Monday, June 21, 2010

Certificate of Irishness open to 70 million people worldwide

The Irish Times - Monday, June 21, 2010

Paul Cullen of the Irish Times reports:


THE GOVERNMENT has announced plans to introduce a certificate of Irish heritage for up to 70 million people of Irish descent around the world who do not qualify for citizenship.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said at the weekend he had decided to proceed with the initiative, which was first proposed at the Global Irish Economic Forum at Farmleigh last year.

The certificates will be issued by a third party agency acting under licence from the Department of Foreign Affairs, which is considering charging a fee for each document issued.

The initiative is intended to be self-financing, according to a department source. But he said it was not designed with the intention of raising significant amounts of revenue.

The price charged for the certificates has yet to be set. The tendering documents state that the level of fees shall be subject to the department’s agreement. They add: “The Department is open to considering proposals that provide for sharing a proportion of the fees received with the Department”.

The exact size of the market for a heritage certificate is not known. But it is anticipated that many descendants of Irish emigrants would wish to buy one to display in their homes or as gifts for their children.

Some speakers at last year’s forum were critical of the disconnection between Ireland and members of the diaspora, particularly those unable to qualify for citizenship by virtue of having a parent or grandparent born in Ireland. The forum also highlighted the role the emigrant network could play in helping Ireland improve its economic fortunes.

Mr Martin said the Government had taken a broad and inclusive approach to defining Ireland’s global community. “The Irish diaspora is not limited to Irish citizens living abroad or to those who have activated citizenship. Instead, it encompasses all those who believe they are of Irish descent and feel a sense of affinity with this country.”

The reach, power and influence of many members of the diaspora can provide Ireland with an important competitive edge, he pointed out.

According to the tender documents, it is not possible to determine the value of the concession: “The Irish diaspora is estimated to consist of 70 million . . . many of whom are proud of their Irish heritage”.

The process of selecting a service provider for a trial one-year period is under way, and the issuing of certificates is expected to start later this year, according to the minister.

Operators are likely to have a background in heritage or genealogy. The department is investigating the possibility that certificate-holders would benefit from discounts while visiting Ireland as tourists.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Handover and launch of Church records on, the website and search facility for Records of Birth, Marriage and Death

Mary Hanafin, T.D., Minister for Tourism, Culture nd Sport & The Most reverend Dr. John R.W. Neill, Archbishop of Dublin, will officiate at St. Werburgh's Church, Werburgh Street, Dublin 2, on Wednesday, 16th June 2010 at 6:00pm for the handover and launch of Church Records on the website and search facility for Records of Birth, Marriage and Death.

The Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport is pleased to announce the addition of further Church Genealogy Records on this website.

Church Baptism, Marriage and Burial records from pre-1900 are due to be added for Dublin City, Carlow, Cork (City and West Cork) and Kerry.

These additional records along with the digital image of these records will be launched by Mary Hanafin, TD, Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport and the Archbishop of Dublin, The Most Rev. Dr. John R.W. Neill. This event will take place on Wednesday 16th June @6.00pm in St. Werburghs Church (near Christchurch) Dublin 2. Inc. Appoints Josh Hanna Executive Vice President and Head of Global Marketing

Source: 11:00 AM ET 6/15/10 | GlobeNewswire, Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM), the world's largest online family history resource, today announced the appointment of Josh Hanna to Executive Vice President and Head of Global Marketing. He was previously Senior Vice President and General Manager of International, a position he held in London since July 2006. In this new role, Hanna will be based in Ancestry's San Francisco office and will be responsible for all of's worldwide marketing, public relations, business development, and subscription sales activities.

"Since joining, Josh has demonstrated remarkable leadership, both in launching and driving Ancestry's successful international expansion, and as a key member of our senior management team." said Tim Sullivan, Chief Executive Officer, "His deep experience with our company, breadth of business knowledge, and love of family history make him the perfect choice for this new global marketing role. I'm incredibly excited to have him back in the U.S., working with me and the rest of our great team to execute on our long-term growth strategy."

Hanna has held multiple positions at since joining the company in November 2001, including Vice President of International Business, Director of Product Management, and Business Manager. Prior to joining the Company, he held several marketing and business development roles with Netcentives, Inc. and Cyrk, Inc. Mr. Hanna holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and a B.A. in History from Dartmouth College.

" is a phenomenal company in an exciting category, and with a great future ahead," said Hanna. "I look forward to taking on this new challenge with the company and to growing our great business around the world." also announced that Andrew Wait, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the U.S. business, has resigned from the Company in order to pursue another opportunity.

"I would like to thank Andrew Wait for his incredible contribution to our company over the past four years. I have tremendously enjoyed working with him over this very exciting time at Ancestry, and I wish him all the best in his next endeavor," said Sullivan.

About Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM) is the world's largest online family history resource, with more than one million paying subscribers. More than 5 billion records have been added to the site in the past 13 years. Ancestry users have created more than 17 million family trees containing over 1.7 billion profiles. has local Web sites directed at nine countries, including its flagship Web site at to Acquire Sweden's

Source: 4:02 PM ET 6/14/10 | GlobeNewswire

4:00 PM ET 6/15/10
Symbol Last % Chg
17.05 0.47%

-- Leading Swedish Family History website
-- 26 million pages of family history records, 16th-20th century Inc. (Nasdaq:ACOM), the world's largest online family history resource, today announced that it has agreed to acquire the leading Swedish family history website

Total consideration for Genline is approximately US$6.7 million, to be paid in cash at closing. The offer has been accepted by Genline's Board of Directors but remains subject to approval of Genline Holding AB's public shareholders and other ordinary course closing conditions.

