Who Do You Think You Are – 2015



The society went to WDYTYA Live 2015 which was at the NEC in Birmingham this year. Here’s a photo of two of our committee members Maureen and Sylvia behind the stall.

The dates for next year have already been announced 7th to 9th of April again at the NEC in Birmingham. Expert help in researching your family history isn’t just for celebrities: come to a live event where everything you need to know is all under one roof!


Irish Catholic registers to go online July 8th



Although as a society we focus on England, Scotland, and Wales many of us have ancestors and so this will be of interest – thanks to http://britishgenes.blogspot.com/ for bringing this to my attention.

Note that it says they will not be indexed – so you will probably have to know the parish name, and as my ancestors tended just to say Ireland and not be more specific I wonder how much use they will be to me. I suspect that one of the big online suppliers will come to some arrangement with the NLI to index them.

National Library of Ireland Announces Launch Date for New Online Genealogy Resource

– Almost 400,000 images of Catholic parish register microfilms to be available online for free from 8th July 2015 –

The entire collection of Catholic parish register microfilms held by the National Library of Ireland (NLI) will be made available online – for free – from 8th July 2015 onwards. On that date, a dedicated website will go live, with over 390,000 digital images of the microfilm reels on which the parish registers are recorded.

The NLI has been working to digitise the microfilms for over three years under its most ambitious digitisation programme to date.

The parish register 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 the island of Ireland, and consist primarily of baptismal and marriage records.

Commenting today, the NLI’s Ciara Kerrigan, who is managing the digitisation of the parish registers, said:

“We announced initial details of this project last December, and received a hugely enthusiastic response from people worldwide with an interest in Irish family history. We are delighted to announce that the project has been progressing well, and we will be able to publish all the digitised records online from 8th July onwards.

“This is the most significant ever genealogy project in the history of the NLI. The microfilms have been available to visitors to the NLI since the 1970s. However, their digitisation means that, for the first time, anyone who likes will be able to access these registers without having to travel to Dublin.”

Typically, the parish registers include information such as the dates of baptisms and marriages, and the names of the key people involved, including godparents or witnesses. The digital images of the registers will be searchable by parish location only, and will not be transcribed or indexed by the NLI.

“The images will be in black and white, and will be of the microfilms of the original registers,” explained Ms. Kerrigan. “There will not be transcripts or indexes for the images. However, the nationwide network of local family history centres holds indexes and transcripts of parish registers for their local areas. So those who access our new online resource will be able to cross-reference the information they uncover, and identify wider links and connections to their ancestral community by also liaising with the relevant local family history centre.”

The NLI is planning an official launch event for the new online resource on 8th July. Further details will be available in the coming weeks.

First Communion Medal



We received an enquiry from Natalie Lubben who lives in the Netherlands. A while ago a remarkable silver pendant came into her possession and she is very curious about its origin. After she did some research she found out that the symbols on the front of the pendant are Catholic and are frequently associated with the First Holy Communion (Catholicism isn’t very common in the region she is from) and she wondered if we could help further.

We didn’t get vependant2ry far – Spendant1ylvia’s response is below – I’m posting it on the blog in the hope that someone will know more.

You are right that this is a commemorative medal for a First Communion. Farrell is a common surname of Irish origin. The communicant is likely to have been aged between 6 and 15 years old, younger rather than older.

J for a boy might be John, James or Joseph; for a girl Jane, Janet, Joan, Jean, June, but it would be a guess looking at names which were popular around 1910.

The date fits with the season around the Feast of Corpus Christi which was on 26th May 1918. It is held on the first Thursday after Trinity Sunday. This was the year WW I ended and normal customs would have been disrupted. This person was of an age to be active in WW II and could have been serving with British Forces in the Netherlands. You are not far from Arnhem and this might be line of enquiry.

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: www.irishancestors.ie/?page_id=3039

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 julie.oneill@Staffordshire.gov.uk

Reblogged fromthe Midland Catholic History Society


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