Applying a lesson

A week or two ago, one of my Facebook friends (thank you whoever you were!) recommended this post by Mary from Searching for Stories blog: Spreadsheet Magic – Importing Data from Ancestry.com. Do go and look at the post, and Mary’s many other fantastic posts. I thought I knew a bit about Excel but it seems not.

This week I thought I’d try Mary’s strategies on my Irish research to see how it worked. Following her steps this is what I did.

Sign into Ancestry.com with your own subscription or at a library near you.

My Step 1:

Bring up the search dialogue box and I used the Birth, Marriage and Death records option.

I entered no names and no dates. In the place of birth I simply put “Clare, Ireland”. As I’m mainly interested in those who emigrated to Australia I put “Australia” against the place of death. I don’t care which state so I wanted to pick up as much info as possible. I also ticked the exact box for both, as I didn’t want anything random to come up. Finally, I chose records from Australia as I’m expecting that is the most likely source of useful information -though perhaps not exclusively. I made sure I had the maximum entries per page (50).

import into Excel

Of course, as with all record searches you need to understand (1) what records might include both birth and death information and (2) what records are held within the overall database. As it happens, for me this means a heavy focus on New South Wales. This will be only one component of my research strategies.

Following Step 2, I copied the very long URL into tinyURL.com to give me a short link.See what a difference it makes – from 399 characters down to 26! Thanks TinyURL!

make tiny

Step 3: I opened a blank excel spreadsheet, chose the Data tab and clicked “from web” on the left hand side. In here I pasted my Tiny URL, pressed “Go” to bring up the data, then ticked the box to the left of the data. (in this I’m following Mary’s instructions exactly). Then click “Import”. Voila!

excel import from web

A dialogue asks you where you want to paste it. I think it’s safest to put each batch into a separate page within the spreadsheet. You can do what you want with it later. With some whizzing and whirring, the data is imported to Excel.

Next step

I named that page “Clare no YOB page 1” (my first 50 details)

I repeated the process until I captured all 304 entries. This was pretty tedious I have to agree.

Step 5:

I deleted all the “padding” info at the top and bottom except the line that said items 1-50/51-100 etc.

Repeated this for all six of my page tabs.

Step 6:

As I wanted the names with other data in separate columns beside it, I dragged and dropped “spouse” “birth” and “death” into separate columns for each page, making sure each page was formatted the same.

Step 7:

Collated data extract 2

Extract from my collated spreadsheet of data. Notice the variable information.

I copied each page into one consolidated page so that entries 1-304 followed each other sequentially. I still have a problem with it because if I sort by name it will do so by first name so I will probably end up putting in another column with just surname to sort.

Similarly, the dates will sort by day rather than year and place by the first part of the entry. Is this enough for me? I will probably live with the dates, but will put in a column for state so I can see the dispersal patterns for their migration.

Summary

Was this helpful? Did it save time? Yes, I found it very helpful and I certainly got faster as I went along. The big benefit though is that it saves any transcription errors on your part (but not by the first indexer).

Mary has said the process works with Family Search but I haven’t tried that. I did try it with Trove and my “County Clare” + Obituary search. It worked okay but would require more fiddling with, and as there are MANY entries, there’d be lots of repeating of all the steps.

I tried it this morning with My Heritage but it kept giving me error messages which included that I needed to sign in, which I already was with my current subscription.

Similarly I tried FindMyPast but their search options don’t allow me to have the Clare + Australia option (or am I missing something?), so that didn’t work.

However, I believe this is a super-helpful process for anyone looking for FANs (Friends, Associates, Neighbours) or those of us working on One Place Studies projects.

thanks

MY THANKS!

Once again my very sincere thanks to Mary for sharing her expertise, permitting me to publish how I used her strategies, and giving me a new skill. I encourage everyone to check out her blog.

 

 

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A confusion of Callaghans

In the coming weeks I’ll be thinking out loud on this blog about my research plans for an upcoming trip to Ireland.  One of my key objectives is to get to understand the confusion of Callaghans from Courtown, Parish of Ballygarrett, County Wexford.

When I wrote about this family previously (here and here), the digitised Catholic Parish Registers had not been released by the National Library of Ireland, nor indexed by Ancestry and Find My Past. This advance has proven to be heaven-sent for me, while it still leaves lots of gaps in my understanding of the different branches of this family. I am fortunate, though, that the registers do cover early years and also include burials, something that can’t be taken for granted with Catholic records. So the periods available to me are: baptisms November 1828 – February 1863, marriages August 1828 – November 1865, and burials August 1830 – April 1857 and October 1865 to April 1867. This then leads directly to the civil BDM registers, but I’d still like to see more parish registers.