Genline expects to provide proxy materials to shareholders immediately and hold a Special Meeting of Stockholders shortly to vote on the transaction. Genline trades on the Stockholm exchange AktiTorget under the ticker symbol GENL.

Upon completion of the transaction, Genline will join's family of nine web properties globally, which together serve more than 1.2 million subscribers and host over five billion historical records and 17 million family trees containing 1.7 billion profiles.

Genline currently has more than 17,000 paying members with access to 26 million pages of digitized Swedish church records spanning more than 400 years from the 16th to the 20th century.

Josh Hanna, SVP and General Manager, International, Inc., comments: "The transaction, our first international acquisition, represents an exciting opportunity for to access Sweden's avid family history community and to provide subscribers of Swedish heritage in the U.S. and other markets with access to important historical content.

"For Genline members, the millions of US and Canadian records with Swedish relevance will provide many new opportunities to discover North American ancestors."

Mikko Ollinen, Genline AB Managing Director, comments: "We are delighted that sees the potential of Genline. Together we look forward to continuing to grow our business in Sweden and to making new and exciting historical records, both local and international, available to our members." expects to acquire all shares of Genline AB for approximately 53 million Swedish kronor with an adjustment for net working capital. Based on a June 11, 2010 exchange rate of SEK7.94 to US$1.00, the net purchase amount approximates US$6.7 million

Genline's 2009 reported revenue was $2.4 million. does not expect the acquisition to have a material impact on its financial guidance as issued in connection with its first quarter earnings release on April 29, 2010.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Take time to explore this online blast from the past

From The Irish Times, Friday, June 11, 2010

We recommend the following excellent article by By KARLIN LILLINGTON

NET RESULTS: The National Archive has brought us a marvellous, virtual slice of 1901 in its online census – and there’s plenty we can learn about ourselves from it.

I LIVE in a two-up two-down house built around the turn of the last century in the north inner city. One of the features of such houses – when it has not been torn out – is a half rectangle of metal mounted into a slight indentation about six inches off the pavement next to the door.

Being a girl from Californian suburbs that came ready-made with paved streets and neat walkways, I had to be told by a neighbour that these odd bits of metal were foot scrapers to remove the dirt from the bottom of your shoes before you entered the house.

Okay, that made sense, except I could never picture why they were needed, given that many roads around here would have been cobbled and, I supposed, reasonably clean.
Thanks to a fabulous online resource – the National Archive of Ireland’s 1901 and 1911 census – I can now understand exactly why such houses have these little remnants of the past. In the fantastic photo collection included to give context for the two censuses are some striking images of Dublin’s mucky, dirt-filled streets.
Horse-drawn carts ramble up a street in the Coombe in 1913 through a sea of dirt. The road around Stephen’s Green: dirt. The upper end of what would become O’Connell Street in 1910: dirt.

The sheer grime of day-to-day life for all classes comes alive in these archived photos.

The National Archives launched the 1901 census online last week in the packed reading room of its building on Bishop Street. If the building had been struck by a meteor at the time of the launch, I’d say half of Ireland’s historians would have been wiped out in a single blow.

This was clearly an event – or rather, an Event – in the calendar of those who love history, archives and the past. The real event though, of course, is the website itself, and the fact that it is now live and – especially wonderful – available to you and me.

This is not always the case. Many national archives around the world make census information available but only to a limited audience.

A historian friend noted that this is the case with the British census, as well as census archive information in several other countries.

However thanks to this truly inspired nearly €4 million project, created with Government funding and built with the support of many museums, libraries and archives throughout the island and abroad, anyone can access this material.

It will benefit people around the world researching their Irish roots, students from the very young to those pursuing doctoral work, scholars of all sorts, writers researching books, and the person at home who wants to jump into the riches that can be found here.

There is so much to dabble in – hours and hours of exploration.

Helpfully, users are given plenty of guidance as well as context. A large section on early 20th-century Ireland breaks down into a number of chapters that give background for understanding Ireland at the time of the two census years. There is also a photographic archive which brings the period to life.

Then there is the amazing resource of the census itself.

Visitors to the site can choose to browse the census for 1901 or 1911, or can search each census for people or locations. For 1901, there are more than 4.5 million records from over 850,000 households, which completed the form on Sunday census night, March 31st, of that year.

You can locate a specific address in a specific city, town or village and see exactly who was resident on that evening in either year. You get a sense of the panoply of Irish life, from wealthy landowners out in their estates to the heaving tenements of the poor in the inner cities,where more than 100 souls might have been squeezed into a single building.

At the launch, the census return for the family of James Joyce was dissected in a fascinating way. Twelve Joyces lived in house 8.1 in Royal Terrace, Clontarf West, Dublin, according to the census.

A roster of the stairstep children born by Joyce’s mother Mary – 10 of them, nearly one a year – is listed. Only 39, she would die before long.

James Joyce (19) is listed as a student. He could speak Irish and English, the form states. The entire family, down to James’s eight-year-old sister Mabel, could read and write.

Don’t let me detain you though – I am sure you have found , or will find, someone or some place that intrigues you, somewhere in this marvellous, virtual slice of 1901.

National Archive census site: