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 (www.roscommonhistory.ie) 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.

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