We would like to know more about how and why you are involved in family history and would like your help. We will offer books to the value of €50 to three people who complete a survey on your research activities and needs. We will also pay the postage charge for the books chosen by the 3 winners (who will be randomly chosen from those completing the survey). The survey will take no more than 10 minutes.

Any information you provide will be kept entirely confidential and will only be used for compilation of statistics and unattributed comment. The results will help us to better understand your research needs and to plan future publications and services.

You can access the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/Flyleaf

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These notes are to support a talk entitled “Irish Catholic Church Records” by Dr Jim Ryan of Flyleaf Press at the ‘ Who Do You Think You Are Live’ show in Birmingham on Sat 18 Apr 2015.

Ireland has historically been a predominantly Catholic country. In 1861 78% of the Irish people were Catholic, and up to 95% in the provinces of Munster and Connaught . However, the earliest Catholic record is for 1670, and records are sparse until the early 19th century. Nevertheless Catholic Church records are the only evidence of most 18th and 19th century Irish people and they are a hugely important component of Irish genealogical information. To understand the records and their availability, it is useful to understand the history of Irish Catholics, and the political and social factors which affected record-keeping.

The Irish Catholic Church had a very well-developed infrastructure up until the 17th century. However, during this century religion and politics became intertwined in Ireland and Britain, and Catholic interests were finally defeated with the victory of William 1st in 1692. To ensure that a Catholic threat did not re-emerge, and to eliminate the Jacobite cause which had made claims to the English throne, the Catholic Church was severely repressed by the passing of the Penal Laws in the period 1698-1703. The Catholic church infrastructure was destroyed, priests were restricted in number and practices; and the Catholic laity were substantially impoverished and largely unable to contribute to Church upkeep. This very significantly affected the keeping of records. These laws were unsustainable, and they were gradually dismantled over the next 120 years or so allowing the church to resume record-keeping. As noted by the historian J.A.Froude “From the day the penal laws were passed, the government had been growing in embarrassment. They had hoped that the terrors of the threatened penalties would prove sufficient and…that when the existing generation of priests had died off, popery would come to a natural end. Had the laws been enforced in Ireland as they had in England the desired effect might have been produced. (However) ….In England popular sentiment was on the side of the law. In Ireland it was antagonistic. …the Government finding that they could not carry out the laws without violence, preferred for the most part to earn an idle popularity by affecting to hold them in suspense” .

As the Penal laws and associated anti-Catholic measures were dismantled, church administration improved, and record-keeping began. The major period of growth in record-keeping was the first few decades of the 19th century and by about 1820 about half of Irish parishes were keeping records. However, there is very clear regional variation in the extent and form of record-keeping. Major factors which determine whether and when individual parishes kept records include:
(i) Parish income: many parishes, particularly in rural areas, were impoverished and did not even have a church. Record-keeping was understandably not a priority for such parishes.
(2) Availability and level of education of priests: There was a severe shortage, and even absence of priests in many areas during the 1700s and there is evidence to suggest that some poorly educated priests were put in office to fill this gap. The ability to keep records was further affected by this.
(3) Parish and diocesan commitment to record-keeping: There was effectively no church administration above the parish level for much of the 1700s, and many problems faced the diocesan administrators when they began to rebuild their infrastructure. Some dioceses did not instruct their priests to keep records until well into the 1800s. Nevertheless, many priests did themselves begin the process without instruction.
(4) Attitude of the local administration: In some areas, local magistrates and landlords turned a blind eye to church practice, whereas in others there was rigid enforcement of the Penal Law provisions. This also affected the ability of some priests to run their parishes.

The result of all of this is that there is a low level of record-keeping during the 18th century. Overall, only about 14% of parishes kept records by 1800. However, there is big regional variation. In Leinster (SE Ireland), about 30% of parishes did so, whereas in Ulster (North) and Connaught (West) only about 3% kept records. There is also a major differentiation between rural and urban areas, with records commencing earlier in the urban areas. It was not until around 1840 that most parishes had records.
Marriage and baptism records were usually kept, but burial records were only maintained by about 20% of parishes, especially in Ulster. The baptismal records usefully state the mother’s maiden name, and addresses are sometimes provided. The records are kept in English or Latin. The latter are in ‘church Latin’ which is relatively easy to decipher with the aid of a short list of commonly used terms. The registers are available as follows:

On-line. Most records have been indexed by Heritage Centres which exist in almost all counties. The website www.rootsireland.ie can be searched for a specific name for a fee. A search of the original records can then be commissioned from the centre holding the records. Records for County Kerry, Dublin City and the Diocese of Cork and Ross have been made freely available at www.irishgenealogy.ie. If you are unsure where an ancestor came from, a general search for a name can be conducted on both sites.

