On Sunday 8th August, at the Celtic Club in Melbourne, the Irish Ancestry Group (Genealogical Society of Victoria) presented the 2010 Irish Ancestry Seminar.
The seminar featured 3 speakers, Gregory O’Connor (Higher Archivist at the National Archives of Ireland), Dr Kevin Molloy (Manuscripts Librarian at the State Library of Victoria) and Linley Hooper (Genealogical Society of Victoria)
Gregory O’Connor spoke about the resources available for family history research at the National Archives of Ireland. Irish Genealogical research can be particularly difficult due to the lack of surviving records (95% of the Public Record Office collection was destroyed by a fire in the 1922 Irish Civil War). Due to the record shortage, Gregory highlighted the importance of the 1901 and 1911 Irish Census returns for genealogical research. These census returns are now available online .
If you’re contemplating a visit to Ireland, Gregory suggested a number of resources (held in Ireland Archives), including:
– House, Quarto, Tenure, Field & Miscellaneous Books (Griffith’s Valuation)– unpublished notebooks of the valuers have in the most part survived and provide supplementary information to the Griffith’s Valuation.
– Wills and other testaments documents – there are some surviving records of transcriptions and abstracts that were created by paid genealogists for documents viewed before 1922. The majority of the original documents were destroyed in the 1922 fire.
-Landed Estate Court records – mid to late 19th century. Landlords who got into financial trouble could be compelled by their creditors to sell their estates under a petition to the court. Records name rent paying tenants.
– Catholic (Voter) qualification rolls indexes : 1778 -1790; 1793-1797
– Quit Rent Office – set up circa 1670 to administer Irish lands forfeited to the Crown in the 17th Century.
Dr Kevin Molloy, Manuscripts Librarian at the State Library, highlighted some of the lesser known Irish material housed in the Library’s collection. Including:
– Joseph Winter Papers housed in the Library’s Manuscripts Collection. Winter was the manager of the Melbourne Advocate 1871-1915 and the leading Melbourne figure in the Home Rule movement in Victoria and the Irish National League.
– Irish book collections acquired by the Library from various prominent Irish individuals in Australia.
Kevin also stressed the importance of the Irish – Australian newspapers, in particular the Melbourne Advocate and the Sydney Freeman’s Journal. These newspapers show a continuous published record of life for the Irish in Australia. They cover multiple facets (ie. social, economic, political…etc).
Linley Hooper gave an overview of Irish resources available at the Genealogical Society of Victoria. Members of the GSV can access electronic databases Ancestry, Irish Origins, Find My Past and Burke’s Peerage Online in the GSV Library. Linley also mentioned a new acquisition, Betham’s abstracts of wills and admons , which is on long term loan from the Church of the LDS.
Well done to the GSV Irish Ancestry Group, who did a wonderful job of organizing the 2010 Irish Ancestry Seminar. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for next year!