Expert Workshops on Irish Genealogy

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Are you having difficulty tracing your Irish ancestors? Do you need to learn more about Irish family and social history and geography?

Ancestor Network, Ireland’s pre-eminent and most trusted genealogy research, advisory and publishing firm, is offering four online workshops by authoritative speakers in April and May 2021. Topics to be covered are ‘Introduction to Irish Genealogy Research’, ‘Land Records for Irish Genealogy Research’, ‘Irish Church Records’, and ‘Get the Best from Your Autosomal DNA Test – An Irish Perspective’

Participants registering will receive a free comprehensive list of Irish genealogy websites categorised into key research areas. Prices for the workshops are €30 each; Enrol for all four for €99; enrol for three for €79. Click here to book.

These online workshops will be presented via Zoom.

Introduction to Irish Genealogy Research
Thursday, 22 April, 5:00pm (Dublin), 12:00noon (US East Coast) –  Dr James Ryan

geneologyThis talk will be a general introduction to Irish records and how to access and use them. It will be well illustrated with examples. It will include an outline of the unique istrative divisions used for Irish record organisation. Having set the context, it will describe the content and availability of major comprehensive sources, i.e. Land Records; Censuses; Civil Birth, Marriage & Death records; and Church records, including their on-line access. It will also introduce other forms of record including: Gravestones, Commercial and social Directories, Wills, Newspapers, Deeds, Estate Papers and rentals; and published family and local histories. For each it will briefly describe the information contained, its relevance for family history; and their availability. This will include both web and other sources. It will also look at problems caused by variations in family & place names, explain the basis of this variation and provide some guidance on how to overcome them. It will also include an on-line demonstration of the major free websites. Click here to book

Land: Major Land Records

Wednesday, 28 April, 5:00pm, 12:00noon (US East Coast) – Aiden Feerick

This talk will delve into records dealing with land, its ownership and exploitation. Starting with the foundation of the Registry of Deeds in 1708, it will investigate the main land records from then until the present day. From the early years of the 18th century until the Famine gripped Ireland in the middle of the 19th century, was the heyday of the large and small estates on which our forebears lived. In the second half of the 19th century, many of these estates were bought through the Land Purchase Acts which enabled tenants to purchase the land. As well as talking about, Griffith’s Valuation, the talk will also discuss the Landed Estate Courts, the Land Commission, the Congested Districts Board and the Land Registry. It will also discuss the Property Registration Authority of Ireland (PRAI) and the role it plays in registration of land holding in today’s online world. Click here to book

Irish Church Records

Church RecordsThursday, 6 May, 5:00pm, 12:00noon (US East Coast) – Irish Church Records – Dr James Ryan

This talk will outline the records of the major Irish churches, i.e. Roman Catholic; Church of Ireland (Episcopalian or Anglican); Presbyterian and Quaker. Over 97% of the Irish were members of these churches in 1861, with some 80% being members of the Catholic Church. Some churches, notably Catholic and Church or Ireland, are spread throughout the country while others (e.g. Presbyterian) are mainly in Northern counties. The records of these churches are important sources of information on their members. However, their survival and quality is very variable due to the events of history and the vagaries of record-keeping practices. Churches and their members were affected in dramatically different ways by the events of Irish history. The churches also differed greatly in efficiency, and in the degree to which the rules for record-keeping were imposed. Finally, the format and content of their records, and their survival, was widely variable. This lecture will describe church history and organisation, and how this affected the types of records available. It will also detail where the records can now be accessed and demonstrate some of the major free websites of relevance. Click here to book

Get the Best from Your Autosomal DNA Test – an Irish Perspective
Monday 10 May, 7:00pm, 2:00pm (US East Coast) –  Claire Bradley

Are you thinking about taking a DNA test to help discover your Irish ancestors? Or perhaps you’ve recently taken one? More and more people have done so with one of the popular databases like Ancestry or 23andMe. Do you understand what those ethnicity results mean, and who are all those people who share some DNA with you? You might have a pot of gold sitting under your nose! This talk will explain what it all means and show you how to get the best out of your test by taking you through some easy steps. Click here to book

Biographies of the Expert Ancestor Network Speakers

Claire BradleyClaire Bradley
Claire Bradley is a genealogist based in Dublin, Ireland. She holds a Certificate in Family History from University College Dublin and is currently working towards an MA in the History of the Family at the University of Limerick. As well as taking on research for clients with Ancestor Network, Claire teaches a bi-annual adult education course in researching family history and regularly gives lectures to family and local history societies. She also volunteers with the Irish Genealogical Research Society and helps run the popular genealogy forum. Her particular interests are DNA testing, Irish Quakers and Dublin records.


Aiden Feerick
Aiden Feerick has a B.A. and a Certificate in Genealogy from University College, Dublin. He is a member of Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI), a member of the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) and a member of the Genealogical Society of Ireland (GSI). He is also joint founder and a Director of Ancestor Network Ltd.

With other members of the Ancestor Network team, Aiden has assisted and supported the National Library of Ireland in delivering genealogical advice to the many visitors who come to the library seeking to find their ancestors. He has helped them to trace their families using the Census, Civil and Church records and land records as well as commercial records and military records.

In recent years Aiden has planned and carried out a genealogy course for adult enthusiasts based on what is available online. This course is held at the Blackrock Further Education Institute. For the last several years, Aiden has helped many families in Ireland and throughout the English-speaking world to find their Irish ancestors and continues to do so.

James-RyanDr James Ryan
James Ryan Ph.D. is an author, speaker, writer and publisher who has been active in Irish genealogy for the past thirty-five years. He founded Flyleaf Press in 1987 which has since merged with Ancestor Network Ltd. Along with being editor of Flyleaf Press, he is a Director of Ancestor Network Ltd. His book ‘Irish Records’ (published by Ancestry Inc.) has been a standard guide for Irish genealogists since its publication in 1987. His research interests during this time have included church records, which resulted in his editing and publication of ‘Irish Church Records’ (see below) which provides the background to the creation and survival of these records.

He has lectured and taught extensively, and has given presentations to over thirty genealogy societies, mainly in the USA. On two occasions he presented one‐week courses on Genealogy at the Milwaukee Irish Summer School. He was also a professional family history researcher for many years, but in recent years has concentrated on lecturing and publishing and has published works by 12 genealogists. In recent times he has been researching Rentals (i.e. records of tenant agreements and rent payments). These are an extensive resource in Ireland due to the dominance of large estates as land‐owners. His own books include: Irish Records – Sources for Family & Local History, Ancestry Inc 1997; Tracing your Dublin Ancestors: Flyleaf Press, Dublin 2009; Irish Church Records, Flyleaf Press, Dublin 2001; Sources for Irish Family History, Flyleaf Press, Dublin; Tracing your Sligo Ancestors, Flyleaf Press, Dublin 2012

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