Thursday, December 30, 2010

Ancestor Network Participating in FREE Genealogy Services at Carton House in Maynooth!

The Genealogy Roadshow is coming to Kildare. It’s a day-long Genealogy event, filmed for RTE television, which can help you trace your family’s roots for free. The roadshow will be hosted by RTE’s Derek Mooney as we try to help ordinary people find extraordinary stories from their family history.

Do you think you’re related to someone famous? Is there a family connection to some politician, entertainer, sports personality or explorer? If so, we want to meet you!
If there’s a mystery hanging from your family tree we can help you solve it.
Was one of your relations involved in a dramatic part of local or national history? We want to find out all the details.

Our team of genealogy experts and historians, which includes professionals from Ancestor Network, John Hamrock and Aiden Feerick, are coming to Kildare and will be giving free advice and help - but time and access to the experts is limited, so come early. If you don’t want a face-to-face meeting, you’ll still be able to watch the experts and hear the advice they give to each person they speak to and hear all the tips they give out.

We’re looking for people with connections to well known figures of the past, people with a family mystery to solve or people with family connections to historical events. You tell us the story and we’ll search for the evidence.

Maybe you believe there’s a connection to one of Kildare’s famous sons like Arthur Guinness or Ernest Shackleton? Maybe you’re the great, great, grand nephew of Wolfe Tone? Are you a relative to the first man ever to hoist the new Sam Maguire Cup in 1928, Bill Gannon? We want to hear all about it!

So if you have letters, photographs, birth certificates, heirlooms or any other piece of information that might help, then bring them along to Carton House on ‘Sunday January 16th’ for a fun, free day out and let us help you get on the right track.

Carton House
Co. Kildare

Time: 11:00am – 5.00pm (Sunday January 16th 2011)

The programme is being produced by Big Mountain Productions. Please contact us if you have any queries –

Monday, December 20, 2010

Start Your Family Tree Week
26 December – 1 January

• Ireland’s first ‘Start Your Family Tree Week’ launches
• ‘Start Your Family Tree Week’ runs from 26th December – 1st January
• 69% don’t know the names of all their great-grandparents
• 94% would like to find out more about their family history
• Michael Collins, Oscar Wilde and Grace O’Malley are the people that we’d most like to discover we’re related to

Christmas is traditionally the time when families gather together to celebrate – in fact research reveals that 96% of Irish people plan to meet up with family this Christmas*.

But how much do we really know about our families?

In a recent poll, Eneclann, Ireland’s leading Irish historical researcher and publisher, revealed that while 89% of Irish people are able to name all of their first cousins and grandparents, only 31% are able to name all of their great-grandparents*.

This Stephen’s Day sees the launch of Ireland’s first ‘Start your Family Tree Week’, an opportunity to find out more about your Irish family history. The initiative, which is supported by Eneclann, the Genealogical Society of Ireland and the Irish Family History Society, aims to encourage people to find out more about their family history, and to hand down the stories and memories to the next generation.

‘Start Your Family Tree Week’ aims to encourage people to find out more about their families in a fun and interactive way. People can sign up for a series of seven daily emails from 26th December – 1st January. Each email is designed to help you develop your family tree further and includes advice and features from experts, links to useful websites and competitions (see below for details of prizes). People can participate by visiting and signing up for the newsletter.

Research reveals that the top ten famous Irish individuals that people would like to discover they are related to are:

1. Michael Collins
2. Oscar Wilde
3. Grace O'Malley
4. Brian Boru
5. Daniel O'Connell
6. Mary Robinson
7. Arthur Guinness
8. James Joyce
9. William Butler Yeats
10. Charles Stewart Parnell**

Rachel Murphy of Eneclann said ‘Christmas is the perfect time to start exploring your family history; with many of your relatives all gathered together in the same place, it’s a perfect opportunity to share family stories, and ask questions about what life was like in the past. As a people with a strong oral tradition, you’d expect we would still be passing the stories down the generations but our survey shows that an overwhelming 92% of people regret not having asked relatives more about their lives*.’