Microfilm. Copies of all but a few registers are available on microfilm in the National Library of Ireland and also in the Mormon Library in Salt Lake City and are accessible to callers. The list of NLI registers can be seen at www.nli.ie/en/parish-register.aspx and the SLC records at http://familysearch.org/ . The NLI has announced its intention to put images of their entire collection of microfilms of Catholic Records on-line during the summer of 2015.

Original registers. Almost all original registers are in their parish of origin and accessible with permission of the priest. However, many priests will understandably take the view that their records are available on microfilm and on indexes and therefore be less willing to provide access to all callers.

A full account of the interesting background history to Irish Catholic record is in ‘Irish Church Records’ by Flyleaf Press.

Dr Jim Ryan
e-mail: jim.ryan@flyleaf.ie

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Flyleaf Press has published a Third edition of Tracing your Donegal Ancestors by Helen Meehan and Godfrey Duffy. This is a an updated edition of a highly-praised guide which sets out the sources available to the family history researcher with interests in Donegal. Common names in the county include O’Neill, O’Donnell, Bonner, Barr, Bradley, Duffy, Friel, Gormley, O’Kane, Gallagher, Harkin, McBride, McCafferty, McDaid, Patton, Morrissey, Ward and Sweeney.

Reviews of the last edition of the guide include: “It achieves its task…though a combination of lucid exposition and examples from the relevant sources (Who do you think you are Magazine, UK). Both authors are involved in Donegal genealogy and history as researchers and authors. The guide devotes a chapter to each source type explaining what information each contains, and where each record can be accessed. It is well illustrated with maps of the various administrative divisions; with examples of the types of records to be found; and with other relevant material. It also provides background on the social history of the counties and how this history has affected the keeping and survival of records. It has a comprehensive index.
ISBN13: 978-1-907990-22-9.
161 pages; softcover; illustrated (b/w); 230 x 145 mm. Price: €13.00; The following prices include Post and Packing: £14.50 to UK; $22 to USA; CAD$23; AUD$23; NZ$30

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This blog first appeared in http://theindepthgenealogist.com/irish-genealogy-radio-show/

The redoubtable Lorna Moloney has been behind several initiatives to promote genealogy in Ireland including the excellent ACE Summer School, of which I wrote earlier (see below for further information). Lorna’s latest undertaking is the Irish Genealogy Radio show, on which she is setting about interviewing anyone in Ireland or elsewhere that has something to say on our favourite subject. The show is broadcast for 30 minutes every Thursday at 4PM GMT on 92.5 & 94.8FM. It is also podcast so that you can listen at your leisure at http://rcb.ie/shows/thegenealogyradioshow/. The show is broadcast on Raidió Corca Baiscinn, a wholly community owned and run station based in West Clare, Ireland. The name derives from that of an ancient territory in the county. The station, which is not for-profit, primarily caters to the people of West Clare with diverse programmes on farming, historical documentaries, sports, radio drama, debates and music, 90% of which are volunteer produced and presented. This would be typical of community radio stations around the country (see www.craol.ie for further information on Irish community radio).

However, although most of the programmes are locally focussed, the Genealogy Radio Show has a much wider base. The producer and presenter Lorna Moloney has designed a series of programmes designed to help those interested in family history to understand their subject and to learn about new sources. The format is that Lorna discusses the finer points of family history research with experts in different fields. Topics to date include Griffiths valuation (Aideen Feerick of Ancestor Network); Irish Jewish Roots (Stuart Rosenblatt of the Irish Jewish Museum); Irish American ancestry (John Hamrock of Ancestor Network); Genealogy Brick Walls (Dr Paul MacCotter); Graveyards (Michael O’Connell); The Digital Revolution in genealogy (Brian Donovan of Eneclann/Findmypast.ie) and 5 others to date. Each guest is interviewed in depth by Lorna, and it is clear in every interview that extensive homework has been done to ensure that she understands the topic fully and knows what issues need to be discussed. Apart from the detailed and useful content, it is highly interesting to hear the great and the good of Irish genealogy in person discussing not only their specialist subject, but also their personal motivations and views on the future of genealogy.

