Congratulations, Ruth Craig, CG!

Ruth Craig became associate #1078 in August 2016. She is a resident of Grafton County, New Hampshire, just across the Connecticut River from Vermont. Her maternal ancestors lived in Massachusetts and New York, and she enjoys doing New England and Canadian research. Ruth especially appreciates the Catholic priests who kept excellent records of her French-Canadian research subjects.

Ruth Craig, CG

Ruth Craig, CG

“My career in medical research schooled me in the hypothesis-testing approach to research, and in means of correlating data. These have served me well in family history research,” says Ruth. She needs that experience as she works on a large family project. “I am trying to trace all descendants of the earliest known ancestor on my father’s side. The husband of one descendant, who had a very common name, moved from Germany to Toronto, changed his name, birthdate, and religion, probably worked on ships on the Great Lakes, and died in parts unknown. I have so far been unable to find any trace of him after 1915, whereas he likely died in the 1950s. I work on him in bits between other research, and will find him someday!”

Ruth has several observations about the certification process. She became educated in genealogical research by participating in the Boston University genealogy course and the ProGen Study Group. “However, the best thing I did was to work on four of the five requirements before I even submitted an application.” She declares that preparing her portfolio definitely changed her approach to genealogy. “I knew nothing about this type of work when I started. I see family history as a field where continuous learning and change are critical. I hope to be able to keep up!”

Ruth offers two pieces of advice for those approaching this task. “First, if a requirement seems overwhelming at the beginning, just start on it without being too perfectionistic. Once you have something on paper, it can be further developed. Second, start small (e.g., on Requirements 6 and 7)—these things tend to grow. If possible, start with a relatively simple situation.”

The standards for certification—the rubrics—made the process difficult for Ruth. She says, “My comments here may be heretical. I find it confusing that the standards, rubrics, and application instructions are overly wordy and redundant/overlapping. All of these changed while I was in the process of applying. My impression is more verbiage is being added (likely to try to help applicants who failed), whereas streamlining would have been more helpful.”

An impressive figure emerged from Ruth’s research for her kinship determination project. Ruth (Willson) Wilson, her grandmother and namesake, was recruited in 1918 for cryptologic work by MI-8, precursor of the National Security Agency (NSA). She helped break a variety of codes used in Central and South America and became a Japanese linguist.[1] “What I learned was a surprise to me and to others who had known her. She made a fantastic contribution at a time when it was difficult to do so as a woman.”

Ruth plans to tie her current medical work to history and genealogy. “I am interested in how diseases and causes of death have evolved historically. I hope to use family history as an entrée to make this area interesting to others. In short, I hope to combine my background in medical research with my new-found interest in genealogy.”

We are sure that research goal will produce some interesting studies. Congratulations on becoming certified, Ruth, and good luck with your work.

[1] https://www.nwhm.org/online-exhibits/spies/13.htm.

Nora Galvin, CG

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Congratulations, Morrison “Toby” Webb, CG!

Morrison “Toby” Webb became Certified Genealogist #1081 in November, 2016. His ancestral roots are in Massachusetts and Connecticut, and his wife’s are in Maine, so it’s no surprise his research centers on early New England. A recent move from suburban New York City to Portland, Maine, puts him in the sweet spot for his genealogy work. As a trustee of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Toby is deeply involved in preserving and promoting genealogy and history in the region. He’s completing his term as president of a local historical society, and he hopes to become involved in Maine’s genealogy scene.

Morrison "Toby" Webb, CG

Morrison “Toby” Webb, CG

His work career provided experience relevant to genealogy. “I am a retired lawyer and business executive. My legal background is of obvious help to my genealogical research; it makes land records, tax records, and probate records far easier to understand. But the business background is helpful, too. Focus and strategic planning are business skills easily transferable to family research planning.” Previous concerns that retirement would result in a loss of community have been banished as Toby has discovered new colleagues at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), the Boston University genealogy program, a ProGen study group, and local genealogical societies. “In our study, we are blessed to have a well-linked circle of like-minded scholars.” He enjoys the historical aspect of genealogical research. “I find no better way of understanding history than by acknowledging that historic acts are nothing more than the choices of individuals trying to address the problems of life in the context of their times. Studying individuals helps me understand the greater ‘forces’ of the past.”

