Saturday, December 12, 2009

Essays Presented to Liam Mac Alasdair by the Genealogical Society of Ireland

The Genealogical Society of Ireland presented Liam Mac Alasdair, a longstanding member, Fellow and former Director of the Society with 'Feil-Scribhin Liam Mhic Alasdair,' or 'Essays Presented to Liam Mac Alasdair' on Tuesday, December 8th, 2009. This collection of essays by Members and Friends of the Genealogical Society of Ireland covers a range of subjects from genealogy, heraldry, social history, military history, Orders of Chivalry, cultural studies, clan/sept histories, family histories and the Irish abroad. The work was edited by Rory Stanley and contributors include Dr. Noel Cox, Jim Herlihy, Bartoz Kowlowski, Roisin Lafferty, Philip Lecane, Sean Mac Bradaigh, Tony McCarthy, Caroline McCall, Katrijne Merrigan, Michael Merrigan, Seamus Moriarty, Sean Murphy, Barry O'Connor, David O Morchue, Seamus O'Reilly, Jaùes Scannell, and your truly, John Hamrock.

My essay on pages 50-59 is entitled, 'The origins and chief locations of the O Gara sept' and is an excerpt from a more extensive history of the O'Gara sept which I hope to have published in due course.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sir Richard John Griffith

The Irish Genealogy Research Society's September 2009 Newsletter reports,

Recently a portrait in oils of Sir Richard John Griffith was purchased by the National Gallery of Ireland. Griffith is well-known to genealogists as the organizer of various valuation surveys in Ireland and these remain a primary resource for genealogical studies. Patrick Wyse Jackson of Trinity College, Dublin, has written a paper published by the Royal Irish Academy that describes the portrait. The paper, which contains a colour reproduction of the portrait, may be freely downloaded from

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Inhabitants of Scattery Island, Shannon Estuary, Co. Clare by Senan Scanlan

Inhabitants of Scattery Island, Shannon Estuary, Co. Clare by Senan Scanlan

This excellent book by my friend Senan Scanlan is on the website and
can be read there.

1 Introduction and Acknowledgements
Scattery Round Tower
Scattery Round Tower


This book intends to provide a detailed account of the inhabitants of Scattery Island from the earliest recorded times to the 1940s. Its primary objective is to provide genealogical information on the main inhabitants from the 1840s to the 1940s and this includes all the available memorial inscriptions from the graveyard on the island.

Section two gives an outline account of those inhabitants that settled on the island up to the 1840s, taken from the best available source which includes extracts from a number of the Annals[1].

Section three summarises the information relating to the main inhabitants from the 1840s to the 1940s it outlines the reasons why the island was repopulated in the early 1840s and why its population increased during the famine when the rest of West Clare was in severe decline. The detailed genealogical information on the inhabitants in Appendix 8 is primarily the result of extensive research in Kilrush Parish Registers and the General Register Office, Dublin, including obtaining more than thirty copy certificates for Births, Marriages and Deaths. In addition some dates prior to official registration in 1864 have been estimated from information on Marriage and Death certificates and from the Census for 1901 and 1911 together with data from the memorial inscriptions. The research, which also included examination of some War Office records in The National Archives in London, concentrated on providing where possible all the details for the nineteenth century and only outline details are given for the early years of the twentieth century. Section three also outlines details of land division on the island together with the names of pilots and source details for these are included in Appendix 10. A brief description of Appendix 11 which has pedigree sheets for the main island families is also included.

Section four details the memorial inscriptions extracted from the island graveyard and gives details of the deceased inhabitants that lived on the island and those that lived elsewhere but are buried in this graveyard.

Section five describes aspects of life on the island including details of the main occupations of the islanders; the roles played by the Island School the Coastal Battery and the Lighthouse.

Section six gives details, principally from newspaper extracts of the Western Pilots and section seven gives an outline of Kilrush and Estuary News from c 1840 to c 1900. Section eight contains the main Appendix 8 which details the dates for Births, Marriages and Deaths of the main inhabitants that occupied the island from c 840 to c 940. In addition details of families that temporarily resided on the island for shorter periods during these years are included these being mainly associated with the Coastal Battery and the Lighthouse.

Section nine is Appendix 9 which is a plan of Scattery Graveyard.

Section ten is Appendix 10 and it provides details of pilot names and land division for Scattery Island.

Section eleven is Appendix 11 and contains seven outline Pedigree Sheets for the Main Families of Scattery c 1840 to c 1940.

