Friday, 21 October 2011

Genealogy notes 16-21 Oct 2011 - Irish updates & writing family history

Well another week has gone with family and domestic matters interrupting my family history time. Thankfully I am spending the weekend alone and it is cold and grey in Melbourne so I am hoping to get lots done. I do love the family but it is so peaceful not having to jump up every few minutes to find something for them that is in plain sight!

Tuesday I managed some quiet time and spent it visiting various Irish genealogy sites - so much seems to have gone online since I last looked. I was very impressed with the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) will calendars and the fact that those up to 1900 have been digitised and are freely available online. Ancestry have lots of new Irish records and I have been using their Collection Priority filter (but you do need to remember to turn it off!).

FindMyPast Ireland has also been adding records and most notably this weekend they have added Irish prison records (but doesn't include the North). I'm finding the landed estates records most interesting. Another site I use a lot is Roots Ireland and again lots of new additions and I have also been using the Irish records on FamilySearch. Not doing searches on surname etc in the top section of their home page but going into the Browse by Location section and going into the records themselves and then doing the searches.

I find cross checking in all the various online databases useful if I can't find families under expected spellings or variants. Although it does take time. I have found this particularly so when using the various versions of Griffith's Valuation online which has just reminded me of the Ask About Ireland website which I also visited.

I'm looking forward to seeing Chris Paton's new book on Irish internet sites which I believe will be ready for the Unlock the Past history and genealogy cruise with a Scottish/Irish theme in November . Maybe some of my Irish brick walls will tumble on board the cruise ship! If you can't make the cruise, don't forget there are on shore talks all around New Zealand, Burnie in Tasmania, Melbourne and Sydney.

The other major achievement this week was finishing my book reviews of Hazel Edwards How to Write a Non-Boring Family History and Goldie Alexander's Mentoring Your Memoirs and doing a Writing Family History Again blog to include the reviews and to write about my own struggles in this area . By going public with my procrastination, I hope I am committing myself to some real effort in completing at least one of my draft family histories in 2012.

I haven't managed to do any genealogy reading this week although I try to follow key people on Twitter and Google+ so that I am vaguely aware of what has been happening.

Next week I have been invited to the University of Melbourne Archives to talk to the staff about what researchers want and how they might be able to increase usage of the archives. UMA is one of the archives I demonstrate in my talks It's Not All Online and Archives You Should Know but Perhaps Don't. When I first saw the invite I thought I was in trouble for using them and creating a demand for their services but it is the opposite, so looking forward to catching up with old colleagues and friends.

Hopefully it will be quieter next week and I will catch up with everything before I again pack my bag and hit the road for Pambula and the Bega Valley Genealogy Society in two weeks. At least there is never a dull moment!

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