John Grenham, one of Ireland’s leading genealogists and the author of Tracing your Irish Ancestors, said:
‘For whatever reason, the week after Christmas always sees a big surge of interest in family history. ‘Start Your Family Tree Week’ is a great way of giving people the tools to turn that interest into real research, and produce their very own Who Do You Think You Are? It deserves every success.’

Steven Smyrl, a professional genealogist and chairman of the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) said:
‘We used to think it was only the Americans who were interested in genealogy and their family’s past, but in the past decade the Irish have become just as interested, if not more so. The proliferation of online sources for Irish genealogy now means that research has never been easier. Certainly, for the IGRS the internet is providing us with new opportunities to encourage genealogical research. Events such as ‘Start Your Family Tree Week’ can only boost this interest further.’

John Heueston, of the Irish Family History Society said:
‘The Irish Family History Society commend the initiative of Eneclann in launching ‘Start your Family Tree Week’ which is a great idea in getting people started on researching their ancestors. We wish them every success with this project.’

Michael Merrigan, General Secretary of the Genealogical Society of Ireland said:
‘An awareness, appreciation and knowledge of our genealogical heritage opens up a world of exciting possibilities, not least, discovering who our ancestors were and learning about their lives and times, but also introducing ourselves to the localities in which our ancestors lived and raised their families.

John Hamrock at Ancestor Network said:
'As Christmas time brings families together, it is the ideal time to speak to older family members and begin recording your family history if you have not already done so already. We offer a genealogy course starting in January 2011 which is ideal for those family members looking to undertake the research and who want to find out the best ways of conducting that research and recording the history for posterity.'

Family history is essentially about connectivity - both with the past and, what is wonderfully exciting, also with newly discovered relatives throughout the world. To say that family history is a voyage of discovery is very true, but it is also an extremely enjoyable educational leisure pursuit that is available to all irrespective of prior learning, age or socio-economic circumstances. It's your journey - it's up to you to take the first step.’

Note to editors
*Research conducted by Eneclann in December 2010 via an online survey of 129 Irish people
**Research conducted by Eneclann in December 2010 via an online survey of 167 Irish people

Featured Experts:
• Fiona Fitzsimons, Eneclann
• John Grenham M.A., M.A.P.G.I., F.I.G.R.S.
• Eileen O'Duill, CG, M.A.P.G.I.
• Gerry Kennedy M.A., M.A.P.G.I
• Rachel Murphy M.A.
(more information at:

Competition Prizes include:

• A two night stay for two people sharing in their choice of Blue Book country house or historic hotel
• 5 hours’ Irish family history research by Irish genealogy experts, Eneclann
• 4 subscriptions to Irish Roots, the Irish genealogy magazine
• 5 subscriptions to Ireland of the Welcomes, the Irish magazine
• 5 reproduction historical maps of the Irish county of your choice from
• 5 prizes of a printed and bound hardback book of your family history research from
• 7 subscriptions to the Irish Ancestors website
• 7 memberships of the Irish Family History Society
• 7 memberships of the Genealogical Society of Ireland
• 7 memberships of the Irish Genealogical Research Society
• 7 one-day subscriptions to the Irish Times Online Newspaper Archive

Anyone with British roots might be interested in the British Start Your Family Tree week, organised by For more information, go to

For further information, please contact:
Rachel Murphy
086 826 5004

About Eneclann
Eneclann is an award-wining Trinity College Campus Company based in Dublin and founded in 1998. It operates in 3 key areas: genealogical & historical research, archives & records management and digitisation & publications.
Eneclann's genealogy team have researched over 10,000 family histories for clients and have worked on Who Do You Think You Are? (Ireland, UK, Canada & Australian series), Ancestors During the Famine (RTÉ), and NBC's Faces of America. They also traced President Barack Obama's family tree back to the late 1600s in Ireland. They have worked for over 10,000 research clients.
About the Genealogical Society of Ireland
Founded in 1990, the Genealogical Society of Ireland (GSI) and its archive - An Daonchartlann - are located at the Carlisle Pier, Dún Laoghaire, Ireland. It is the only such facility in the Republic.

