish, then that individual is entitled to Irish and thus EU citizenship. offers an institutional service for individuals who need to obtain legal documents for Irish naturalization purposes.

Where the records exist, will dispatch them within 5 business days. has successfully assisted a number of individuals in this Naturalization process.

The cost for this service is €495. Please email to enquire how can be of assistance or if your require more information.

Thank You.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Moate Museum and History Society, Co. Westmeath

John Hamrock spoke to about thirty members of the Moate Museum and History Society at the Grand Hotel in Moate, Co. Westmeath, on Monday evening, 3rd March. The topic was 'How to Go About Tracing Your Ancestors.' Martina Griffin, President of the Association, Yvonne Lane, Public Relations Officer, and John Griffin organised the event. The turnout of thirty people was excellent as the night was extremely cold and there was another historical event happening in Tullamore that same evening. The talk was about 50 minutes with 15 minutes of Questions & Answers after and was quite interactive. There was also a photographer there from the Westmeath Examiner newspaper.

The presentation covered; Getting Started; Civil Registrations; Census and Census Substitutes, Church Records; Land Records and Estate Records; Grave Records and Inscriptions; Directories and Occupational Sources; Newspapers; Wills and Administrations; and recommended Books and Websites.

One participant was quoted about the talk, 'It was very comprehensive without being too long winded or technical. Hopefully it will ignite an interest in more people to search for their roots.'

For those people who could not make it, but would like a copy of John Hamrock's 25 page presentation slides, please email John Hamrock at or at Thank you.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Launch of Website

Congratulations to Liam Byrne on the launch of the most impressive website on County Roscommon, The site contains wonderful photographs which are very easy on the eye. The website is very well laid out and organised. There is excellent content on books, manuscripts, and other social and historical aspects of County Roscommon. The content is written with good humour and is a treasure for local historians and genealogists.

As was mentioned in an earlier blog, bona fide researchers can contact Liam to visit the Roscommon History archives. Liam can be contacted at With so many excellent photographs and examples of old manuscripts relating to County Roscommon on the site, most of the 250 MB for the site has been used up and Roscommon History is looking for sponsors to help fund future upgrades.

Monday, February 25, 2008 now posted on Cindy's List website is now included on Cindy's List of Genealogy sites on the internet.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Liam Byrne of Roscommon Historical Research

After publishing Tracing Your Roscommon Ancestors, I have learned of more and more local archives, repositories and local history sources in County Roscommon with amazing collections of sources which I hope to include in the second edition.

I have also met people like Liam Byrne in County Roscommon who are passionate about preserving documents for future generations.

Liam is the founder and manager of one most interesting archives in County Roscommon called 'Roscommon Historical Research.' Bonafide, experienced and serious researchers and social historians are welcome to contact Liam to arrange to visit his archive. Readers can contact this writer if they would like to contact Liam to arrange a visit the Roscommon Historical Research Archives. There is hope that Roscommon Historical Research will launch a website ( later this year with a catalogue of its holding and digital images of the manuscripts it holds.

Roscommon Historical Research has nearly 600 books, periodicals and local newspapers (not just county newspapers) relating to Roscommon (and Athlone, even though it is in Westmeath), which would be of interest to those chasing their ancestors in the area. The archives also hold a large collection of maps and documents, the earliest dating from 1706, to the late twentieth century, many of which are of interest to family historians, including wills, marriage settlements, indentures, correspondence, legal documents etc. There are maps, made for the sale of several large estates in the north of the county and a collection of O.S. maps with hand written notes of local history interest, for the south of the county. There are also photocopies of other material still in private hands.

While most of the collection is not yet catalogued, there is a partial listing for some of the material in the collection (for the website). Some of the interesting materials include billheads, postcards, legal documents, and postal stationary.

Liam has also written three articles for Roscommon Life and with copies of some of the manuscripts held in the archival collection. In addition, there are lists for Roscommon GAA books and a collection of GAA general ephemera (tickets etc.), and a listing of business, private and public telephone directories. There are also "year lists" for published books etc. for the county from 1998 to 2007.

Liam is also the editor of The Rindoon Journal which is published by the St. John's Parish Heritage Group. This is a must have publication for those interested in the local history and family histories of this part of Roscommon bordering Lough Ree.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Link to Dear Myrtle's Podcast interview with John Hamrock on 11 February 2008

Dear Myrtle Podcast

John Hamrock talks to Myrtle's listerners about how US researchers should get started on their Irish Family History. National Library of Ireland, Roman Catholic Church records, before 1858 Church of Ireland (Episcopal) Dublin and the many public records lost in fire of 1922 except for locally held documents. Also Tithe Applotment Books, Griffith’s Valuation and the Hearth Tax (mainly Eastern Counties). John specializes in Irish family research. He is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and holds a Diploma and a Certificate in Genealogy/Family History (First Class Honours) from the National University of Ireland, UCD Dublin. John’s book Tracing Your Roscommon Ancestors is a comprehensive guide for those tracing families in County Roscommon, where common family names include Kelly, McDermot, Beirne, Regan, Flanagan, O'Connor, McDonagh, and Quinn. It is filled with information on what the records contain, and how and where they can be accessed. It is well-illustrated with maps and with examples of the types of records to be found. It also has an extensive listing of references to estate records and also to family histories. This interview starts 27 min. 33 seconds into the podcast.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Dublin City Library and Archive Talk

John Hamrock will be speaking at the Family History Day at Dublin City Library and Archive, Pearse Street, on Saturday 29th March. The library normally invites five speakers, three in the morning and two after lunch, each talk lasts about 35 to 40 minutes with 5 to 10 minutes for questions. There is usually an audience of 80 or 90 people and there is a great buzz as like-minded individuals get to meet each other and share experiences and ideas.

John will be speaking on the topic 'Some Undiscovered Repositories for Tracing Roscommon Ancestors.' This will be includes in the Dublin City Library and Archive Spring brochure.

John Hamrock's book, Tracing Your Roscommon Ancestors, Flyleaf Press, Dublin, 2007, will be availabe for sale at the library on the day. Hopefully some of you can attend.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

St. Patrick's Day, 17 March 2008

As we are fast approaching St. Patrick's Day, 17 March 2008, we should make a resolution to begin or to update our Irish family history information files. With more and more information available on the internet one can concentrate on that medium or one can make the effort to visit the local library or contact a professional genealogist to delve into one's Irish family history