Section twelve provides a detailed sources list divided into primary and secondary sources.

The Database (Appendix I) outlining the details of the main inhabitants after c1840 AD could not have been completed without the assistance and research done by Mick McGrath of Kilrush. In addition Mike Guiney, Glanmire, Cork, David Scanlan, Swords and Warren Buckley, Dundrum, assisted with the memorial inscriptions. Warren also arranged the layout and provided the photographs and cover for this book. Ron Battye, Dublin also provided some photographs and enhanced the map showing the fishing weirs. John Scanlan, Ennis provided valuable guidance. The Staff of the National Library of Ireland, National Archives, Limerick Archives, Dublin City Library and Archive also provided valuable assistance. Thanks to Andrew Scanlan for organising the printing of this book.

This book is dedicated to my late father Sinon, born on the Island in 1911 who encouraged and gave me the initial information and it is hoped that it will be of assistance to others who wish to pursue further research relating to the Island. Finally I would like to thank Mick McGrath and Patrick Scanlan Kilrush and Rachel Scanlan, Dublin who read and corrected the first draft of this book and therefore prevented me from making even more mistakes. Any remaining errors are my responsibility.

Senan Scanlan.

© Copyright 2007, Senan Scanlan


Monday, August 17, 2009

Ennis, Co. Clare to Make Muhammad Ali first 'Freeman'

from the Associated Press and
17 August 2009

A town council has voted unanimously in favour of making boxing legend Muhammad Ali the first Freeman of his ancestral home in Ennis, Co Clare.

The 67-year-old former world heavyweight champion will visit the birthplace of his great grandfather on September 1. A civic reception will take place in Waterpark House, Drumbiggle, before Ali tours the town and the council is also hoping to host a public open-air event during the visit.

Ali's ancestor Abe Grady emigrated from his home on the Turnpike Road in Ennis to the US in the 1860s. Grady sailed from Cappa Harbour in Kilrush, Co Clare, eventually settling in Kentucky where he later married.

MUHAMMAD ALI TO VISIT HIS IRISH ROOTS: Boxing legend to tour town in Ireland where his great grandfather was born

*Boxing legend Muhammad Ali is to visit the Irish town from where his great-grandfather emigrated to the United States in the 1800s, the town's mayor announced Thursday.

Ali, 67, has finally agreed to take up a long-standing invitation from the town council to visit Ennis, County Clare, reports Reuters. "We will make him very welcome," Mayor Frankie Neylon told AFP. "We will be delighted to see him. I would hope to arrange a vote of the council to make him a freeman of Ennis."

Ali will be in Ireland later this month to take part in "An Evening with the Greatest," a Dublin-based fundraising event for the recently established Alltech-Muhammad Ali Center Global Education and Charitable Fund. The Irish biotechnology firm Alltech established the fund with Ali to promote educational and humanitarian goals. Alltech president and founder Pearse Lyons said Ali will revisit Dublin -- where he fought Al "Blue" Lewis in 1972 in front of a crowd of 25,000 -- for "a new and equally profound fight, a fight in the name of benevolence."

Research by genealogists found that Ali's great-grandfather Abe Grady emigrated to Kentucky in the 1860s. Abe married an African-American and they had a son called John Grady who was Ali's grandfather. He in turn had a daughter called Odessa Lee Grady who was Ali's mother. Ali was originally Cassius Marcellus Clay Junior but changed his name to Muhammad Ali when he converted to the Nation of Islam.

Genealogists also claim that both President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are descended from Irish families of shoemakers with their ancestors leaving Ireland within weeks of each other in April and May 1849.

Obama's ancestor came from Moneygall in County Offaly in the midlands and Biden's is believed to have emigrated from Carlingford, County Louth in the north-east. As a result of waves of migration, about 34 million people in the United States claim an Irish connection today.

Monday, June 15, 2009

John Hamrock to Present Paper at Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society Annual Conference

John Hamrock will present a paper at Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society Annual Conference to be held over two days at University College Dublin on Friday, 4th September and Saturday, 5th September 2009. This year’s conference will be focused on the Penal Laws. This conference is supported by the School of History and Archives, the Humanities institute of Ireland, and the Micheál Ó Cléirigh Institute. John’s paper is entitled, ‘Irish Augustinians in the Penal Times.’

