7th December 2011
5th Annual CIGO Award for Excellence in Genealogy presented to Glasnevin Trust
The 5th Annual CIGO Award for Excellence in Genealogy was presented by Jimmy Deenihan, T.D., Minister for Arts Heritage and the Gaeltacht to John Green, chairman of Glasnevin Trust, in the Ascot Suite, Alexander Hotel, Fenian Street, Dublin 2 at 6.00pm on Wednesday, 30th November 2011. The presentation was followed by the CIGO AGM and a lecture entitled "Glasnevin Trust - Preserving the past for future generations" by Mervyn Colville.
Click here for photographs of the presentation (opens in new window).
At the AGM, outgoing chairman Paddy Waldron delivered the chairman's annual report which highlighted CIGO's campaigns and successes during the past year. Paddy was re-elected chairman for the coming year.
19th November 2011
Merger of National Archives, National Library and Irish Manuscripts Commission back on government agenda
This week, the Irish government announced a public service reform programme which aims to rationalise 48 State agencies or quangos by the end of 2012. The list of State agencies being rationalised includes "National Archives and the Irish Manuscripts Commission to be merged into the National Library while retaining separate identities". Writing in today's Irish Times, Fintan O'Toole doesn't seem to believe that this proposed merger is about providing a single new state-of-the-art building where genealogists and other researchers will find all the records that they need to consult in one place and where there will be enough storage space for both the National Archives and National Library, whose current premises are both now bursting at the seams.
10th November 2011
Irish-language biographies Web site www.ainm.ie launched by Minister of State for the Gaeltacht
Dinny McGinley TD, Minister of State for the Gaeltacht, launched this new Irish-language biographies Web site at the National Library on Kildare Street, Dublin, earlier this month. Each of the featured 1,693 lives has made a unique contribution to the Irish language over the last five centuries. The project has been developed by Fiontar at Dublin City Univeristy, in collaboration with Cló Iar-Chonnacht, and Diarmuid Breathnach and Máire Ní Mhurchú, authors of Beathaisnéis, the nine-volume series of biographies published by An Clóchomhar (1986-2007). This work is a valuable research tool comprising almost 1,700 biographies from 1560 to the present day, many containing detailed genealogical information on their subjects. New biographies will be added to the Web site as these become available and existing biographies will be updated as new research and fresh information emerges.
10th November 2011
CIGO Chairman at County Clare tourism event in London
CIGO Chairman Paddy Waldron, who represents the Clare Roots Society, and Ruth Minogue, chairperson of East Clare Heritage, were part of a 40-strong team from Clare, led by former rugby international and BBC TV rugby analyst Keith Wood, which travelled to London this week in an effort to harness the goodwill of Clare's UK diaspora in promoting tourism. The London to Clare event at the Copthorne Tara Hotel highlighted the facilities available to tourists who travel to Clare, including those in search of their roots in the county. Visitors to the event were provided with information on organisations such as the Clare County Library and Clare Roots Society.
24th October 2011
Dublin 1911, edited by Catriona Crowe of the National Archives of Ireland and published by the Royal Irish Academy, will be launched on Wednesday, 26th October 2011. It will give people a chance, through rich illustration, fold-out census reports and previously unpublished photographs to experience the Dublin of 1911.
Catriona Crowe, along with Paul Rouse, was also a major contributor to the '1911 Census' episode of the History Show with Myles Dungan on RTÉ Radio 1, originally broadcast on Census Day, 10th April 2011, which won the gold award for a specialist speech programme at the 2011 PPI Radio Awards dinner (sponsored by Phonographic Performance Ireland) on 7th October last.
24th October 2011
Death of Dr. Aodhagán Roddy
CIGO would like to express its sympathy to the Western Family History Association and to the Roddy family on the sudden death of the WFHA's vice-chair and former chair Dr. Aodhagán Roddy, which took place last Friday.
24th October 2011
Back To Our Past
CIGO had a stand at the successful Back To Our Past show which took place in the Industries Hall at the RDS in Dublin over the past weekend, as did four of its constituent organisations (APGI, IFHS, IGRS and NIFHS).