Specifically, I still want to find the answers to these questions:

  1. Who were the parents of David Callaghan, father of my Mary McSherry nee Callaghan?
  2. Where was he born, given his baptism is not shown in the parish registers? Perhaps his mother was from another parish and he was baptised there, but even so he is not turning up in the indexes.
  3. Who was his wife? Later civil registrations show her name as Anne Callaghan, but was this actually her maiden name or was it her married name?
  4. Where and when was my great-grandmother, Mary Callaghan (later Sherry/McSherry) born and baptised (c1860)? She also does not appear in the Ballygarrett registers.
  5. How is David Callaghan related to the other Callaghans in Courtown Harbour and nearby townlands (Edward, John, Michael)?

There are a couple of complicating factors with these families:

  1. A few marriages are not in the Ballygarrett registers implying either (i) they were possibly married in the Church of Ireland or (ii) more likely, were married in another Catholic parish.
  2. The Callaghan men were fishermen and seamen. This means they may have met their wives some distance from Courtown (affecting marriage locations) and they may have met their deaths at sea (hence no burial records).
  3. Because of this it makes it difficult to determine the naming patterns with confidence: are there children lurking in another parish?
  4. Like so many other families of the era, names are recycled with monotonous frequency making it difficult to know which is which, as well as to which branch they belong.

Search objectives

  1. Look at the Griffith’s Valuation Revision lists at the Dublin Valuation Office to see the land transfers for Callaghans in the Courtown area. (I did order in the film from Family Search but somehow it boomeranged straight back).
  2. Search for more detail on the BDMs in the civil registers.
  3. Visit Courtown to see the lay of the land, and the houses they lived in, which still appear to be standing.
  4. Visit the Ardamine cemetery and also see if there are traces of the earlier cemetery (? At Riverchapel?)
  5. Check if parish registers are available at Wexford Archives for periods beyond 1865.

The following is my summary of the Callaghans in the parish so far, based on parish registers and civil registrations (spelling variants include Callahan, Calahan):

John Callahan & Bridget Quinn married c1830s  – Courtown Harbour

Children are Edward x 2; John (1833-1845 with gaps)

Patrick Callahan & Mary Kinsella (various spellings) married 1832 – Glyn

Children: Mary, Brigid, John (1832-1846 with gaps)

Pat Callahan & Nancy Bulger married 1833 – townland?

Children: Ann & Eliza (twins?) (1833)

Patrick Callahan & Anne Ryan married 1834 – Harbour

Children: Elisabeth & Mary (1834-1839 incl gaps)

Edward Callahan & Anne Reynolds married 1838 – Riverchapel

Children: Brigid (1838)

William Byrne & Mary Callaghan married 1847 – Harbour

Children: Henry (1850)

Martin Leary & Mary Callaghan married 1843 – Glynn

Children: ?

Tentatively my next generation:

John Callaghan & Catherine Cullen marr date unk – Harbour

Children: John, Patrick, Elisabeth (married James Redmond). (1833-1845 with a big gap).

David Callaghan #1 & Anne nee Callaghan? – married date & place unk – Harbour

Children: Patrick (?), Mary (later Sherry/McSherry); Ellen; Bridget (unm); David #2 (married Kinsella). (early 1860s – 1874 with gaps)

Michael Callaghan & Catherine Sculey – married date unk – townland ?

Children: Elizabeth Susan (1866)

Edward Callaghan & Anne Naughter – married 1870

Children: James, Elizabeth (1871, 1872)

Third generation identified

Patrick Callaghan (son of David #1) & Kate Unk(possibly marriage in Dungarvan 1890/91)

Child: David #3 (1893) married Mary Kinsella 1908

Elizabeth Callaghan (dau of John gen 2) & James Redmond – married

Children: Mary, Thomas, Catherine, John, Elizabeth. (1900-1910)

Some of the gaps in these families may be due to twins or still births. My great-grandmother, Mary Callaghan McSherry, gave birth to two sets of twins.

There are also seem to be two clusters of Callaghan families – one lot in Courtown Harbour and another in the townland of Glyn.