Please see below draft programme (subject to change) which is a full and varied one. Please also see registration details and conference fee below.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Proposal to Make It Easier to Claim Irish Citizenship

The New York Times reported on March 15, 2009 that the Irish Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, Brian Cowen, in a speech at the American Irish Historical Society on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, proposed measures to make it easier for Americans to claim Irish citizenship, reversing a restrictive course the Irish government took in 2005.

“The connections between Ireland and America remain strong,” Mr. Cowen said, “but we cannot take them for granted.”

Mr. Cowen proposes to ease naturalization by allowing Americans whose nearest Irish ancestor is a great-grandparent to qualify for citizenship, provided that they have spent considerable time studying or working in Ireland. Under current law, the most distant forebear an American could claim and still qualify for Irish citizenship is a grandparent.

“There’s an awful lot of Irish-Americans who feel very cut off by the ‘grandfather rule,’ ” said Niall O’Dowd, the former chairman of the Irish Lobby for Immigration Reform and a founder of the Irish Voice newspaper in New York as well as of a new Web site,, that started Sunday night. “This would open up Irish citizenship to a whole new generation of Irish-Americans.”

The number of Americans with Irish ancestry has been estimated to be as high as 40 million, and millions of those people have no closer blood tie to Ireland than a great-grandparent.

The immigration proposal grew out of a “strategic review” of Irish-American relations Mr. Cowen ordered up last year, the first such review performed by the government since the 1930s, he said.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Dublin's Country Mix 106.8fm to host new family history / genealogy programme with John Hamrock presenting:

John Hamrock will be presenting a family history / genealogy programme on Dublin's Country Mix 106.8fm from May 1st 2009 on a weekly basis. Dublin’s Country Mix is a Country and Western/Easy listening style Radio Station. From time to time the Station features articles on air that are of special interest to listeners. For example Gardening, Wine, Books etc.

John Hamrock will present from the studio once a week to instruct the listeners on how to trace their ancestors with hints and tips to help them. This will be of great interest and practical value to Dublin’s Country Mix listeners interested in how to trace their ancestors.

Country Mix's flagship programme has one of the most professional and experienced female presenters in mainstream radio today, Lynsey Dolan. Lynsey hosts two hours of chat every morning from 9am - from major topics of the day to what’s what in Entertainment and now Genealogy will join the list of those topics of interest to radio listeners.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

John Hamrock appointed to Ireland Branch Committee of Irish Genealogical Research Society

At the Ireland Branch of the Irish Genealogical Society Annual General Meeting held on Saturday, 4th April, 2009 at Dublin City Library and Archive, John Hamrock was elected to the Branch Committee for the 2009/2010 year.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Dublin City Library and Archive Family History Day 28th March 2009

Dublin City and Archive are hosting the annual Family History Day on Saturday, 28th March 2009. Booking is essential to guarantee a place. Registration is at 9:30am. Sean Murphy of UCD's talk at 10:00am is 'Know Your Surnames.' This is followed by a talk by John Grenham entitled 'The New Dublin Freemen and Trade Guild Database' at 10:45am. Douglas Appleyard is speaking at 12:00pm on 'Searching the Stoker Family.' At 2:00pm Paul Gorry is speaking 'Can I Trace Emigrants?' and Steven Smyrl is speaking at 2:45pm on 'Ireland's Court Records - What Survived 1922?' It promises to be an informative and interesting day for family historians.

Irish Genealogical Research Events in Dublin in March, April, and May 2009

The Irish Genealogical Research Society - Ireland Branch is hosting its Annual Genealogy Open Day which will take place on Saturday, 16th May 2009 from 10:00am to 4:00pm at Dublin City Library and Archive, 138 - 142 Pearse Street, Dublin 2. There will be a full programme of lectures and a therapy session for genealogical problems. Further details to follow. All are welcome.

Miriam Moffitt, author of Soupers and Jumpers - the 19th Century Protestant Missions in Connemara, will be speaking at Dublin City Library and Archive on Pearse Street, Dublin 2, at 3:15pm. Admission is free and all are welcome. This talk is sponsored by the Irish Genealogical Research Society and will follow the Society's AGM at 2:30pm (members only).

The Irish Genealogical Research Society is hosting a Spring Lecture at Buswell's Hotel on Kildare Street, Dublin 2, at 7:00pm, Monday, 30th March 2009. The Speaker is Dr. Ciara Breathnach and her talk is, 'The nature of Wills and the prevalence of Intestacy in modern Ireland.' Admission is free and all are welcome.

