Rummaging round in our archives

Now that it’s November, Family Tree has just begun its 30th year (we can’t believe it either!) and a lot has happened since that kitchen-table brainstorming session back in the autumn of 1984.

Over the years since, we’ve gathered together an awful lot of articles on every sort of family history topic under the sun, and one of the joys of family history is that it’s always fascinating to take a peek back at the past. So when Lynn Betlock of the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, USA, got in touch the other day, enquiring about an article we’d published by Diane Brook called ‘Mother Tongue’ in 2011, I thought that I’d share it here. While this article is about the languages (yes, languages – it wasn’t just English!) that our ancestors in the British Isles would have spoken over the past five centuries, of course our family history ‘family’ spreads much more widely. It includes both our distant ancestors who traipsed the globe in search of a good place to live and work, and our fellow family history researchers today. So to our cousins in America, those in Britain, and wherever else you may be, I hope you enjoy the read…




Just click on the images of the pages, and they should enlarge to a legible size.


Come see us at Back To Our Past 2013

Family Tree's stand at Back To Our Past Dublin this weekend!

Family Tree’s stand at Back To Our Past Dublin this weekend!

This year’s Back To Our Past show in Dublin gets underway Friday 18 October, and Family Tree is excited to be there!

Now in its 4th year, Back To Our Past (BTOP), is a three-day genealogy, family and social history extravaganza boasting a wide range of family history presentations, archival sources and advice all under one roof.

The official BTOP presentations have been organised by the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) on behalf of show sponsors (The Irish Family History Foundation), while a supplementary programme of DNA lectures has been organised by the International Society of Genetic Genealogists. Admission to all the talks is free.

Exhibitors include the leading international genealogy websites and the main Irish repositories. Make sure you also pop along to say hello to the team on the Family Tree stand and pick up a goody bag for €3 – includes the latest issue of Family Tree!

The show encompasses related interests, such as military and social history. Entry to BTOP will also give you free admission to The National Coin and Stamp Fair and The Over 50s Show, which are jointly taking place at The Royal Dublin Society (RDS) venue and where Eric Knowles of ‘Antiques Roadshow’ fame will be on hand to offer free valuations and advice.

Irish genealogy made easier

Whether you’re new to researching your Irish ancestors, or have a good grasp of the records available, the new Irish Genealogical Research Society (IRGS) website at has information to help.

For instance, ‘Start Your Research’ has guides and links for the census, civil and parish records, while the ‘Members Area’ has more detailed information and subjects under ‘Expert Tips’. IGRS members also provide a look-up service for fellow members, in which they’ll check publications that they hold in their private collections for relevant information, and there is wider information about the library collection too. Some indexes and finding aids are ready to search online – such as the ‘Ancestry Files Series 1: Name Index’, while others are due to be uploaded shortly.

The new website is a work in progress, so look out for further developments. Steven Smyrl, Chairman of IGRS, explained: ‘Over the coming months, visitors to will see information appear about literally hundreds of thousands of our Irish ancestors.’ Some of this will be generally available, and some will be accessible to members only. The society holdings include a vast and diverse range, from church records, to deeds, wills, newspaper birth, marriage and death announcements, and 17th century herald’s visitations’ pedigrees. It also has information on family histories, migrants, merchants and farmers, and much more.

This year Ireland is celebrating ‘The Gathering’ – – which aims to bring together Irish kin, however, distant from around the world and reunite them with the parishes of their forefathers. Whether you’re new to or experienced in researching your Irish ancestors, if the prospect of St Patrick’s Day – this coming weekend – has reminded you of your Irish heritage, the new IRGS site has resources to help.

Irish family history?

Don’t miss the final article in Mary Evans’ four-part series covering Irish family history websites, in the September issue of Family Tree. This issue covers numerous essential websites for tracking down folk in the vast province of Munster. To find out more, check out the reading list below.