7th October 2011
Minister proposes Ireland’s biggest ever tourism initiative
At the Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin today, Leo Varadkar T.D., Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport announced ‘The Gathering’, which will be a year-long event in 2013 where people at home and abroad can play a part in the country’s recovery, potentially bringing 325,000 extra visitors and providing a major economic stimulus. It will showcase Irish arts, sports, food, learning, genealogy and family heritage, science and hospitality. For more information, click here.
6th October 2011
Cape Town FHS publishes latest newsletter
The Cape Town Family History Society has published the September edition of its regular newsletter. You can access the PDF version of it here: CTFHS News September 2011
5th October 2011
Minister launches further Catholic parish records at irishgenealogy.ie
Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht yesterday launched further Roman Catholic records of Baptism, Marriage and Burial for County Cork and Dublin City. Speaking at the launch in the National Library of Ireland, the Minister acknowledged that there a few areas for which indexes to nineteenth century parish records are still not available online, either free or pay-per-view. In particular, he mentioned large parts of County Clare and of County Monaghan. Further records from County Monaghan (Diocese of Clogher) are due to be added to irishgenealogy.ie in the near future.
22nd September 2011
Ancestry releases Irish records to subscribers
It was announced yesterday that the following collections of Irish records have been made available to subscribers to the ancestry.com and ancestry.co.uk websites:
- Ireland, Catholic Parish Marriages and Banns, 1742-1884
- Ireland, Catholic Parish Baptisms, 1742-1881
- Ireland, Civil Registration Deaths Index, 1864-1958
- Ireland, Civil Registration Births Index, 1864-1958
- Ireland, Civil Registration Marriages Index, 1845-1958
- Ireland, Births and Baptisms, 1620-1911
- Ireland, Catholic Parish Deaths, 1756-1881
The Irish Times reported today that the National Library of Ireland is investigating whether this release of transcriptions of 433,560 historical Irish Catholic parish records, dating from between 1742 and 1884, which were part of a collection assembled by a private company on behalf of the National Library of Ireland, infringes on its legal rights to the microfilms behind the records.
Many of the other Irish records now released by Ancestry are already freely available at familysearch.org. Ancestry has answered the much-repeated prayers of familysearch.org users by allowing searches for all those listed on a particular page in the marriage register. For example, this allows researchers who have found a married couple in a census return a good chance of identifying the wife's maiden name.
8th September 2011
Minister arranges Meeting on Genealogical Records
CIGO's 2011 Chairman Paddy Waldron was among 37 invited speakers scheduled to speak on behalf of 31 groups involved in genealogy at a Meeting on Genealogy Records held in the National Library of Ireland on 7th September 2011. The Meeting was arranged by Mr. Jimmy Deenihan T.D., Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and convened by the Arts & Cultural Institutions Unit of his Department. The meeting, which ran from 10am until after 5pm, was chaired by retired High Court judge Bryan McMahon and the Minister was in attendance for the whole day. Some groups divided their allotted ten minutes between two speakers, so that well over 40 people had opportunities to address the gathering.
The speakers included CIGO's patron John Grenham and council members Gerry P. Cahill (representing the Irish Family History Society) and Rosaleen Underwood (representing AEL Data). Other CIGO constituent organisations represented were the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (Paul Gorry and Helen Kelly), Clare Roots Society (Paddy Waldron) and the Irish Genealogical Research Society (Máire MacConghail, who also spoke on behalf of the Irish Manuscripts Commission).
Including observers, the total attendance at the meeting was close to 100 people. Observers present at the meeting ranged from Des Clarke, CIGO's PRO and former chairman and secretary, to representatives of the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference.
The Minister's invitation to the various groups to make presentations on their role and policy approach to genealogical records provided the opportunity for an open, frank and often robust exchange of views. Many speakers expressed the hope that this unique and unprecedented meeting would be the first step to the resolution of various differences that have impeded progress towards a common objective in the world of Irish genealogy over the years. John Grenham set the tone by admitting that he knows where a lot of the bodies were buried during genealogical debates and disputes over the years, but promising not to dig them up in public. Recurring themes included the difficulty in measuring the impact on tourist numbers visiting Ireland of the provision of genealogical records online; whether records should be placed online free or on a pay-per-view basis; the inadequacies of the genealogical services provided by the General Register Office; the high charges levied by the Irish Family History Foundation for transcripts of entries from parish registers and other records; and the relative importance of church records and census records. Many people spoke passionately on all sides of these arguments.