Toby says the process of preparing his portfolio had a positive effect on his work habits. “As I first dealt with any new source, I drafted the citation I would use later. That change in my process means both that I am certain I have gathered all the citation information I will need and that I will only have to draft the citation once.” He had a difficult time finding an example of proof by indirect evidence for his case study. He was looking for such a problem among New England Quakers, but their extensive records continually frustrated his search for missing information—a problem many of us would like to have. “I finally chose to resolve a conflict between two items of direct evidence, but one of my judges thought the conflict not significant enough to meet the case study requirement.”

Toby has advice for those considering applying for certification. “The advice given to me was crucial: do your research before you begin the application process. In addition, having carefully read the deep evaluations of my submission, I would advise that applications are taken very seriously by the reviewers and the process is not one relatively new genealogists should undertake.” He did not pursue certification to become a professional genealogist. He’s interested in writing and publishing on subjects that interest him personally.

Family historian and public health specialist Lemuel Shattuck of Boston is Toby’s genealogical hero. “He shaped the 1845 Boston census to list every person and then was called to Washington to help design the 1850 U.S. Census. Without his work, we would not have the every-name federal censuses that began in 1850.”

Recently Toby was confronted with a reality of twenty-first century research. Information in the family Bible went as far back as his third-great Webb grandfather. Toby’s careful research finally revealed that man’s parents and carried the line back to the immigrant ancestor. Then, as Toby relates the tale, “In the course of my research, I met a fifth cousin. We posed together at the grave of our shared ancestor and eventually we both had our DNA tested. His sample is consistent with most other samples in the Webb surname DNA project; mine is entirely different. Somewhere in the last five generations, I have a misattributed paternity. Finding where that was has proven to be my most interesting personal challenge.”

We wish Toby well in pursuit of that unknown lineage, and congratulate him on attaining certification.

Nora Galvin, CG

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

BCG Offers Free Webinar: “The Genealogy in Government Documents” by Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

BCG OFFERS FREE WEBINAR Tuesday, 18 April, 8:00 p.m. Eastern “The Genealogy in Government Documents” by Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA

An often under used resource, evidence of kinship abounds in publications such as the Serial Set, American State Papers, and the Territorial Papers. We explore these publications and discover efficient ways to access them.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) will present “The Genealogy in Government Documents” by Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, free to the public at 8:00 p.m. EDT, 18 April 2017.

Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA, is a long-time researcher and instructor in genealogical topics. Rick is also a retired colonel having served 31 years in the U.S. Army. He coordinates the Using Maps in Genealogy course at the Institute of Genealogy and Historical Research (IGHR), and instructs in the Advanced Methodology, Techniques and Technology, and Advanced Military courses. Rick and his wife Pam coordinate the advanced land course and Researching in Washington, DC, without Leaving Home offered by the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy (SLIG) and the advanced land course at the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP). Rick co-coordinates with Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL, the Law School for Genealogists at GRIP and the FHL Law Library course at SLIG. He also lectures at national conferences and presents nationwide seminars. His areas of expertise encompass records of the National Archives, the Bureau of Land Management, and the Daughters of the American Revolution, including military records, land records, using maps in genealogy, urban research, and government documents. Rick is experienced in the localities of western Pennsylvania and Ohio. Rick is also a trustee of the Board for Certification of Genealogists.

“We are pleased to offer these educational opportunities to the community,” said President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG. “The Board for Certification of Genealogists strives to foster public confidence in genealogy by promoting an attainable, uniform standard of competence and ethics. Educating all family historians of every level is part of this mission.”

Register for “The Genealogy in Government Documents” by Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, FUGA before 18 April 2017 at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/3315192862998203905.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information contact: office@BCGcertification.org.