Earlier generations:

The earliest parish register entries for burials include a handful of Callaghans who were born pre-1800. No doubt these include the parents of the 1st generation above, but who were born before the registers commenced. They include

Bridget/Brigid (1755-1835)(Glyn)

Michael (1770-1838) (Glyn)

Betty (1788-1848) (Harbour)

Anne (1795-1870)

Elizabeth (1802-1873)

Patrick (1802-1876)

John (1815-1885)

And whose son is Edward Callaghan (born circa April 1816) who joined the 81st Foot Regiment in 1840 at Gloucester? He stated his place of birth was Ardamine (civil) parish near the town of Gorey. After leaving in 1861, he intended to live in Bury, Lancashire.

Thanks for your patience in following my thinking. If anyone has ideas, or can see anomalies, I’d be pleased to hear from you.

Meanwhile here are a few tips that might be of help to someone:

Make sure you limit your search to “Ireland” before starting out. Check out the card catalogues and/or use these links to focus on the digitised versions of the parish registers.

Ireland Roman Catholic Parish Baptisms….(FindMyPast)

Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers (Ancestry)

Did you know you can search by place only so you only show the parish you’re looking at for a range of years but with no name? This will give you a list of all names indexed (however strangely) for the parish.

Family Memorabilia and Ireland

As the Irish people commemorate the centenary of the Easter Uprising this weekend it seemed an appropriate time to share a piece of family memorabilia relating to Ireland’s fight for independence and self-government.

This brochure was found among my Irish-born grandfather’s possession. Published in 1921, long after he’d been in Australia, we don’t know how he came by it. Perhaps they were commonly available to patriotic Irish Australians at the time.

Irish proclamation page 1

Irish proclamation page 2

Irish proclamation page 3

For all I know these items are common as dust but I find it interesting because it shows my grandfather’s on-going interest in his place of birth which he left as a six-month old infant.

Reviewing the Irish registers

The days have ticked along and I imagine many of us have crossed eyes from staring at the digitised Irish Catholic parish registers…I know I have!

Hasn’t the National Library of Ireland done us all proud? What a great program they have that even with all the Irish at home and abroad, the system didn’t crash, nor was it especially slow at the peak periods.

I’ve seen lots of Facebook comments on Irish county pages, celebrating discoveries and I’ve made a few of mine own…and still pondering some of the “missing”. But that’s the content for another post.

Meanwhile I thought I’d share some comments on using the program and then searching the registers themselves, even though the program is very intuitive and easy to follow. I recognise I may well be preaching to the converted here.

  • Try to restrain the urge to only search around a particular date: your ancestor may have “fibbed” about their age but more importantly you’ll get a feel for how that particular priest records events and a better sense of the parish. Were there lots of baptisms/marriages? Did they drop off after the Famine? Were there more marriages with consanguinity relationships? How common was your surname?
  • Check the sponsors as well to see whose events your family witnessed.
  • Some registers are only recorded in English, and some in a mix of Latin and English. You might find this dictionary handy to look up the English name for the Latin, or vice versa. eg William = Gulielmus; Dionysius + Dennis
  • Don’t assume the priest could spell accurately, or consistently! It’s common to see variations of the same Christian or surnames even in the same baptism/marriage entry. Sometimes it’s recorded in their formal name and others in their day-to-day nickname.
  • Try to get a better sense of the townland names for your parish. Use the Griffith Valuation page at AskAboutIreland to search for it. Sometimes to be tricky, the priest may even use a local name for the place…just be grateful that he’s narrowed their residence down more. In this case you may need to try a Google search: you may even find someone doing a One Place Study. This great site was recommended to me by one of my geminate, but I’ve forgotten which one …sorry!
  • Check there are not marriage entries interspersed with the baptisms: I’ve found several where marriages are on one page while baptisms are on the facing page.
  • Don’t forget that marriages usually occurred in the bride’s parish and sometimes the first child’s baptisms. You may need to search in adjacent parishes to find them, but also use the home-place of witnesses for clues. (Tip: Use the map of your county in the NLI program to see which ones are closest).
  • Burial is not a sacrament in the Catholic church (Extreme Unction is). Hence why you will not typically find your ancestors’ deaths in the registers…just give thanks when you do. If the Church of Ireland records exist it is worth checking them for burials.
  • All is not lost if the registers haven’t been digitised. Some may still be in the parish but you can also try these sources:
    • RootsIreland – make sure you go to the county and look at the registers which have been filmed (eg Broadford parish is missing in Clare). Just because the county is green on the map doesn’t mean they’re all there. This is a pay-to-view site after searching, but it’s also given me some events I haven’t found elsewhere.
    • Irish Times
    • FamilySearch: you might want to try this for clues on when your ancestor’s event may have been, remembering that after 1864 Irish civil registration applied to all (in theory at least). You could also check what microfilms are held in the Family History Library just to be sure they’re included in the NLI ones.
    • Consider that sometimes the priest annotated the baptism with the person’s marriage details when they occurred in another parish or overseas. It may be worth searching for this alone, or it may confirm you have the right person. A long shot, but worth a try.