Aiden Feerick Joins as Genealogist


Aiden Feerick has always had an interest in local and family history. Since national school he has had an interest in place names, the land question and memorials of the dead. This comes from growing up in County Mayo in close proximity to the parish graveyard before rural electrification, before television and before houses had the modern conveniences we now take so much for granted. In a word, he grew up during the fifties when the way of life of country people had not changed for generations. So, he understands from direct experience what life was like two or three generations ago.

After reading Classical languages at University College Dublin and after a short spell teaching, he went to live and work in Italy. There he spent nearly 25 years. This is a country where family records go back hundreds and in the case of aristocratic families, thousands of years.

Returning to Ireland, he decided to investigate the history of his own family. He joined the University College Dublin Genealogy course tutored by Sean J Murphy M.A., a well know genealogist and family historian. The three year course covered all important aspects of genealogical research: births marriages and deaths records searches, Census searches, ecclesiastical records searches, wills and court records as well as land registry searches. Time was also devoted to the study of armigerous families as well as to early documents like the Tithe Applotment Books. Because emigration was such an important factor in 19th century Ireland, especially towards the USA, research techniques in this field were extensively covered.

During the course of the three years, Aiden specialised in the study of records relating to County Mayo, his home country. In the final year, he prepared a critical edition of the Tithe Applotment Book for the parish of Killedan in the same county. This is as yet unpublished.

Having recently retired, he was delighted when John, his classmate from the genealogy course, asked him to join in offering qualified genealogical services to clients.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

John Hamrock and Participate in Who Do You Think You Are Live at Olympia in London - Feb/Mar 2009

John Hamrock and participated in the February / March 2009 Who Do You Think You Are? Live exhibition at the Olympia in London. John joined the Irish Roots magazine stand to display his book 'Tracing Your Roscommon Ancestors' and other Flyleaf Press works and to share Irish genealogical advice with visitors to the stand. There were also several interesting talks which John attended. In addition to and Irish Roots, other Irish participants included the National Library of Ireland, the National Archives of Ireland, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the Irish Family History Foundation, Eneclann, and many more. We hope to post some photographs of the event and more detailed information shortly. John would like to thank all the visitors to the Irish Roots stand and to thank Julie and Maureen Phibbs for their hospitality.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

NEHGS and The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) St. Patrick’s Day Seminar in Boston

John Hamrock will be attending the NEHGS and The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) St. Patrick’s Day Seminar in Boston, Massachusetts on Saturday, March 14, 2009, 9:30 AM—12:30 PM
This second annual jointly sponsored half-day seminar will feature two presentations, Irish Archives, Libraries and Genealogy Centres by Robert O'Neill, Ph.D and Public Health Records in Massachusetts: a Resource for Irish Family History. Robert K. O'Neill is the Burns Librarian at Boston College. He is the editor of Irish Libraries: Archives, Museums & Genealogical Centres.
Marie Daly, Marie Daly is Director of Library Services at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. She is the past president and co-founder of TIARA (The Irish Ancestral Research Association) and has been researching, lecturing, and writing about Irish genealogy since 1976. This event is free and open to TIARA and NEHGS members.

John will bring along copies of his book, Tracing Your Roscommon Ancestors, for those who want to take advantage of his brief visit to his native city, Boston. Now Offers Irish Family History Research Credits Online

Effective 14 February 2009, and John Hamrock now offer Irish Family History Research Credits in units of euro 50.00 per hour. These can be purchased in a safe and secure manner via Paypal directly on Many people both in Ireland and across the globe have been availing of this service.

In addition, hourly units for Irish Family History Library research can also be purchased online for units of euro 30.00 per hour.

Last but not least, assists people in Irish passport applications. Rates have recently been reduced so check out this service now.

Monday, February 2, 2009

John Hamrock to attend 'Who Do You Think You Are? Live' 2009 Exhibition

John Hamrock will be attending the 'Who Do You Think You Are? Live' exhibition being held from Friday, 27 February 2009, to Sunday, 1 March 2009, at the Olympia in London. He will be bringing a supply of his books, Tracing Your Roscommon Ancestors, for those interested in Irish genealogy. Vendors who are interested in selling the book and hobbyists interested in buying the book will have a chance to meet John at the Olympia that weekend. People can also contact John Hamrock beforehand at or +353 (0)87 0505296.

The web site for the event is

Looking forward to seeing you there!