The Society is a registered charity and is incorporated. It is a nominating body for Seanad Éireann and has a Grant of Arms from the Chief Herald of Ireland. The Society campaigns for the legislative protection of our genealogical heritage resources Ireland and has acted as advisor on a number of pieces of key legislation such as the Genealogy & Heraldry Bill, 2006, the National Cultural Institutions (Amendment) Bill, 2008 and the Statistics (Heritage Amendment) Bill, 2010.

The Society publishes an Annual Journal, monthly newsletter and occasional volumes of memorial inscriptions. It has its own Archive & Research Centre and organises group projects. The Society holds two Open Meetings each month - lectures and discussion groups.

About the Irish Family History Society
The Irish Family History Society is an Irish based Society founded here some 26 years ago. It is a non-profit organisation run entirely by volunteers.
It has a worldwide membership; holds lectures in Dublin; issues newsletters and an annual Journal; offers assistance through advice and information to members researching their family history.
About the Irish Genealogical Research Society
The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) was established in 1936 to encourage and promote the study of Irish genealogy throughout Ireland and Britain and to build up a library of books and manuscripts of genealogical value to compensate for the destruction of the Irish public records in 1922. Worldwide, this library is the largest and most important collection of Irish genealogical material held in private hands. Since 1937 we have published an annual journal, The Irish Genealogist, and twice yearly we circulate our newsletter. The IGRS is widely recognised for making a unique scholarly contribution to the field of Irish genealogical studies over the past 75 years. It is a constituent member of the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO) to which almost all organisations involved in Irish genealogy belong.

The ‘Ireland Branch’ of the Society holds a number of events each year. Its Spring Lecture is held on an evening each March in the National Library of Ireland, centrally located in Dublin’s Kildare Street; the April and May lectures take place at the Gilbert Library, on Pearse Street. In April is the Annual General Meeting and lecture, in May is a full day of lectures and seminars and each June the Society invites the Irish Family History Society (IFHS) to join with it for the annual Summer Outing (a full day’s coach trip outside of Dublin). In turn, in August/September the invitation is returned when the IFHS invites the IGRS to join it for its Autumn Outing in the greater Dublin area. Finally, the IGRS annual (evening) Autumn Lecture takes place each October also at the National Library.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Irish Genealogy Course Launch in January 2011 - Register Today!

Irish Genealogy Course Launch in January 2011
Register Today!

Would you like to start the New Year by engaging in a practical course on how to trace your Irish ancestors? A weekend course in genealogy will be offered at the Genealogical Society of Ireland’s Library and Archive, ‘An Doanchartlann’, Carlisle Pier, Dún Laoghaire, starting from Saturday, 22 January 2011. Class duration is 2.5 hours and each programme will run for eight weeks.

The aim of the course is to provide an introduction to the theory and practice of genealogy and family history research. Genealogy and family history research can be done as a one off project or as a lifetime hobby.

Topics to be covered include principles of genealogy, internet research, and how to draw up a family tree. Key records such as church parish records, civil registrations (births, marriages, and deaths), census returns, and land records will be explored in detail. Other sources discussed will include grave records and inscriptions, newspapers, wills, trade directories, and new developments in DNA testing.

Class size will be restricted to six students which will allow for individualised training and guidance on how to conduct and write your own family history. Students are encouraged to bring their own laptop. The GSI Library and Archive facility provides broadband internet access allowing students to conduct family history research online as part of the training programme.

Course cost: €300 which includes one year’s free student membership of the Genealogical Society of Ireland

The course will be taught by John Hamrock of Ancestor Network Limited. John is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists. He holds a Certificate and a Diploma in Genealogy from UCD (first class honours) and is the author of Tracing Your Roscommon Ancestors.

For more information or to obtain an enrolment form, please contact John Hamrock at 087 0505296 or at Also, find out more at

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Vikings brought Amerindian to Iceland 1,000 years ago: study


Sunday, 21 November 2010


The first Native American to arrive in Europe may have been a woman brought to Iceland by the Vikings more than 1,000 years ago, a study by Spanish and Icelandic researchers suggests.

The findings boost widely-accepted theories, based on Icelandic medieval texts and a reputed Viking settlement in Newfoundland in Canada, that the Vikings reached the American continent several centuries before Christopher Columbus travelled to the "New World."