So there you are my tips from sleuthing through some of the registers. I have so many more to follow up. Despite writing this a week or so ago, it’s only just going online now so I hope it’s of some use to people.

Are you going green?

Image from Shutterstock.com

Image from Shutterstock.com

Today is THE BIG DAY for Irish researchers as we’re all hoping our brick walls will tumble.

The calendar has turned to 8 July Down Under but it seems we’re going to be waiting until 9 July at midnight for the Big Event. What Big Event? The release of the National Library of Ireland’s digitised images of all the Catholic parish registers they hold!

The NLI has indicated that it is closed until 3:30pm Irish time, so I guess that’s when the site goes live. Which means that here in the Top End I’ll have to burn the midnight oil or wait until the morning. Tick, tock, tick, tock.

Image from Shutterstock.com

Image from Shutterstock.com

The really important thing to realise is the registers won’t be indexed (unless others decide to do it), and you won’t be able to just search for a name. Knowing the approximate location of your ancestors will be critical, and preferably the townland and/or parish.

If you’re an Aussie with Irish ancestors, have you looked at the name distributions via Griffith’s Valuations? Or do you have the details from the Australian Board Immigration Lists, parish registers, certificates or gravestones? I’m constantly amazed by how people have seeming brick walls when purchasing a certificate, or following up the event in the Australian parish, would answer the question.

Thanks to the microfilms from Family Search and LDS, I’ve already researched my O’Briens from Broadford and some of the Tullamore records for Sherry and Furlong. Both microfilms are pretty shocking I have to say….looked like they’ve been stored in a leaky barn with the chooks. Decades ago during a visit to Ireland, the priest let me work my way through the Gorey Wexford parish registers looking for my grandfather’s baptism and other Sherry family events.

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ireland_map.gif

Image from Wikimedia.

So what are my priorities going to be with this new release?

  1. Parishes around Courtown, Wexford (especially Riverchapel) to look for Callaghan family events. After all I also have a good DNA match from adjoining parishes.
  2. Arklow, Wicklow for details of the baptisms of Sherry children as their father worked down the Dublin to Wexford railway line.
  3. Dunlavin Parish, for Murphy and possibly Gavin.
  4. Ballymore Eustace, Kildare for Gavins – when I visited the parish I had no joy getting answers.
  5. St Nicholas of Myra, Dublin for Gavin (even though I have some from the Irish Genealogy website).
  6. St Catherine’s Parish, Dublin for Gavin (ditto above)
  7. Ferbane, Offaly in the hunt for the Furlong family prior to turning up in Tullamore
  8. Another look at the Tullamore, Offaly

Having completed all these (which will only take about five minutes…not!), I’ll have to start looking through the parishes where the Griffith’s Valuations show dense populations of Sherry families. After all, they are really my biggest brick wall, since James Sherry unobligingly disappeared after arrival in Australia. My bet is that his father’s name was Peter or Patrick since the sons’ names seem to follow traditional naming patterns.

So what is your priority list going to be?

Oh for a leprechaun to tell you where your Irish ancestors originated.

Will you be wearing green today?

If you find you’re having difficulties reading the registers you might want to read this post by Irisheyes Jennifer and this background information. Also don’t just look for specific births or marriages (there will be few instances of burials), make sure you have a look at the wider context of the parish. Not only will you get a better feel for how the priest recorded events, and come to understand his writing, you may also find your family as witnesses to other events, possibly indicating kin connections.

If your families were Church of Ireland, you might find this other site relevant.

Above all, let’s have fun with this fantastic release!

DNA Mysteries and Mazes

By Forluvoft (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Forluvoft (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Despite my blog drought and house obsession, I have spent some time on my DNA results which I only recently uploaded to Gedmatch. I had been ambivalent in the past but it is actually very useful, especially for Ancestry results which don’t come with as much info, and for which I have fewer matches (which may change with the spread of Ancestry testing).

