Nuns: Given names and Religious names


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Some months ago someone asked me about the name that would be on the death certificate of a nun. I wasn’t able to answer it at the time but having done some personal research into nuns who were buried at Broadwater Cemetery I’ve found out the following which might be useful for others.

In the civil records i.e. census, death, and municipal burial registers the given name (normally this would be the birth name) of the nun was used. On the gravestone the religious name of the name was used but sometimes the given name was also recorded.

It is perhaps risky to generalize from specific data but my conclusion would be that on civil records the given name would be used but in relating to the religious order the religious name would be used.

In summary if you are looking for the civil death record of  an ancestor who was a nun then search under the given or family name. If you are looking in memorial inscriptions records then search under both names. Of course determining the religious name may not be that easy if you have little details of your ancestor’s life.

Index Of Nuns



Work is progressing with a view to making our Index of Nuns ready for publication this year. The scripts that extract details of almost 14,000 nuns from the database and then reformat the data into a PDF and generate indexes have been written and have passed initial testing. The next steps will involve final testing and tweaking of the format, writing introductory and explanatory texts, and preparing artwork.

Further posts will provide updates as we progress.

Irish Catholic Records



The National Library of Ireland will make their entire collection of Catholic parish register microfilms freely available on-line by summer 2015.

The records are considered the single most important source of information on Irish family history prior to the 1901 Census.  Dating from the 1740s to the 1880s, they cover 1,091 parishes throughout Ireland, and consist primarily of baptismal and marriage records.

I will post more information as it becomes available.

IGRS Launches Enhanced ‘Irish Genealogist Database’ on its Website



As many of us have Irish ancestors I though this might be of interest. Thanks to Sylvia for sending me the article. The IGRS is the Irish Genealogical Research Society.

The IGRS – “The Great Granddaddy of all Irish Family History Societies” – announces the launch of an exciting enhancement to its ‘Irish Genealogist Database’.

The Irish Genealogist (TIG) has been published annually since 1937 and comprises thousands of articles relating to Irish genealogy, noting details on family histories, pedigrees, leases, memorial inscriptions, deeds, newspaper extracts and transcripts of parish registers, voters lists, census substitutes, wills, letters, family bibles, rentals and militia & army rolls. The list is endless!

A free online Names Index to TIG, comprising in excess of a quarter of a million names, has been available on the Society’s website since autumn 2013. Now, following an intensive project to scan images of the journal’s articles, the database will link researchers directly to articles that match their search criteria. Initially, the Society is launching images of volume 10 of TIG (covering the years 1998-2001) and these will be followed with regular releases right up to volume 13 (up to 2013).

Announcing details of the enhanced database, IGRS Chairman Steven Smyrl said:  “The Society’s annual journal has been to the forefront of Irish genealogy for almost 80 years.  With the launch of this new database, those pursuing their Irish ancestors, no matter where they live, will now be able to access the treasure of data locked away in its pages.”

This links to the TIG database page:

Buckinghamshire Family History Society Open Day 2015


Not directly related to Catholic Research, but of general interest. Thanks to British GENES (GEnealogy News and EventS) for bringing this to my attention.

Buckinghamshire’s major family history event will take place in 2015 on Saturday 25th July, from 10am to 4pm at The Grange School, Wendover Way, Aylesbury HP21 7NH.

This free event will have something for everyone – whether you are a beginner or an experienced researcher – and wherever your ancestors came from.

The Society’s research facilities will be available, including our Names Database (over 5 million names), Parish Register library, Bucks People (genealogies, histories, documents), and Bucks Places. Let us help you track down those elusive ancestors. Our bookstall will carry parish register transcripts and other research aids for sale, and there will be lots of free help and advice available.

There will be the opportunity to meet guest family history societies from around the country, representatives of local history societies, and a wide range of commercial suppliers of maps and books, software, archival materials and services.

Tea and coffee will be available; why not bring a packed lunch and make a day of it ?

Entry is free, and free parking is available at the venue. By bus from Aylesbury bus station take Arriva service 50 towards Wendover, and ask to be set down on Wendover Road opposite Chaucer Drive, about eight minutes walk. From about Easter the website will be updated frequently to list all organizations attending.

Staffordshire History Day 2015


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Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Archive service in collaboration with Keele University and the Centre for West Midland History at Birmingham University are putting on their annual Staffordshire history day  at the Kingston Centre, Stafford on Saturday 28 March 2015, 10.00am-5.00pm. Further information from Julie O’Neill, Tel. 01785 278483, email

Reblogged fromthe Midland Catholic History Society

CONFERENCE 3 October 2015


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We are pleased to announce that our Annual Day Conference and AGM will be held at the Carrs Lane Conference Centre, Carrs Lane, Birmingham, B4 7SX on Saturday October 3rd 2015. This is a new venue for us and we hope it will be a convenient location for all as it is close to bus, rail services, and car parks. We look forward to welcoming friends old and new.

The two main speakers this year are:

  • Ruth Barbour of Warwick University on ‘The Middling Sort of Catholic in eighteenth century Warwickshire’.
  • Tony Hadland of the Oxfordshire Local History Society on ‘Recusants of Oxfordshire and Berkshire’

A Family History Help Desk will be available at lunch-time and late afternoon. Please use this to ask any questions of our researchers to help your investigations and bring along any documents and materials that you would like to discuss.

The cost is £15.00, it is subsidised by the CFHS and includes a sandwich lunch, and tea/coffee and cold drinks.

Tickets are available by post from:

Mrs J M Smith
10 Irving Close

Cheques payable to Catholic FHS please. You may also pay on the door but please let us know in advance if you are intending to do this.


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