View BCG’s past Legacy webinars at http://familytreewebinars.com/bcg  and http://bcgcertification.org/blog/bcg-webinars. For more information on educational opportunities, please visit: http://www.BCGcertification.org/certification/educ.html.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Cari A. Taplin, CG

BCG Offers Free Webinar: “Are You My Grandpa? Men of the Same Name” by Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG

BCG OFFERS FREE WEBINAR Tuesday, 21 March, 8:00 p.m. Eastern  “Are You My Grandpa? Men of the Same Name” by Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG

This lecture reviews tactics for sorting our ancestors from other men or women of the same name in the same general time period and location.  Several case studies show how these methods were effective.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) will present “Are You My Grandpa? Men of the Same Name” by Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, free to the public at 8:00 p.m. EDT, 21 March 2017.

Rebecca Whitman Koford holds a Certified Genealogist credential. Her focus is in American research with special emphasis in Maryland. She has been taking clients and lecturing since 2004. She has spoken for the National Genealogical Society Conference, Maryland State Archives, and for groups in Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and Delaware. She is a board member of the Maryland Genealogical Society and volunteers at the Family History Center in Frederick, Maryland. She has published articles in the NGS Magazine and the Maryland Genealogical Society Journal. She is a graduate of the ProGen Study Group, an online peer-led study program based on the book Professional Genealogy by Elizabeth Shown Mills; she was appointed ProGen Administrator in January 2015. Rebecca is currently very enthusiastic about the Society of Preservation Patriots project sponsored by FGS, an effort to digitize original military records from the National Archives. Rebecca lives in Mt. Airy, Maryland, with three active teenagers and a very patient husband.

“We are pleased to offer these educational opportunities to the community,” said President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG. “The Board for Certification of Genealogists strives to foster public confidence in genealogy by promoting an attainable, uniform standard of competence and ethics. Educating all family historians of every level is part of this mission.”

Register for “Are You My Grandpa? Men of the Same Name” by Rebecca Whitman Koford, CG, before 21 March 2017 at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/6102864957247405057.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information contact: office@BCGcertification.org.

View BCG’s past Legacy webinars at http://familytreewebinars.com/bcg  and http://bcgcertification.org/blog/bcg-webinars . For more information on educational opportunities, please visit: http://www.BCGcertification.org/certification/educ.html.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Cari A. Taplin, CG

 

BCG OFFERS FREE WEBINAR: “Weaving DNA Test Results into a Proof Argument” by Karen Stanbary, CG

This lecture will illustrate how to integrate each element of the Genealogical Proof Standard in a proof argument that relies heavily on autosomal DNA test results to answer a relationship research question. The examples are drawn from “Rafael Arriaga, A Mexican Father in Michigan: Autosomal DNA Helps Identify Paternity” from the National Genealogical Society Quarterly (June 2016).

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) will present “Weaving DNA Test Results into a Proof Argument” by Karen Stanbary, CG, free to the public at 8:00 p.m. EDT, 21 February 2017.

Karen Stanbary, CG, holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from the University of Chicago. She specializes in Midwestern, Chicago, and Mexican research as well as complex problem-solving and DNA analysis. A regular instructor in Chicago’s Newberry Library Adult Education program, Karen lectures on topics including Genetic Genealogy, Advanced Genetic Genealogy, and the Genealogical Proof Standard.  She is a faculty member at GRIP, IGHR, and SLIG. She published a complex evidence case study incorporating traditional documentary research and autosomal DNA analysis in the June 2016 issue of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly.

She holds the Certified Genealogist credential from the Board for Certification of Genealogists where she serves on the Genetic Genealogy Standards committee.

President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, says, “The Board for Certification of Genealogists is proud to offer this new webinar as part of an ongoing series that supports our mission to provide education for family historians. This webinar will address genealogy standards for research. By promoting a uniform standard of competence and ethics BCG endeavors to foster public confidence in genealogy.”