Spain's CSIC scientific research institute said genetic analysis of around 80 people from a total of four families in Iceland showed they possess a type of DNA normally only found in Native Americans or East Asians.

"It was thought at first that (the DNA) came from recently established Asian families in Iceland," CSIC researcher Carles Lalueza-Fox was quoted as saying in a statement by the institute.

"But when family genealogy was studied, it was discovered that the four families were descended from ancestors who lived between 1710 and 1740 from the same region of southern Iceland."

The lineage found, named C1e, is also mitochondrial, which means that the genes were introduced into Iceland by a woman.

"As the island was virtually isolated from the 10th century, the most likely hypothesis is that these genes corresponded to an Amerindian woman who was brought from America by the Vikings around the year 1000," said Lalueza-Fox.

The researchers used data from the Rejkjavik-based genomics company deCODE Genetics.
He said the research team hopes to find more instances of the same Native American DNA in Iceland's population, starting in the same region in the south of the country near the massive Vatnajokull glacier.

The report, by scientists from the CSIC and the University of Iceland, was also published in the latest edition of the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.
The journal said 75 to 80 percent of contemporary Icelanders can trace their lineage to Scandinavia and the rest to Scotland and Ireland.

But the C1e lineage is "one of a handful that was involved in the settlement of the Americas around 14,000 years ago.

"Contrary to an initial assumption that this lineage was a recent arrival (in Iceland), preliminary genealogical analyses revealed that the C1 lineage was present in the Icelandic mitochondrial DNA pool at least 300 years ago.

"This raised the intriguing possibility that the Icelandic C1 lineage could be traced to Viking voyages to the Americas that commenced in the 10th century," said the journal.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Green Shoots / Irish Roots; Eneclann's Digitisation Business Expansion Plans

Eneclann, a leading provider of online genealogical data, will be raising funds from a Business Expansion Scheme {"BES") which focuses on a key component of Ireland's future economic recovery, HERITAGE. This Heritage is shared by the Irish Diaspora of 90 million people who claim Irish descent and represents a proven global economic success story. Eneclann will use the funds attracted through the BES to increase the pace of digitisation of Irish records, thereby increasing the digital assets of the company. They also plan to introduce a course on digitisation, drawing on their expertise to help other organisations in Ireland.

Eneclann believes that a well placed investment in the creation of digital assets, with a non-depreciable value and capability of generating continuous cash flow, would leave the company in a very strong position as the market continues to develop over the coming years.

Eneclann has 12 years of successful trading activity and an annual turnover of over euro 1 million + over the past six years. It is an accredited Trinity College Dublin campus company and has established partnerships with the National Archives of Ireland, National Archives UK (Kew), and Enterprise Ireland.

To find out more, please visit or email

Northerm Ireland Wills Online

November 30, 2010

Northern Ireland Wills Online

From Dick Eastman's

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has indexed and digitized early wills from the three District Probate Registries of Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry between the years 1858 and 1900.

Speaking on 30 November 2010 about the Wills application, Culture Minister Nelson McCausland said: “One of PRONI’s key goals is to digitise key cultural resources and make them easily available to a worldwide audience. This free of charge application will therefore be of enormous assistance to anyone trying to trace their genealogical roots and will be of particular help to those wanting to begin their research from the comfort of their own home.

“In recent years there has been a huge increase in people researching their family history and trends have shown that a large number of these people are from outside the UK. I am sure this new application will be of particular interest to this international audience.”

Wills are one of the most used archival sources by both family historians and solicitors. The images have been linked to an existing searchable index which allows researchers to view details such as name, dates and the abstracts taken from the original entries.

Future digitisation plans include the addition of further pre-1858 will indexes to the PRONI Name Search facility. These indexes from Northern Ireland dioceses, will list the names of people who had wills probated as early as the seventeenth century – pushing the possibility of family and local history research further back in time.

Looking ahead to next year’s opening of the new PRONI headquarters, the Minister added: “I recently had the privilege to visit the stunning new PRONI headquarters at Titanic Quarter. This much needed £30million investment in our cultural infrastructure was provided by the Northern Ireland Executive. The new state-of-the-art facility will open to the public early next year and will protect Northern Ireland’s irreplaceable archives in a safe and secure environment.”

The wills are online at