Lorna is currently organising the 2015 summer school ‘Ancestral Connections: Names, Places and Spaces’ which will run from 28 June to 5 July 2015 at University College Cork. This will be the third year of the school (see http://www.ucc.ie/en/ace-genealogy). She is also the resident genealogist at Dromoland Castle and runs Merriman Research which deals with genealogical research, cultural and exhibition remits. Lorna’s latest genealogy project is Dromana 800, celebrating the arrival of the FitzGeralds to Ireland in the year 1215. Eighteen events are planned and genealogy consultations will be provided by Merriman Research.

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Flyleaf Press has published a ‘Guide to tracing your Kildare Ancestors’ by Karel Kiely, Mario Corrigan & James Durney. All three authors are centrally involved in Kildare genealogy as researchers, archivists and/or authors. The publication is a comprehensive guide to all of the records available for tracing families in the county and is filled with information on what the records contain, and how and where they can be accessed. It is well illustrated with maps of the various administrative divisions; with examples of the types of records to be found; and with other relevant material. It also provides background on the social history of the counties and how this history has affected the keeping and survival of records. There is also a comprehensive index.

About the authors:

Karel Kiely has run County Kildare genealogy service for 23 years. A native of Newbridge, Co. Kildare, and has an M.A. in Local History. Her minor thesis on Naas Workhouse reflects her interest in Irish social history and the Great Famine period. She has been secretary of Irish Family History Foundation since 2006 and manager of its website www.rootsireland.ie, since 2007. She currently edits Clann, the newsletter of the Irish Family History Foundation.

Mario Corrigan is Executive Librarian in Kildare Collections and Research Services. He has qualifications in History from University College, Dublin. He has written and edited many books and articles on County Kildare including ‘Hearth and Home’ which won the Nilsson Local Heritage Publishing Award in 2013. Mario has taught introductory genealogy courses as well as delivering many presentations, talks and walks on Kildare history and heritage.

James Durney is an author/historian who works in the Local Studies and Genealogy Department of Kildare Library & Arts Services. He is the author of 12 books on local and Irish history and has written extensively on the history of his native County Kildare. He is Chairman of the Co. Kildare Federation of Local History Groups; of Naas Local History Group; and a Committee member of the Co. Kildare Archaeological Society.

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This rent roll lists 25 tenants on the Kildare estate of William Tighe in 1825-26. The estate is in the parish of Kilteel, Co. Kildare but no further information is provided on townlands. William Tighe had estates in several counties and this was one of his smaller holdings. The original rental is in the National Library of Ireland Ms. 872. Flyleaf Press will publish ‘A guide to Tracing your Kildare Ancestors’ in Nov. 2014.

Denis Doran
Joseph Woods
James Kelly
John Purcell &
Thomas Broe ?
Widow Bacon
John Nowlan
Patrick Clarke
John Clarke
John Buggle
Peter Burchell
.. McEvoy
M Golding
J. Doyle
T & P Grainger
Richd. Raymond
Miss Burchell
Patt Slevin
Wm. Fennell
Peter Burchell
William Mitchell
James Lalor
Francis Rooney
James Goslin
Mick Burchell & Miss Burchell