Register for “Weaving DNA Test Results into a Proof Argument” by Karen Stanbary, CG, before 21 February 2017 at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/1253173154332404739.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information contact: office@BCGcertification.org.

View BCG’s past Legacy webinars at http://familytreewebinars.com/bcg and http://bcgcertification.org/blog/bcg-webinars and here. For more information on educational opportunities, please visit: http://www.BCGcertification.org/certification/educ.html.

Cari A. Taplin, CG

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

BCG Offers Free Webinar: “Writing Up Your Research” by Michael J. Leclerc, CG

BCG OFFERS FREE WEBINAR Tuesday, 17 January, 8:00 p.m. Eastern “Writing up your Research” by Michael J. Leclerc, CG

Writing up our research is the best way to preserve it. This presentation will examine different ways of writing and publishing, from blogs to books.

The Board for Certification of Genealogists (BCG) will present “Writing up your Research” by Michael J. Leclerc, CG, free to the public at 8:00 p.m.EDT, 17 January 2017.

Michael J. Leclerc, CG, is an internationally renowned genealogist. He has authored numerous articles for genealogy magazines and scholarly journals, and is a popular presenter at conferences and seminars around the world.

Michael worked in a variety of capacities at the New England Historic Genealogical Society for 17 years prior to joining Mocavo as Chief Genealogist in 2012. He left there in 2015 to start Genealogy Professor ( www.genprof.net), where he helps to provide genealogy education opportunities to family historians. He has edited several books, including Genealogical Writing in the 21st Century: A Guide to Register Style and More, Second Edition, with Henry Hoff, and the fifth edition of the seminal guidebook Genealogist’s Handbook for New England Research. He was a contributing editor for American Ancestors magazine, and a consulting editor for The New England Historical and Genealogical Register. Michael has served on the boards of the Association of Professional Genealogists and the Federation of Genealogical Societies. You can reach him at www.mjleclerc.com and www.Facebook.com/michaeljleclerc.

President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, says, “The Board for Certification of Genealogists is proud to offer this new webinar as part of an ongoing series that supports our mission to provide education for family historians. This webinar will address genealogy standards for research. By promoting a uniform standard of competence and ethics BCG endeavors to foster public confidence in genealogy.”

Register for “Writing up your Research” by Michael J. Leclerc, CG, before17 January 2017 at: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/7771888423857682691.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information contact:office@BCGcertification.org.

View BCG’s past Legacy webinars at http://familytreewebinars.com/bcg and http://bcgcertification.org/blog/bcg-webinars. For more information on educational opportunities, please visit:http://www.BCGcertification.org/certification/educ.html.

Cari A. Taplin, CG

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

 

Coming from OnBoard, January 2017

OnBoard: Newsletter of the Board for Certification of Genealogists is scheduled to publish in January 2017. We’re pleased to offer a preview of some of its content.

OnBoard Jan 2017 masthead

 

“The Role of Background Context in Document Analysis”

Most family historians have found documents that contain puzzling or unexpected information. Document analysis is an essential skill needed for successful genealogical research. Melinda Daffin Henningfield, CG, shows how expanding our research to include background context can help us to meet the first element of the Genealogical Proof Standard and to solve our family mysteries.

“Genealogy Ethics and the Call for Diversity”

Drawing from principles set out in the Genealogist’s Code,[[1]] LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, LLM, CG, begins a conversation about the call for diversity in the field of genealogy. Her article explores a timely question of crucial importance to genealogy as a profession and to the diverse members of our community.

OnBoard publishes three issues per year. A subscription is included in annual associate fees and is provided to applicants “on the clock.” Subscriptions are also available to the general public for $15.00 per year (currently) through the BCG website, here <http://www.bcgcertification.org/catalog/bcgitems.html>. Issues back to 1995 can also be ordered online, here <http://www.bcgcertification.org/catalog/backordlst.html>.

 

[1] Board for Certification of Genealogists, Genealogy Standards (Nashville, Tenn.: Ancestry, 2014), Appendix A: The Genealogist’s Code, 45–48.