Why is it that those with whom you have the best matches don’t reply to your emails?

I’ve resisted putting my family tree online anywhere but have slowly been adding one to Family Tree DNA. (hmm another “bitty” job) Instead I’ve been sending out a horizontal family tree, inspired by a post I read a little while ago. This lets me add my families’ places of origin as well as names.

Which raises another question: why do so few people think place is irrelevant? After all it provides a good clue on where families may originate and overlap especially when the match segment is too great to be explained by endogamous populations.

My best decision in terms of testing DNA has been to get some older generations tested. To my surprise my mother quickly agreed to be tested which helps me know which side of the family my matches occur on. Nora, my 3rd cousin once removed (on Dad’s side) in Sydney also agreed to be tested.

Both of these samples have turned up matches which don’t match me, which is very helpful.

Mum’s sample produced a good cousin match with a lady in Canada, her brothers and an Irish cousin. We’ve narrowed down our likely connection through my Callaghan family in Wexford. Like so many others we’re hanging out for the release of the Irish parish registers on 8 July…only a few days days to go!! (I think some people are in for a shock at just how challenging these images can be to read)

What is bewildering is this particular family’s matches is there’s also some overlap with Mr Cassmob’s DNA – even though his ancestors are not known to come from Wexford or other identified geographic overlaps.

And then there’s the matches with Nora’s DNA. One seems to link to the McNamara family from Broadford Co Clare. I know that my O’Briens were connected to this family in some way, because when one daughter married, the registers show she and her McNamara husband were third cousins.

And the match with Nora to someone with Co Kerry ancestry. Much will depend on where her Kerry family lived. If they were in the north it may not be such a stretch.

Image from wikipedia.

Image from wikipedia.

So DNA testing tends to bring even more questions than you had already it often seems. When you get an obvious match it’s all too easy but the very ones you want to know about are the ones that keep you scratching your head in confusion.

DNA can lead you on a merry trail through a maze to identify your distant kith and kin links.

Congress 2015: Inspirational Keynotes

Congress 2015One of the challenges of any conference is the selection of competing topics when inevitably we want to listen to at least two of the choices, if not more.

Perhaps that’s why Keynotes are so appealing – not only are the presentations by experts in their field but we don’t have to pick and choose.

I’m going to stick my neck out and make a couple of “Top of the Pops” Keynote picks from Congress 2015. My choice of these is based on how much a talk engages me and makes me think about big-picture issues or new strategies, rather than just about learning new techniques and tools. Others will have different selection criteria and a different response to the speaker’s content.

Mathew Trinca: Opening Keynote

For my money, Mathew Trinca’s Opening Keynote hit the spot for the start of Congress. Migration research is a passion of mine so the story of his own family’s migration within the broader span of history totally captured my imagination.

Mathew used his son’s growing understanding of his place within the family, and ultimately the community, as a template. He enjoined us to look at the dynamic between our personal, family and social history and broaden our own historical understanding. We need to understand “the clay between the joins (of our families and trees); and connecting to a wider understanding of history gives validity and meaning to what we do.”

My favourite quote from his talk: “migration is a journey of the mind as much of the body”. How very true this is for our migrating families, even more so perhaps for those early immigrants who never expected, or were able, to return “home”.

For further reading he recommended Romulus My Father by Raimond Gata and Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War by Joan Beaumont.

Have you looked at the National Museum’s 100 Defining Moments of our Nation’s History? Do you agree? What would you add from a personal perspective?

Josh Taylor: Connecting across past, present and future.

What an engaging talk Josh gave us about the joys of family history and how children can be bitten by the genie-bug. He won lots of points by telling us that “grandmas are great” as there were plenty of grandmas in the audience all too willing to agree with him!

He challenged us to include the younger generations in our enthusiasm for genealogy and family history. It’s about more than data: how do we share a rich family experience. We need to attract new members to our societies by diverse means: word of mouth, website, community outreach, social media and email.

Josh reminded us that not everyone suffered from the genealogy addiction: some were curious, others casual explorers or frequent explorers.

Quoteable quotes:  You will never find everything: It’s okay to be discouraged but you need to keep going. There is always another way.

Remember only 15% of available documents are online right now.

Twitter is an opportunity for 145 characters of your words to be left for your descendants.