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Dublin, Ireland, September 2014.
Flyleaf Press has announced that it has merged with Ancestor Network Ltd., the leading Irish family history services and probate research company (www.ancestornetwork.ie/). Ancestor Network has been at the forefront of the Irish family history market for over five years. It has provided genealogy advisory services for public visitors to the National Archives of Ireland, the National Library of Ireland, and the Kerry Genealogy Roadshow. It was the primary genealogy researcher for RTE’s ‘The Genealogy Roadshow’ and has successfully managed popular genealogy educational courses and events across Ireland such as the Brian Ború Millennium Festival in Clare, Tipperary, Galway and Dublin, and the Monaghan Genealogy ‘Home to the Little Hills’ Training courses. Together Ancestor Network and Flyleaf Press will create one of the fastest growing Irish genealogy businesses.
The two organisations will provide customers with easier access and more relevant information to help add colour and depth to Irish family history. Flyleaf Press will maintain its own brand identity and website, but the two organisations will enjoy greater economies of scale in marketing, sales, financial and operational functions. John Hamrock, Managing Director of Ancestor Network, said: “Ancestor Network’s strategy is about growth and the Irish Diaspora consumer and probate market sectors are key. Our purchase of Flyleaf Press, combined with our existing global Irish Diaspora customer base, gives us an excellent platform for expansion in the Irish family history market. Together we can provide a dynamic family history experience that offers customers the opportunity to make a real connection with their Irish family heritage.”
Dr. James Ryan, founder of Flyleaf Press, said: “We are thrilled to join forces with Ancestor Network and become a part of their family of Irish genealogy and family history services and products. The combination of our organisations will provide Irish family history enthusiasts with unprecedented access to the stories of their ancestors. Expect Flyleaf Press to grow stronger with Ancestor Network’s support and to continue to drive innovation in the Irish family history sector, particularly in the area of e-publishing.”

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A mystery for your consideration. This “Workmen’s accounts from 18th to 25th March 1843” is in the National Archives of Ireland (ref BR 12/1). It is a standard labourer’s account book showing 37 names, duties performed per day and the amount owed (3 to 7 pence per day). The tasks indicate that the work included both farm and garden tasks. But where is the property? It is in a file which also includes rentals from the Jacob Estate, which was in Bettyville, just outside Wexford town. However, many of the names are not found in Wexford in Griffith, and one worker was noted as being ‘in Limerick’ for the week, which seems unlikely for a Wexford estate. There is also a reference to ‘Making gates for Tuberara’ and work in ‘Sheen’. Tuberara’ is not a townland, but where is it? And where is Sheen. Any suggestions? I can include it as a ‘Small Source’, but not without knowing a location.

P. Darcey
Thos. Griffith
Jas. Carroll
M. Cox
Joseph Hutton
E (?). Holahan
R. Curdle ?? (possibly Cundle, a variant of Condell)
Wm. Curdle ?? “
Wm. Hutton
N. Keating
Wm. Manders
M. Kelley
R. Harvey
L…? Stone
Jn. Kennedy
Mat Kelley
P. Kennedy
M. McEvoy
R. McEvoy
P. Marr (Man?)
Jas. Fleming
John Carroll
P. Kelley
Mort Stynes
M. Sullivan
Jas. Kennedy
Bridey (Beidy?) Rowen
Eliza Harvey
John Kane
Jas. Smith
M. Caulfield
M. Reidy
Jas. Conlon
Thos. Manders
George Griffith
John Whittaker
Betty Hutton

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This lists 100+ tenants of the Earl of Listowel in Kerry, together with the property (all appear to be townland names) and the rent due on 29th of September 1755. The high rents suggest that the vast majority of the tenants are gentry, or perhaps ‘middlemen’ who sublet the property to smaller tenants. The document is a single page with six columns: 3 per tenant. The illustration shows the top left columns. The original is in poor condition and difficult to read. ‘….’ indicates an indecipherable part of a word. First names are abbreviated in most cases (Jno = John, Frs = Francis etc). The townlands that I have been able to identify are all in the Barony of Clanmaurice, and in the PLU of Listowel, Co. Kerry. The original is in the National Archives of Ireland: ref NAI M 2353

Kerry Rental NAI M 2353

Tenement/ Tenants name/ yearly rent (£.s.d.)