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

BCG Webinars for 2017

The Board for Certification of Genealogists is proud to announce its webinar line-up for 2017. All webinars will be broadcast by Legacy Webinars, and held on the third Tuesday of the month at 8pm Eastern. The webinar schedule is as follows:

– 17 January – Michael Leclerc, CG, “Writing up your Research”
– 21 February – Karen Stanbary, CG, “Weaving DNA Test Results into a
Proof Argument”
– 21 March – Rebecca Koford, CG, “Are You My Grandpa? Men of the Same
Name”
– 18 April – Rick Sayre, CG, CGL, “The Genealogy in Government Documents”
– 16 May – Debbie Parker Wayne, CG, CGL, “MAXY DNA: Correlating mt-at-X-Y DNA
with the GPS”
– 20 June – Elissa Scalise Powell, CG, CGL, “Beating the Bushes: Using the
GPS to Find Jacob Bush’s Father”
– 18 July – Angela Packer McGhie, CG, “Analyzing Documents Sparks Ideas
for Further Research”
– 15 August – LaBrenda Garrett-Nelson, JD, CG, “Analyzing Probate Records of
Slaveholders to Identify Enslaved Ancestors”
– 19 September – Tom Jones, PhD, CG, CGL,”When Does Newfound Evidence
Overturn a Proved Conclusion?”
– 17 October, David Ouimette, CG, CGL,“Databases, Search Engines, and the
Genealogical Proof Standard”
– 21 November – Malissa Ruffner, JD, CG, “Research in Federal Records:
Some Assembly Required”
– 19 December – Judy Russell, JD, CG, CGL, “The Law and the Reasonably
Exhaustive (Re)Search”

President Jeanne Larzalere Bloom, CG, says, “The Board for Certification of Genealogists is excited to offer this webinar series that supports our mission to provide education for family historians. These webinars will address genealogy standards for research. By promoting a uniform standard of competence and ethics, the BCG endeavors to foster public confidence in genealogy.”

To register for any of these webinars, please visit our page at Legacy Family Tree Webinars: http://familytreewebinars.com/BCG.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. For more information contact:
office@BCGcertification.org.

View BCG’s past Legacy webinars at http://familytreewebinars.com/BCG and http://BCGcertification.org/blog/bcg-webinars. For more information on BCG’s education opportunities, please visit:
http://www.BCGcertification.org/certification/educ.html.

Cari A. Taplin, CG

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Diverse Communities: Finding Irish Immigrant Origins

Finding Irish Immigrant Origins

by Laura Murphy DeGrazia, CG, FGBS[1]

The United States is a nation of immigrants, and most people who research them hope to eventually learn from where those immigrants came. Successfully identifying an Irish immigrant’s point of origin depends on factors such as the immigrant’s religion, occupation, relative wealth, social prominence, migration path, and place of settlement; the period of immigration; and unique qualities of the given name and surname.

All the commonly used sources should be considered when tracing an Irish immigrant, but the usefulness of some of those sources may be limited:

  • Many poor famine-era Irish settled in cities and did not own property, and therefore might not be found in deeds, real estate tax rolls, or probate records.
  • Arrival and naturalization records from the period in which the majority of Irish immigrants came to the United States contain less detail than those for later periods.
  • Most Irish immigrants were Roman Catholic. Depending on the diocese, Catholic sacramental registers may be in local custody with access restricted to parish staff. Locating and using church records, therefore, can be challenging.
  • City dwellers with common names are difficult to distinguish in directories and censuses, as many of them had similar occupations.

Irish places of origin are sometimes mentioned in obituaries, carved on grave markers, or listed in sacramental registers. While many vital, census, and military records state only “Ireland” as a place of birth, occasionally something more specific is found. Some researchers may never discover a source that names the place of origin; others may encounter multiple records identifying the place.