The families of County Clare, Ireland: Over one thousand entries from the archives of the Irish Genealogical Foundation by Michael C O’Laughlin
Ireland’s Banner County: Clare from the Fall of Parnell to the Great War, 1890-1918 by Daniel Joseph Mccarthy
County Clare: It’s Towns and Villages by Arthur Flynn
A History of County Clare by Sean Spellissy
Clare History and Society: Interdisciplinary Essays on the History of an Irish County by Matthew Lynch
Poverty before the Famine, County Clare 1835 (Published by Clare Local Studies Project)
The Strangers Gaze: Travels in County Clare 1534-1950 edited by Brian O’Dalaigh
The Famine Clearance in Toomevara, County Tipperary by Helen O’Brien
The Tipperary War Dead by Tom and Ruth Burnell
Cashel: History & Guide by Dr Dennis Murnane
South Tipperary, 1570-1841: Religion, land and rivalry by David J. Butler
Land, Politics, and Society in Eighteenth-Century Tipperary by Thomas P. Power
Home Wasn’t Built in a Day: Growing Up in County Limerick – Recollections of a Rural Irish Childhood by Paddy Cronin
Book of Irish Families: Families of County Limerick, Ireland by Michael C O’Laughlin
The Diary of Nicholas Peacock, 1740-51: The Worlds of a County Limerick Farmer and Agent by Marie-Louise Legg
Revolutionary Limerick: The Republican Campaign for Independence in Limerick 1913-1921 by John O’Callaghan
Bishop Edward Thomas O’Dwyer of Limerick, 1842-1917 by Thomas J Morrissey SJ
Matters of Deceit: Breach of promise to marry cases in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Limerick by Maria Luddy
Exploring Georgian Limerick by Pat Dargan
Land, Popular Politics and Agrarian Violence in Ireland: The Case of County Kerry, 1872-86 by Donnacha Sean Lucey
The Irish National League in Dingle, County Kerry, 1885–1892 by Donnacha Sean Lucey
Kerry & the Royal Munster Fusiliers by Alan Drumm
Ballybunion: An Illustrated History by Danny Houlihan
Valentia Lifeboats: A History of the work of the lifeboats by Dick Robinson
A New History of Cork by Dr Henry Jeffries
For Whom the Bells Tolled: History of Cork Fire Services by Pat Poland
A Biographical Dictionary of Cork edited by Timothy Cadogan & Jeremiah Falvey
Cork: Historical perspectives by Henry A Jefferies
Who killed the Franks family? Agrarian violence in pre-Famine Cork by Denis Cronin
West Cork: A Place Apart by Jo Kerrigan (Author) and Richard Mills (Photographer)
Mackerel and the Making of Baltimore, County Cork, 1879-1913 by Seamus Fitzgerald
Close the Wicket Gate: Tales from the Kilmichael Bar by Johanna O’Mahony Walters
The Holy Well Tradition: The pattern of St Declan at Ardmore, County Waterford, 1800-2000 by Stiófan Ó Cadhla
Waterford’s Anglicans: Religion and Politics, 1819-1872 by Eugene Broderick
The Missing Postman: What Really Happened to Larry Griffin? by Fachtna O Drisceoil
Waterford Crystal – Irish Brilliance: History and Collector’s Guide by Sharma Krauskopf
Waterford In Pictures and Verse by Tom Power (Collaborator) and Jackie Elger (Photographer)
The Irish Boats: Liverpool – Cork and Waterford by Malcolm McRonald

The September issue of Family Tree is on sale from 10 August. In the June issue, Family Tree covered Ulster websites, with Connaught in the July issue and Leinster in the August issue.

To order a back issue, please call 0845 5190228 or visit our Family History Bookshop. Digital downloads of Family Tree back issues are also on the App Store, Google Play and

Irish family history?

Don’t miss part three of Mary Evans’ four-part series covering Irish family history websites, in the August issue of Family Tree. This issue covers numerous essential websites for tracking down folk in the vast province of Leinster. To find out more, check out the reading list below.