Richard Reid: if you ever go across the sea to Ireland

Honestly, I could listen to Richard talk all day….you’ve heard me say before that he’s my history hero. Why? Yes, he’s an engaging and informative speaker but it’s more than that. Ever since I first read any of his research publications it is his “everyman” approach to history that totally appeals to me. He digs beneath the surface of “the great and the good” to uncover the story of the ordinary people lost to the grand span of traditional history.

Richard asked “how do you understand what it means to live through the Famine?” Similarly in a later talk he asked how can we understand the impact of WWI on families. Surely we can only gain these insights by reading as widely as we can around the subjects.

He reminded us that for the post-Famine emigrants from Donegal the people told their own tales of life when they were brought across to the UK from Ireland to report to the Select Committee on the Destitution of Ireland. I had read these over the years, but never realised the people had not been interviewed in situ: imagine how they felt when they arrived in the big city from the small settlements or clachans of Donegal.

Richard made the point that it is a furphy to think that all emigrants changed their ages on arrival. His Tipperary study showed that 98% tallied with the data from the baptismal registers. For those not familiar with his studies, this was the breakdown of Irish migration: 21% families; 4% couples; husband or wife 2%; alone 44%; widow/widower 6%; relatives in Australia 17%.

Michael McKernan: Writing War on the Home Front

Although I’ve read some of his work, I’d never hear Michael McKernan present and I found this keynote totally absorbing. He highlighted the transition to a greater interest in the “ordinary soldier” – a change from the cannon fodder of previous war.

Who could forget the pathos of the family who wrote personalised poetry every year for 30 years in memory of their son who was killed?

Or those who could not afford the fee the government charged families to engrave on their headstones? I had known this and it always outrages me that, despite the loss and sacrifice of their sons/husbands/brothers, relatives were once again imposed on to pay for their gravestone memorials.

Quotable quote: we need to avoid thinking of them as “just numbers”. We should never lose sight of the grief for each soldier – it was always personal and tragic and had consequences.

I truly think we were well-served by the Congress committee’s selection of keynotes in 2015. There were so many great offerings and these reflect my own interests…other delegates will have different choices.

FMP’s Clare Electoral Rolls are grand

fmpfridays-homeIn recent months Find My Past[i] have been releasing a wonderful and vast array of records each Friday under the banner of Findmypast Fridays (the image here is their logo for this promotion). It makes for pretty happy Fridays!

Last Friday’s releases included Irish Poverty Loans 1821-1874 and the Clare Electoral Rolls 1858-1989. Sadly I had no joy with the loans records but found the Electoral Rolls to be quite wonderful.

Although I’ve only dabbled slightly in the records I can see they have great potential for family history research and especially for One Place Studies research. Let me give you some examples of what I’ve discovered.

 Relevance to Personal Family History

  •  There is no Martin O’Brien listed on the Griffith’s Valuations 1852 at Ballykelly townland, Parish Kilseily (various spellings), Co Clare. The electoral rolls of 1864 (the earliest available for Broadford polling booth) tell me that Martin resides at Killaderry [O’Brien] townland but has land there and at Ballykelly, with a combined value of £15/5/-.
  • My own Michael O’Brien, at Ballykelly, must be on a property worth less than £10 as he is not listed.
  • Similarly the Michael O’Brien at Kilseily (Kilsiley) townland is also not listed.
  • On some occasions the entries refer to a person by their alias which can also be helpful in differentiating people of the same name.
  • The rolls may also offer clues as to when an ancestor died and who took over the property (again of use in comparison to the revision lists).
  • They may also offer clues to when emigration took place…always assuming the person is on the rolls in the first place.

 Relevance for One Place Studies

I think the real value of these records is shown with One Place Studies. For example I am interested in Broadford (Parish Kilseily) specifically, and East Clare generally.

Over time I can peruse the electoral rolls which are available, year by year, and determine the changes in occupancy and compare them to the Valuation Revisions available on microfilm through LDS Family History Libraries.

I can also:

  • track changes in the use of a particular place name or townland and its spelling and perhaps identify locally-used names.
  •  differentiate between two people with the same name by comparing where they reside and what land is listed for them.
  •  compare when one land owner’s land values increase over time eg my ancestor’s land at Ballykelly finally enables his son to gain a vote much later on.

Much of this research is time-consuming and tedious, but then research wasn’t meant to be easy all the time (to paraphrase on of Australia’s Prime Ministers, and appropriately, Irish poet and writer, George Bernard Shaw).