Irish immigrants typically had close ties to their places of origin. They identified with their townlands or towns. They may have settled near and socialized with other people who came from the same area. In some cases this was a result of “chain migration,” where later immigrants chose a place of settlement based on information received from those who went earlier. Frequently, the earliest immigrant in an Irish family was a young, single woman who could find employment as a live-in domestic servant—and therefore was able to save most of her earnings to pay for passage for another member of her family.

When no source is found naming an Irish place of birth, records related to the immigrant’s network of associates should be explored. An immigrant’s siblings, cousins, or other relatives may have settled in different areas and created different types of records that provide helpful information. A family member who was well-to-do may have been able to afford a grave marker naming a point of origin. A poor relative may have been admitted to an almshouse where records document a place of birth. Even searching for known family members who remained in Ireland can help pinpoint an immigrant’s roots.

Networks of associates extend beyond family. Witnesses, sponsors, co-workers, neighbors, fellow parishioners, and friends may have ties to the immigrant’s home. Some urban neighborhoods comprised people with common origins; some rural settlements were the result of group migration. Studying the history of the immigrant’s new home may provide general information, if not specifics, about a point of origin. Immigration history can also offer clues. For example, approximately two-thirds of the Irish who came to the United States between the end of the Revolutionary War and 1814 were from Ulster province.[2]

Most of the population of Ireland remained in one location for generation after generation, so identifying a place in which a surname occurred historically can lead to successful identification of a point of origin. Some names, such as Kelly, are found all over Ireland, but others are found in specific counties or regions. If the immigrant’s family and associates include several people with surnames that can be linked to the same general area in Ireland, strong indirect evidence exists of a connection to that area.

Whether there is direct evidence about an immigrant’s point of origin, a few hints pointing to a general area, or no clue whatsoever, eventually Irish sources should be added to the research plan. As in United States research, records that are available and relevant depend on the specific situation: time period, location, religion, social status, and relative wealth. If a specific place is known or suspected, sources unique to that place should be pursued. Grenham’s Tracing Your Irish Ancestors and Ryan’s Irish Records include county-by-county lists of sources, and Flyleaf Press (http://www.flyleaf.ie/) publishes a series of books addressing research in select Irish counties. Most Irish counties have one or more heritage centres staffed by people who are knowledgeable about resources for that area.

If little to no information is known about the immigrant’s home in Ireland, priority should be given to sources covering a large part of the population and having broad-ranging indexes, such as church records and civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths.

Civil registration of vital events began in 1864 for all of Ireland,[3] and indexes cover the entire country.[4] Immigrants who left Ireland after the start of civil registration, therefore, can more easily be linked to their Irish origins than those who left earlier. Uncommon names are easier to work with and the more information that is known (about both the subject and his or her family) the better the chance for success. If an immigrant couple married in Ireland after the start of civil registration, then cross-referencing the surnames of the bride and groom in the index can sometimes point to an Irish area of interest. If the immigrant left before the start of civil registration, a search for records of siblings, cousins, or other relatives who remained in Ireland may prove worthwhile. Indexes are available through FamilySearch.org, Findmypast.com, Rootsireland.ie, IrishGenealogy.ie, and the General Register Office of Northern Ireland. IrishGenealogy.ie’s indexes link to images of the original records in many cases; additional images will be added in the future.

Church records cover a period prior to the start of civil registration, but finding and using the records is not always straightforward. Starting dates, coverage, and record locations vary. In rural Ireland, Roman Catholic registers begin about 1820, but most parishes have gaps in coverage. Presbyterian ministers were required to keep records beginning in 1819; registers predating that year are rare. Those from Church of Ireland parishes have earlier starting dates, but many were lost in the 1922 fire at the Public Records Office.

Indexes and abstracts of Irish church records are available online. It is sometimes possible to locate a church record of a baptism or marriage when nothing more than names and approximate dates are known. For example, Rootsireland.ie and IrishGenealogy.ie offer indexes to collections of Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, Methodist, Presbyterian, and other churches. Ancestry.com and Findmypast.com provide indexes to digitized Roman Catholic registers found in the National Library of Ireland. Given their individual strengths and weaknesses, it is wise to check all known indexes.