Longford & Its People: an Index to the 1901 Census of County Longford by David Leahy
County Longford and the Irish Revolution, 1910-1923 by Marie Coleman
County Longford Survivors of the Great Famine: Complete Index to Griffiths’ Primary Valuation of County Longford (1854) by David Leahy
County Longford Residents Prior to the Famine: A Transcription And Complete Index of the Tithe Applotment Books of County Longford, Ireland (1823 – 1835) by Guy A. Rymsza
Sport and Society in Victorian Ireland: The Case of Westmeath by Tom Hunt
Ancient and Modern Sketches of the County Westmeath: Historical, Traditional, and Legendary by James Woods
Athlone Miscellany by Gearoid O’Brien
Mullingar; history and guide by Ruth Illingworth
Meath Voices by Tommy Murray
The Land and People of County Meath, 1750-1850 by Peter Connell
World War I and Nationalist Politics in County Louth, 1914-20 by Donal Hall
Rossin, County Meath: An unofficial place by Bryn Coldrick
The Royal Irish Constabulary and the Black and Tans in County Louth 1919-1922 by Stephen O’Donnell
Stories from a Sacred Landscape: Croghan Hill to Clonmacnoise by Caimin O’Brien
The Offaly War Dead by Tom Burnell
Edenderry, County Offaly, from 1820 to 1920 by Ciaran Reilly
John Plunket Joly and the Great Famine in King’s County (County Offaly) by Ciarán Reilly
A History of County Kildare by Padraic O’Farrell
A Class Apart: The Gentry Families of County Kildare by Con Costello
Keeping in Touch: Communications with County Kildare by Noel Morrin
The transportation of women from Kildare to Van Diemen’s land in 1849 by Catherine Fleming
A History of Clane by Brian Sammon
Balrothery Poor Law Union, County Dublin, 1839 – 1851 by Sinead Collins
Leaders of the city: Dublin’s first Citizens, 1500–1950 Editors: Ruth McManus & Lisa-Marie Griffith
Local Government in Nineteenth-Century County Dublin: The grand jury by David Broderick
Foxrock Miscellany by Foxrock LHS
Rare Old Dublin: Heroes, Hawkers and Hoors by Frank Hopkins
Hidden Dublin: Deadbeats, Dossers and Decent Skins by Frank Hopkins
Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin, 1832-1900 by Carmel Connell
The Planters of Luggacurran, County Laois: A Protestant community, 1879-1927 by Leighann Coffey
Thatch: Voices from the Traditional Houses of County Laois by Mary Ann Williams, Sinead Hughes and Bronagh Lanigan
The County Wicklow Database: 432AD to 2006AD by Brian White
The Wicklow War Dead by Tom & Seamus Burnell
Enniskerry: A History by Michael Seery
Kilkenny City & County: People, Places, Faces by John Fitzgerald
Kilkenny: City and County by Gerry Moran (Author) and Ann Phelan (Illustrator)
Kilkenny in Focus: Photographs and Memories Over 50 Years by Tom Brett
Carlow War Dead by Tom Burnell
County Carlow: Visions of Town and Country by Jimmy O’Toole (Author) and Roland Byrne (Illustrator)
Haunted Carlow by Cormac Strain
A History of County Wexford by Nicholas Furlong
Remembering Wexford by Nicky Rossiter
Wexford: A History, A Tour and A Miscellany by Nicky Rossiter
Tales of the Anvil: The Forges & Blacksmiths of Wexford by Eamon Doyle
The Lifeboats of Wexford and Rosslare Harbour by Nicholas Leach
The Hook Peninsula, County Wexford by Billy Colfer

The August issue of Family Tree is on sale from 13 July. In the June issue, Family Tree covered Ulster websites, with Connaught in the July issue and Munster to follow in the September issue.

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