Mark Henry of Tourism Ireland invited those interested in participating in the Tourism Ireland stand at the next Who Do You Think You Are exhibition in London to make contact with him. Fintan Mullen of the Ulster Historical Foundation (a member of the Irish Family History Foundation) announced the availability of records at a discounted price of 85 pence for bulk purchasers and that profits from sales are being reinvested in digitising parish records up to 1930. Stephen Curran of the Ordnance Survey of Ireland demonstrated the online historic map archive, which is now available free. Various companies discussed the latest standards for protection, conservation, scanning and digitisation of historical records. Another speaker, who will remain nameless, generated looks of horror by producing an example of an original 19th century parish register from a backpack and waving it in front of the audience! The Leitrim County Librarian Seán Ó Súilleabháin revealed that printed indexes to Co. Leitrim parish registers were once freely available on the open shelves in Leitrim County Library, but were withdrawn in order to reduce the drain on staff resources caused by the number of genealogical queries being directed to library staff.
After the lunch break, Maeve McKeever of Fáilte Ireland estimated that genealogy brought approximately 88,000 visitors to Ireland in 2010. Stephen Scarth of PRONI put genealogy's position as the poor relation in context by comparing the cost of PRONI's recently-opened state of the art facility in Belfast (GBP 30 million) with that of the nearby Titanic Signature Building (GBP 97 million). Antoinette O'Bryen of the Clare Heritage Centre quoted a satisfied member of the diaspora who told her after she arranged for him to rent the old cottage on the Atlantic coast that his ancestor emigrated from in the 1860s that "genealogy is all about looking out the same half-door at the same sunset that the ancestors looked at 150 years ago." Joe Whelan got one of his first opportunities to promote the irishgathering.ie website, an example of a concept mentioned by Paddy Waldron in his earlier presentation. Kieran Feely announced that the GRO is currently working on preparations to get its mothballed digitisation project restarted, but could not say how long it would take to complete. Michael Byrne of the Offaly Historical & Archaeological Society speculated on how much might have been raised by charging one euro for access to a 1901 or 1911 census return, but not on how much might have been raised by charging one euro rather than five euro to look at a transcript of a parish register entry. All speakers avoided the technical economic terms like "price elasticity" and "externality" for the difficult problems being discussed.
Fíona Tipple of the Genealogical Society of Ireland summed up the debate nicely by asking the audience to consider whether genealogical records should be considered a national resource to be viewed in context, benefitting the many; or as a product to be viewed on a pay-per-view basis, benefitting the few. John Grenham put a strong case for moral generosity and our moral duty to reconnect with the diaspora. He encouraged the institutions intent on charging for access to records to focus on the needs of the researcher, not on the needs of the institution. He urged that the IFHF database of entries transcribed from parish registers be retrofitted to the proposed digital images of the NLI parish register microfilms; several IFHF representatives had earlier pleaded that plans to put the NLI microfilms online be scrapped. The proceedings ended with a passionate address by Catriona Crowe of the National Archives, who pleaded guilty, unapologetically, to being one of the ideologically driven people who believes that our genealogical records are part of our national cultural patrimony and should be freely available to all researchers, both genealogists and those involved in all other forms of scholarship from history to anthropology.
Click here to read an outline of the presentation made by CIGO chairman Paddy Waldron
1st May 2011
Two more organisations join CIGO as associate
Family Histories Society recently became an associate member of
CIGO. Also recognising the important work CIGO undertakes in the world
of Irish genealogy, the UK's Federation
of Family History Societies has also joined as an associate member.
The support of both organisations for CIGO's work is much appreciated.