Censuses for 1901 and 1911 are available for all of Ireland, but only fragments of earlier censuses survive. Existing census records may be searched using an index at the website of the National Archives of Ireland.[5]

Valuation records were compiled beginning in the nineteenth century. They were used to establish a uniform assessment of property to determine the amount of tax due. Records identify each holding’s occupier and immediate lessor. If an immigrant’s place of origin is not known, these country-wide tax valuation records can be used to identify places where the surname was found. John Grenham’s “Irish Surnames” tool allows users to search for civil parishes in which one or more related surnames appear together, offering a clue about possible origins.[6]

Sources and strategies for researching Irish immigrants in the United States are similar to those used for researching other immigrant groups, but identifying the immigrants’ points of origin can be more complicated than for later-arriving groups. Determining an immigrant’s Irish birthplace usually requires extensive research in U.S. records, studying the immigrant’s network of associates, and using indexed Irish records to pinpoint places of potential interest. Success sometimes comes quickly, but more often it requires hard work and careful analysis.

 

Suggested Reading

Books

Falley, Margaret Dickson. Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research: A Guide to the Genealogical Records, Methods, and Sources in Ireland. 3 vols. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1980.

Grenham, John. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide. 4th ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 2012.

Miller, Kerby A. Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America. New York: Oxford University Press, 1985.

Radford, Dwight A., and Kyle J. Betit. A Genealogist’s Guide to Discovering Your Irish Ancestors: How to Find and Record Your Unique Heritage. Cincinnati: Betterway Books, 2001.

Reilly, James R. Richard Griffith and His Valuations of Ireland. Baltimore: Clearfield, 2007.

Ryan, James G. Irish Church Records: Their History, Availability, and Use in Family and Local History Research. 2nd ed. Glenageary, County Dublin, Ireland: Flyleaf Press, 2001.

———. Irish Records: Sources for Family and Local History. Rev. ed. Dublin: Flyleaf Press/Ancestry, 1999.

 Journals and Magazines

The Irish at Home and Abroad.

Published 1993–1999. For a subject index, see “Index to The Irish at Home and Abroad,” FamilySearch Wiki (https://familysearch.org/wiki/en/Index_to_The_Irish_at_Home_and_Abroad ).

The Irish Genealogist.

Published by the Irish Genealogical Research Society (http://www.irishancestors.ie/?page_id=437). For a name index, 1937–2001, see http://www.irishancestors.ie/?page_id=3039 .

Irish Lives Remembered.

http://www.irishlivesremembered.ie

Irish Roots.

http://www.irishrootsmedia.com

Blogs

Buggy, Joseph. Townland of Origin: Irish Genealogical Research in North America (blog). http://www.townlandoforigin.com

Grenham, John. Irish Roots (blog). http://www.johngrenham.com/blog/

Moughty, Donna. Donna’s Irish Genealogy Resources (blog). http://moughty.com/blog/

Santry, Claire. Irish Genealogy News (blog). http://www.irishgenealogynews.com

Websites

General Register Office. https://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/General-Register-Office.aspx

General Register Office of Northern Ireland. https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/information-and-services/family-history-heritage-and-museums/research-family-history-general

Grenham, John. Irish Ancestors. https://www.johngrenham.com

Irish Family History Centre. https://irishfamilyhistorycentre.com

Irishgenealogy.ie. http://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/

National Archives of Ireland. http://www.nationalarchives.ie

Irish Essay Writing Service. https://topgradeessay.com

National Library of Ireland. http://www.nli.ie

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/proni

RootsIreland.ie. http://www.rootsireland.ie

Santry, Claire. Irish Genealogy Toolkit. http://www.irish-genealogy-toolkit.com

Waldron, Paddy. Irish Civil Registration: How to Find Records of BMDs etc. http://pwaldron.info/CivilReg.html

 

[1] With thanks to Polly FitzGerald Kimmitt, CG, and Suzanne McVetty, CG, FGBS, for their helpful suggestions. All URLs were valid as of 6 December 2016.