Cross-Comparisons

By cross-linking the original valuations, the revisions, the electoral rolls, church registers, and other records which come our way, we can slowly come to understand the economic standing of people within the community, differentiate people with the same name, and generally get a clearer picture of the community. I’ve been lucky to be given an “off the back of the truck” source of information from one of my blog readers which I can use in triangulating this information, but even without that bonanza, the Clare Electoral Rolls can perform wonders in clarifying our understanding of communities and our own families.

My guess is that once again those of us with Clare ancestry will be the envy of our genealogical peers!

Resources

And if you have Clare ancestry and are yet to discover the Clare County Library’s proliferation of wonderful genealogical resources and indexes (all cross-checked). You can look through their offerings here. While some counties have been curmudgeonly with records, Clare Library has made it so much easier for us to trace our Clare-born ancestors…they really have been trail blazers.

If you don’t have a personal subscription to Find My Past you may wish to keep an eye on their website and Facebook pages as they’ve had some good specials lately. Meanwhile don’t forget your local family history/genealogy society or reference library may well have a subscription you can access. Why not give it a go? I’ve had wonderful success over the years.

———–

[i] I have a world subscription to Find My Past.

Congress 2015: Dr Jeff Kildea and the Irish ANZACs

Jeff KIldea 001One of the social treats that’s ahead of us for Congress 2015, is the Congress Dinner in Parliament House. I’m really looking forward to it as the last time I had this opportunity I was too sick to attend. Apart from the fun of being in Parliament House for dinner we have a further treat in store which will be of interest to those with Irish in their families: Dr Jeff Kildea and the Irish Ambassador. I’ll let Jeff tell you a bit more about what will be happening.

Can you tell us a little more about what you and the Irish Ambassador have in store for us at the Congress dinner?

At the Congress dinner it is proposed to launch the Irish Anzacs database with a short presentation by myself as to what it is and how to access it.

What is the purpose of the Irish ANZAC database?

The Irish Anzacs Project was set up with funding from the Irish government with the aim of identifying all Irish-born who enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) during the First World War, or as close to all as is practicable, and of building a publicly accessible database containing information on each of them.

The database provides families with information on their Irish-born family members who served as soldier or a nurse in the Australian forces as well as providing statistical information to assist researchers understand the contribution of the Irish to the Australian war effort.

What triggered the development of the database and why focus on the Irish ANZACs?

Anzacs-and-Ireland-Cover-194x300The Irish Anzacs Project grew out of my book Anzacs and Ireland, which was published by UNSW Press in 2007. The book, which looks across the board at relations between Australian soldiers and Ireland, includes a chapter which discusses some statistics based on a small sample and tells the stories of a few of the Irish Anzacs. The project expands on that chapter by identifying all of the Irish Anzacs and providing more extensive and more reliable statistics.

How many names do you envisage being included in the database?

I estimate that there will be just over 6000 names in the database when the project is finished. The reason for the uncertainty is that not all of the service records are available on line and searchable by place of birth. So far we have identified just over 5740 Irish-born. The last 250 or so will be the hardest to find as they are contained within uncatalogued paper files that number in excess of 76, 000.

Are the men and women in the database Irish-born Australians or children of Irish immigrants?

The project is confined to those of Irish birth rather than of Irish descent for the pragmatic reason that, because AIF service records include place of birth, the Irish-born are capable of identification.

In the case of Australian-born soldiers it is not possible to identify from the records those with Irish parents or grandparents.

Are you planning to publish stories arising from the database?

While the database itself will contain the bare factual data concerning each of those in the database, one of the proposed spin-offs would be the publication of a book that tells the stories of a number of them. One idea being looked at is a book that includes a soldier from each of the 32 counties of Ireland.

What relevance does it have for genealogists?

The database will be a useful tool for genealogists tracing their Irish ancestors who served in the Australian forces during the war. The information in the database has been extracted from the service records held by the National Archives of Australia (NAA), and includes the following basic information: name, town and county of birth, date and place of enlistment, declared age, occupation, marital status, next of kin location, previous military service, religion, and the unit to which initially posted.

In addition, information has been added from sources maintained by the Australian War Memorial (AWM) such as the Roll of Honour (which records those who were killed or died as a result of their war service), the list of Honours and Decorations and the Australian Red Cross’s files relating to wounded and missing soldiers and to prisoners of war. Over time further information will be added from the Embarkation Roll and other sources. Links from the database to the NAA and AWM websites enable searchers to view the original records of the particular person they are researching. Ultimately the database will provide for each Irish-born soldier and nurse a comprehensive record of service in the AIF.