There are now thirteen full constituent members of CIGO and twenty overseas
President of APGI praises CIGO's work on 1926 census release
In a letter to The Irish Times, Paul Gorry, immediate past-President
of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland, recently
praised CIGO's work in obtaining a commitment from the new Heritage
Minister, Jimmy Deenihan TD, to release redacted data from the 1926
census of Ireland. You can read Paul's comments
Your 2011 Census Form
The 2011 Census of Population of Ireland is due to take place next Sunday night, April 10, 2011.
The following useful advice is being circulated by the Clare Roots Society, one of CIGO's constituent organisations:
Don't forget that the information which you record on this year's Census form will not be released to genealogical researchers for 100 years - i.e. until the year 2111. Your future descendants may be as impatient then as today's researchers are impatient now to see the returns of the 1921 census (which never took place due to the War of Independence) or those of the 1926 census (which the new Irish government has promised to release during its term of office).
We strongly advise you all to keep a photocopy of your own 2011 Census form for family archival purposes.
This may be a suitable place to remind anyone with relatives in Scotland
that the 1911 Census of Scotland is due to be released tomorrow, Tuesday,
April 5, 2011. See Scotland's
Genealogical Research Society celebrates 75th anniversary...
Congratulations to the Irish Genealogical
Research Society which held a reception to mark the 75th anniversary
of the founding of the Society in the National Library of Ireland today.
The event was hosted by the President of the IGRS, Fergus Gillespie,
a former Chief Herald of Ireland. The guest of honour was the President
of Ireland, Mrs Mary McAleese. During the reception President McAleese
was presented with an illuminated certificate to record her election
as a Fellow from the IGRS. The Fellowship was awarded in recognition
of her contribution to Irish genealogy at home and abroad. The full
text of the President's speech can be read here.
new Heritage Minister confirms desire to give access to Irish 1926 Census
Earlier in the day the Chairman of
the IGRS, Steven Smyrl, had met with Jimmy Deenihan TD, the new Minister
for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht Affairs, to present him with a portfolio
of documents relating to his genealogy. The Irish Times newspaper
was invited to a closed photo session with the Minister who afterwards
held an exclusive interview with Irish Times journalist Ronan McGreevy.
The Minister confirmed his intention to release the 1926 census, in
redacted form, possibly as early as later this year and spoke about
how useful it will be to genealogists and in boosting the economy through
the full report and photograph see The
Irish Times and further photograph on APGI
archival collections now available to search online
Irish Archives Resource is new website
which will, for the first time in Ireland, enable catalogues of Ireland's
archival collections to be searched online. The website includes records
of current and defunct government and local government agencies, individuals,
landed estates, clubs, societies, trade unions, religious organisations,
cultural and political organisations etc.
about the website, Brian McGee, archivist at the Cork City and County
Archives said, “This website is an important step in making Ireland's
unique records more widely available in Ireland and internationally.
The success of the site depends on its use by archivists and other contributors.
We would like to see as many people using the site as possible and hope
to have collections from up to 30 repositories featured on the site
by the close of 2011”.
was funded by the Heritage Council. Speaking about the project, Heritage
Council Chief Executive Michael Starrett said, “the IAR website
marks a major step forward in making our archival legacy both more visible
and accessible. The Heritage Council is delighted to have partnered
with the ARA Ireland, the representative body for professional Archivists,
in achieving this long held goal.”
now available online consist of both original and unique records and
documents in a variety of forms including textual, visual, cartographic,
aural, and electronic. The collections include records of Cork
City and County Archives , Donegal
County Archives , Fingal
County Archives , Galway
County Council Archives , Guinness
Archives , Irish
Film Archive , Louth
County Archives Service , NUI
Galway John Hardiman Library Archives , Public
Record Office of Northern Ireland , Royal
College of Physicians of Ireland , University
College Cork Boole Library Archives , and Waterford
County Archives Service .
to the launch of this new website researchers whether professional academics,
local historians or genealogists would have had to contact each repository
separately to find out details of their archival holdings. Now using
this website they can enter their search terms on the site and details
of where relevant material is preserved will appear.