[2] Kerby A. Miller, Emigrants and Exiles: Ireland and the Irish Exodus to North America. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1985), 169–70.

[3] Non-Catholic marriages, however, were recorded beginning in 1845.

[4] Northern Ireland was formed in 1922. Beginning that year, vital records for the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are separate.

[5] “Census of Ireland 1901/1911 and Census fragments and substitutes, 1821–51,” National Archives of Ireland (http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/).

[6] John Grenham, “Irish Surnames,” Irish Ancestors (https://www.johngrenham.com/surnames/).

 

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.

Congratulations, Robert Johnson, CG!

Robert Johnson became Associate #1076 in June, 2016. A native of Minnesota he currently lives in Springfield, Virginia, a suburb of Washington, D. C.

Robert Johnson, CG

Robert Johnson, CG

Living in the mid-Atlantic area, he does research in that region, which is the home of many of his mother’s ancestors, folks who were mainly English, Scots-Irish, Irish, German and French-Canadian. He makes good use of his proximity to the National Archives. His heart, though, is in the Upper Midwest and his father’s Scandinavian ancestry which is Bob’s area of focus and expertise. He speaks Swedish and does translation work in addition to genealogical research. He has a J. D. degree and is a practicing attorney but will soon be moving back to Minnesota to be a full-time genealogist doing Scandinavian research. His business website is www.swedishamericangenealogy.com.

Bob completed a host of courses before applying for certification: the Boston University Certificate Program; the Council for the Advancement of Forensic Genealogy Forensic Genealogy Institute (CAFG FGI); the Genealogical Institute on Federal Records (Gen-Fed); the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh (GRIP); and the National Genealogical Society (NGS) Home Study Course. He says the classes had an impact: “I have absolutely made numerous changes in how I present my work products and myself to clients over the course of preparation for acquiring certification.” When asked about the difficulty of preparing a portfolio, Bob replied, “I think the standards and emphasis on rigorous analysis gets you to 90%, but the last 10% is the art of the profession. Feeling sufficient confidence in presenting my work to judges for evaluation made the process seem harder for me.” But, his advice is: “Certainly ensure that you have done everything recommended by BCG, but then just do it—submit your portfolio. I, and many friends and acquaintances, stayed on the clock or in preparation, for far too long. I still would have preferred to wait until my portfolio and I were both perfect, but apparently even today that is at least a few weeks away yet.” Nevertheless, we see he has achieved certification.

Many genealogists have “former lives.” Bob says, “I have worked in law and history fields and both have been significant in helping me to develop analytic and research skills. I also trained as a chef, the skills of which have come in handy at a few society/association meetings where an injection of sugar is just the fix for overworked volunteers.” For him “genealogical research is like a great mystery where I get to act as the detective. I love that it is not easy and that I have to puzzle through new things, about which I have to learn. The combination of solo work backed by a network of supportive colleagues fits my employment temperament exactly.”

Calling himself an eternal optimist, Bob does not use the term “brick wall.” Bringing the standard of “reasonably exhaustive research” to mind, he looks at difficult research problems as projects that simply need more time devoted to them.

There are a few other things we need to know about Bob. “When not searching for ancestors who seem to try and avoid me, I am searching after birds that fly away from my attempts at photographing them, or I am stalking trout that swim away from my well-crafted and gently-cast flies. I am afraid to walk on the gratings on city sidewalks. And when I have the time, I read good books and watch terrible B-Horror films.”

Good luck with your transition to full-time genealogy, Bob, and congratulations!

by Nora Galvin, CG

The words Certified Genealogist are a registered certification mark, and the designations CG, CGL, and Certified Genealogical Lecturer are service marks of the Board for Certification of Genealogists®, used under license by board certificants after periodic evaluation.