Deal & Kilconolo / Jo. Fitzmaurice Esq / 99.0.0
Farren Peirse / Ex Richd. Birch / 30.0.0
Drummin / Ex. Dd. Gun / 28.0.0
Ballybonion / Frs. Creagh / 41.0.0
Kieleheny / Ex. Jno. Dee / 18.0.0
Ballyeagh / Ex. Lt. Jno Miller / 40.0.0
Ballyeagh Warren / Patt Crowly / 12.0.0
Cashion Ferry / Wm. Keady (Ready?) / 8.0.0
Balingown & Kilamiro / Edm. Lina… / 25.0.0
Kiltean & Kilarada / Ex. Capt. Gregory / 66.0.0
Lebanos? / Jas. Raymond / 37.0.0
Balyegan / Ex of Jas. Raymond / 27.0.0
Balydonogue / Ex of Geo. Gun / 32.0.0
Coolkeragh / Ex of Alex Elliott / 81.0.0
Shaun…ta / Ex Chr. Julian / 8.0.0
Tullamore & Tullabeg / do. / 85.0.0
Pullagh / Earl of Shelburne / 8.0.0
Aghahotrish / Ex of Rd. Peirse / 20.0.0
Gortacrussane / Dd. Stott? / 40.00
Drommurrin / Thos. Buttler / 41.0.0
Listowhile / Ex of Jas. Julian / 110.0.0
Gortshanavoa / Ex of Thos Collins / 15.0.0
Coolevana / Jas. Raymond / 15.0.0
N. Div. Ilaneaneev / Robt. Kittson / 10.0.0
…/ Jon. Kittson / 91.0.0
Dromligat / Michl. Scanlan & Exec.
Of Patt Furnel?? / 302.0.0
Culeanilig Cregan / Denis Mahony / 81.0.0

Left edge of page missing for next 6 entries

…Woodland / Earl of Shelburne / 30.0.0
..legan / Andw.Sheahan / 90.0.0
..kanebrack / Thos. Quile / 31.10.0
…onogan / Jas. White / 19.10.0
…indaff / Ex of Rd. H…ddy / 51.0.0
..ineirugh / Ex. Wm. Hi…ric / 100.0.0
Inchmaguleragh / Jno.Quilter / 12.0.0
Two Knockagowls / Dd. Stitt / 53.0.0
Two Knockinunanes / Kerry Weir / 51.0.0
East Billeragh / Robt. Purcell / 21.10.0
West Billeragh / Geo. Birch / 33.0.0
Upper Cooln…line / Ulisses Fitzmaurice / 18.10.0
Lower co. / Thomas Purcell / 30.10.0
Two Ballydoohig / Wm Raymond Esq / 47.0.0
T…hand / Jno. Fitzmaurice / 18.0.0
Dromelagh / Joseph Huddy? / 47.0.0
Rathlea / John Coggan / 81.0.0
Banemore & Ballygarrett / Richd. Collins / 61.0.0
Island Bromadara / Ex. Le. Kerry Lyn / 10.0.0
Lyeracroompana / Darby Carty / 20.0.0
Gortaclogane / Ex. Thos. Halloran / 30.0.0
Pullin ?? / Exx. Thos Hanninan / 30.0.0
…duglassey / Dd. Ollif & … Twiss / 33.0.0

Second column starts here

Kilf..ry / Geo. Church / 120.0.0
Muckinagh / Ex Wm. Coggan / 31.0.0
Knockburr.. / Kiln. Gregory Esq. / 37.0.0
Lissah.. (Lissahane?) / Ex. Richd. Birch / 31.0.0
Finuge & ..ffa.. / Richd. Morris Esq / 101.0.0
East Bal…uricall / James Weir / 29.0.0
West Ba…ical / Cottiers / 44.0.0
Ballycuskey / Exs. Lt Kerry Lynn / 29.0.0
Balintohir / Ex Eugene ? ..gha / 50.0.0
Knockandacurraheane / do./ 6.10.0
…eehan / James Weir / 34.0.0
East do. / Richd. Copply / 28.0.0
Inisbeg / Earl of Shelburne / 24.0.0
Tullymaksherisk / Ex.Thos. Peirse / 33.0.0
Ballinagara / Ex. Jo. Peirse / 30.0.0
Ahabeg / Wm Raymond Esq / 144.0.0
Balinvoher / Thos. Stack & Danl.McDermot?/ 17.0.0
Two Mackinoghs / Richd. Dalrimple / 42.0.0
? Divn. Of Ballincloher / Thos. Stoughton Esq. / 75.14.0
Cloghercanon? / Edm. Oliff / 55.10.0
Gortadrislig / Richd. Sells ? / 26.10.0
Dromroe / Gt. Peirse / 23.0.0
Tullacrimeen / Doctr Jo. Botell / 12.10.0