Is there any way in which the genealogy community can assist with information?

Most definitely. The database has been built from official records, which provide basic information, some of which is incorrect for one reason or another. In some cases it was the fault of the clerks compiling the records, but in others it was because the soldier gave incorrect information, eg. overstating or understating his age in order to enlist. Also, much of the information has been extracted from handwritten documents, so there are bound to be transcription errors. I would welcome feedback from members of the community who can help to fill out some of the basic information or who can help us identify and correct errors.

Will you give us the link for the database?

The database can be accessed at the following web address: http://repository.arts.unsw.edu.au.

Where can we read more about your research and activities?

My web page is http://jeffkildea.com/

Thanks for sharing that exciting news with us Jeff. I’m sure the gathered genies will find it of great interest in this centenary year of the ANZAC landing.

Sepia Saturday 258: Meeting the GI Cousin in Sydney WWII

Sepia Sat 258 This photo gave me an instant connection to some from my 3rd cousin’s photo albums. This particular cousin, Nora, has provided me with so much information over the years: old histories, photos of my Kunkel ancestors and our mutual O’Brien relatives. I owe her an enormous debt in terms of what she’s given to my research, which is why I asked her to launch my Kunkel family history book.

Cousins meeting at Circular Quay, Sydney.

Cousins meeting at Circular Quay, Sydney. The American with glasses is not a relation. The three on the left are 1st cousins, once removed to the American on the right and his first cousin Nellie Garvey.

During World War II, many American soldiers were stationed in Australia, and to be honest they weren’t all that popular with the Aussie men who were left behind for whatever reason: the snapshot phrase was that they were “overpaid, oversexed and over here“…a case of jealousy I fear. The girls were not so reluctant to meet these men, and many married and became War Brides, relocating to the United States after the war, some successfully and some not so much. I think the American GIs had rather more finesse when it came to women than the rather blunt Aussie style.

Two cousins meet: John Garvey (USA) and Reg Gill (Sydney).

Two cousins meet: John Garvey (USA) and Reg Gill (Sydney).

SCAN1298_edited-1However in some cases this wasn’t all about the whole “boy meets girl” story, it was about cousins meeting cousins from across the world. This particular branch of the O’Brien family descended from Honora Garvey nee O’Brien from Bodyke County Clare, one of my Mary (O’Brien) Kunkel’s siblings who remained in Ireland. However Honora’s children were, and are, part of the great Irish diaspora with some moving to the States and some moving to Australia. I wonder why, and how, they came to the conclusion regarding which place to choose.  No doubt the increasing literacy of the Irish population assisted this branch of the family to keep in touch over the miles and the years and across vast distances.

The Sydney siblings, Nora, Kevin and Marie with their aunty Nellie (in the hat).  I like the war bonds notice on the building.

The Sydney siblings, Nora, Kevin and Marie with their aunty Nellie (in the hat). I like the war bonds notice on the building. I was intrigued that Marie was the only woman wearing gloves as I’d have expected the to be de rigeur in this era. Those 1940s shoes were really not glamorous. I can’t quite figure out what Nora is carrying…is it just a purse?

The war provided a chance for the cousins to meet. On reflection it seems possible these photos were probably taken by the street photographers that have been the topic of blog posts lately…it just hadn’t occurred to me…we do tend to assume that cameras were as readily available then as they are today. On the other side of the Pacific, two other Aussie cousins were being welcomed by the American branches as they commenced their WWII Air Force service. These connections, many years after their grandmother, Honora Garvey, had died, reinforced the kinship links.

No one remembers what this guy's name was...will anyone recognise him I wonder?

No one remembers what this guy’s name was…will anyone recognise him I wonder?

So today we have a bunch of cousins and a ring-in GI mate, whose name is no longer recorded…I wonder if anyone will recognise him? Why not march over to see what other Sepians have made of this week’s prompt? And because I’ve found an image among Nora’s collection that suits last week’s image very well I’m going to post it here as well – I’d forgotten all about it.

The reverse says "Michael Keane and friend" circa 1900s. He would also have been 1st cousin to John Garvey.

The reverse says “Michael Keane and friend” circa 1900s. He would also have been 1st cousin to John Garvey in the photos above. Their chaps look as woolly as the dog in the featured image.

Sepia Saturday 257