Census now in the new Irish administration's 'Programme for Government'
Following the recent
Irish general election Fine Gael has become the largest party in the
Dáil, and has agreed to form a coalition government with the
Labour Party, which will take office on Wednesday 9 th March. CIGO is
delighted to announce that the new ‘Programme for Government' negotiated
between the two parties includes a commitment to release the Irish 1926
census. Given the destruction of Ireland's nineteenth century census
returns in the conflagration which consumed Ireland's Public Record
Office in 1922, access to the 1926 census returns has been an objective
long pursued by CIGO. Although lobbied by both CIGO and the Genealogical
Society of Ireland, the outgoing Fianna Fáil-led government never
really grasped the compelling arguments in favour of allowing access
to these census records. By contrast CIGO found Fine Gael's spokesman
on Tourism, Culture and Sport, Jimmy Deenihan TD, very receptive to
the arguments, which he explained reinforced the party's own policy
development in relation to the stimulation of roots tourism. And he
went on to say that this fitted well with their plan to develop in Dublin
"a national archives and genealogy quarter, providing easy
access to archives and tapping into an area of cultural tourism which
is of huge interest to the vast Irish Diaspora".
Of course researchers
shouldn't hold their breath on this issue as it will take time to prepare
the necessary legislation to amend the Statistics Act 1993
and, in line with Fine Gael policy, to formulate wording to allow for
the redaction of so-called “sensitive” data. Co-operation will likely
be the key to final success and CIGO's supporters can be sure that we
will continue to follow through on our effective lobbying by working
with all other interested parties to ensure delivery
of this important source for Irish genealogy.
Gael party launches its General Election Manifesto with reference to
the 1926 Census
long running campaign to gain access to the 1926 census of Ireland moved
a step closer to a successful conclusion today. On issues of interest
to genealogists, CIGO's long held policy of engaging in meaningful dialogue
with political parties and government departments, offices and agencies
has once again proved its unquestionable worth.
11am today the Irish political party Fine
Gael launched its General Election Manifesto in which it made reference
to an early release of the 1926 census of Ireland and the potential
it contains for roots tourism. The relevant section reads: “Genealogy
Tourism: Fine Gael will examine the feasibility of releasing
the 1926 census to stimulate genealogy tourism.” Following
the recent extensive article about the issue penned by CIGO's
Steven Smyrl for The
Times CIGO was invited to indepth discussions with
Jimmy Deenihan TD, Fine Gael's spokesman on Tourism, Culture and Sport
about the tourism potential locked away in the 1926 census. It transpired
that the early release of these census returns was an issue already
under consideration from within the Fine Gael party and the input of
CIGO helped both parties to flesh out the idea and look at ways that
might be used to bring the release about.
modern census records the data noted in 1926 was extremely brief. For
each person the following information was noted: name, age, sex, religion,
ability to read and write, occupation, marital status, place of birth,
relationship to head of household and any infirmities. Also, where relevant,
statistics were noted about duration of marriage and number of children
born. The new technologies rolled out over the past decade now mean
that with relative ease, and comparatively little cost, extensive records
series can now be digitised and indexed and any sensitive data redacted.
Allowing time for the processing of the data, in a redacted form the
1926 census could be released as early as 2012. Access to sensitive
data and to data about people born less than 100 years ago will no doubt
prove to be a sticking point with the Central Statistics Office but
CIGO concurs with Fine Gael that redaction of such data will prove to
be the answer.
polls consistently show that Fine Gael is likely to lead the incoming
government and might even have enough seats to govern without recourse
to a coalition. Read CIGO's Briefing
statement on the 1926 census of Ireland.
Irish Times Carries an Opinion Piece on Irish 1926 Census
On Monday, 3rd January,
the high profile 'Irishman's Diary' column of The Irish Times
carried an opinion piece by CIGO's Steven Smyrl about the 1926 census.
Steven put forward the view that there is huge tourism potential currently
locked away in the 1926 census and that the data cannot be described
as sensitive in the context of data captured in modern census records.
He went on to suggest that if the political will exists the returns
could be made available as soon as 2012. A compromise with the Central
Statistics Office could, if need be, involve redaction of data relating
to living people. Various members of the public have been in contact
with CIGO on foot of the piece noting the accuracy and compelling nature
of the case Steven has set out. Steven's article represents a yet further
advancement of CIGO's long-running campaign to gain public access to
You can read the full Irishman's
Diary article here.