Denominations column is torn for next entries – start of place names missing

..anal / Jo. Twiss / 23.0.0
.aad / Kerry Lyne Blk / 17.0.0
.h / Ex. Harmon Fitzmaurice / 80.0.0
Jas. Raymond / 96.0.0
Earl of Shelburne / 100.0.0
James Mafon (Mason?) / 91.0.0
..oughtra / Henry Wilson? / 14.10.0
..rquin / John Harnett / 71.0.0
..enny / Wm. Sills / 75.10.0
.. Crosbie / 12.0.0
…uilean? / Do. / 5.0.0
..ano / Exs. of Robt. Hilliard / 32.11.0
.e / Capn. Jno Bolton / 87.0.0
…Fenit / Monitor? Carey / 90.0.0
Outward do. / Owen Sulivan / 51.0.0
F…William / Edmd Cummane / 6.0.0

Denominations column is torn for next entries – centre of some place names is missing

Ol..w/ Timothy Almond / 1.0.0
Ma..se & Custom of
Ardfert Fair / Thos. Parks / 7.10.0
She…ws? / Denis Sheheran? / 0.16.0
HIgg.. / Darby Crean and
Wh..ones / Denis Lawlor / 1.2.0
..Knockaalig / ?. Fitzmaurice / 4.10.0
Kilreany / Wm. Gun Esq. / 4.0.0
Ballyonery? / Jon. Sta..on / 1.0.0/
Gur…insigh / Kn. of Kerry / 0.9.0
Bal..no / do. / 0.3.4
Crat..Garryanna / Richd. Ponsonby Esq / 7.3.8
Bal..? & Balynei.. / ..Trinity College / 6.13.4
Bal.. / Ex of Robt Oliver Esq / 8.0.0
Irr.. (Irramore?) / do. / 0.3.4
Ard… & Ballinprior / Sn Mau:? Crosbie Ard.. / 4.0.0
De…. Lands …. & /
Lis… & Kilcloony / Wm. Raymond Esq. / 100.0.0
The ….rke / Wm Pary / 40.0.0
Gr….iger / Jno. Justice? & Jno. Cooney / 30.0.0
L….lgera / James Weir / 14.0.0

(Blog contributor: Jim Ryan 26 July 2014)

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Below is a copy of my blog from the In-Depth Genealogist – http://theindepthgenealogist.com/missing-friends/

Imagine the situation. You arrive in America from Ireland intending to join a relative, but they have gone away, probably unaware of your impending arrival. What to do? Phone them, I hear you say, or send an email. Did I mention that the year is 1831? Communication is slow and uncertain and an international postal system is still in its infancy. Success in communication by letter is further hampered by the fact that people are less literate. The solution for many at that time was to place an advert in the ‘Boston Pilot’ newspaper asking readers for information about the missing person and also asking all readers to spread the word that they were being sought. The Boston Pilot began taking these advertisements in 1831 and continued to do so until 1921. The paper cornered the market on this form of communication for Irish Americans on the East coast and perusal of their advertisements became a regular part of the routine of many Irish Americans. In total over 41,000 notices appeared and most are rich in detail. The notices are generally of the same format, e.g. ‘Of Richard Power (mason) a native of the city of Kilkenny, who emigrated to this country about 18 years ago and is supposed to reside in Baltimore. Any information respecting him will be thankfully received by his brother-in-law Samuel Hopkins. Please address him care of the Editor, Boston Pilot’ (22 Jan 1848). The notices contain a wealth of information on immigrants. Almost all include their place of origin and some relationship (brother, sister etc) and a last known location. Some will also include a physical description and/or an occupation. The initial task of indexing and publishing these notices was conducted as a joint venture between the New England Historic Genealogical Society and NorthEastern University. They were published in 8 volumes by NEHGS from 1989 until 1993. They are now available as a searchable online database on a website operated by Boston College’s Irish Studies Programme – see http://infowanted.bc.edu. The information available in these notices provides very important information on the Irish origin of a named immigrant. Some even list the townland of origin which is invaluable in locating this person within the Irish records. It can also identify relatives, the immigrant’s age, and possibly a port of departure and entry, year of arrival or occupation. Note also that the location of the persons listed is not restricted to Massachusetts or even New England but refer to all parts of the Eastern US. Whereas most adverts seek brothers or sisters of children or parents, there are also incidences of spouses seeking their errant ‘other halves’, or the robbed seeking the robber. All human life is here.

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