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April 10, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
American Ancestors Guest Membership
The following comes from American Ancestors (by New England Historic Genealogical Society):

When you begin your journey to research your family's history, you're likely to face many challenges: narrowing down research options, identifying what databases to use and validating sources for accuracy. At every step, having the right tools to organize your research will be vital. American Ancestors has the essential tools for well-organized genealogical research. 


Become a Guest Member to download free family tree charts, research guides, family group sheets, research logs, census comparison charts, and register style templates. 

Read more about the free templates, charts and other resources here.
Sign up for a free American Ancestors Guest Membership here.
April 7, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Upcoming IGSI webinars and hybrid events
Following are IGSI events you can attend either LIVE or LATER:
Saturday, April 20 virtual - Shamrocks in Cyberspace: Irish Genealogy Databases
by Michael Brophy, professional and forensic genealogical researcher
10:30 AM - Noon CST (UTC-6)
$15 for IGSI members, $20 for non-members 
Information about our Irish ancestors is exploding on the internet. The best websites for Irish research will be explored and analyzed. Landmark additions of Catholic Church records and vital records are presented. Finding aids for further Irish research are assessed and critiqued in this tour of all that is happening with Irish re-sources in cyberspace.
The member Discount Code was emailed and is also posted on the member-only webpage (link).
Saturday, May 4 hybrid - Waves & Ripples: Irish Immigration Patterns To and Across North America
By Mary Wickersham, professional genealogist
A hybrid event with live audience at the…
Minnesota Genealogy Center, 1385 Mendota Heights Rd, Mendota Heights, MN
10:30 AM - Noon CST (UTC-6)
$15 for IGSI members, $20 for non-members 
Knowing your ancestors' arrival dates and places, along with tracking their movements within North America, will help you develop theories about their migration motives and guide your research. Mary will provide an overview of Irish migration patterns and demonstrate how to leverage this information for your search.
Mary started doing genealogy research professionally in 2003 after researching my own family history for over 20 years. She has lectured extensively, including immigration topics such as ship manifests, Ellis Island and Castle Garden, and naturalization records. She has extensive experience with Catholic Church records in the US and Ireland. She has language skills in Spanish, Italian, and Latin. She has experience with French Canadian records, Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, the Dakotas) vital records and other resources.
You can enjoy this presentation at the live event in Minnesota or as part of our virtual audience. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A and discussion until the scheduled end time, when the broadcast and recording will stop. Attendees at the live event can linger for social time after the program, and have the option of ordering a box lunch in advance during registration.
Registration for the live event is limited to 40 people. Tours of the Research Library and Irish Collection will be offered following the program, during the lunch and social time. There is no limit to the number of virtual attendees. The hybrid program will allow virtual attendees to unmute their microphone and camera for questions or discussion with the speaker following their presentation.
The webinar will be recorded, so all registrants will have access to the recording.
The member Discount Code was emailed and is also posted on the member-only webpage (link).
Saturday, June 22 hybrid - Researching a Mid-Nineteenth-Century Cork Family, from Wisconsin to Ireland
By Lois Abromitis Mackin, PhD, professional genealogist
A hybrid event with live audience at the…
Minnesota Genealogy Center, 1385 Mendota Heights Rd, Mendota Heights, MN
10:30 AM - Noon CST (UTC-6)
$15 for IGSI members, $20 for non-members 
An Irishman from Cork, born about 1845, settled in Wisconsin. Learn the records and methods we used to identify six of his eleven siblings in America, then trace the family back to Ireland, where we learned about his other five siblings and his parents.
Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D., is a professional genealogist focusing on American and British Isles research. Lois writes and teaches about genealogical records and methods, including DNA. She was a founding member of the Minnesota Genealogical Society DNA interest group. She supports several lineage societies at the state level and is a member of the Education Committee of the Irish Genealogical Society International.
You can enjoy this presentation at the live event in Minnesota or as part of our virtual audience. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A and discussion until the scheduled end time, when the broadcast and recording will stop. Attendees at the live event can linger for social time after the program, and have the option of ordering a box lunch in advance during registration.
Registration for the live event is limited to 40 people. Tours of the Research Library and Irish Collection will be offered following the program, during the lunch and social time. There is no limit to the number of virtual attendees. The hybrid program will allow virtual attendees to unmute their microphone and camera for questions or discussion with the speaker following their presentation.
The webinar will be recorded, so all registrants will have access to the recording.
The member Discount Code was emailed and is also posted on the member-only webpage (link).
All these webinars are recorded, so registrants can watch later as you choose.
Save these dates for upcoming Saturday morning webinars in 2024: Registration will open roughly 90 days prior.
  • July 20 - Michael Walsh, Irish Townland Valuations
  • August 17 - Paula Stewart-Warren, CG, FMGS, FUGA,
    Railroad Records and Railroad History: Methods for Tracking
  • September 28 - Tom Rice and Kathy Lund, What is a “Brick Wall”? –
    a hybrid event with a live audience at the MGC
  • October 19 – Jay Fonkert, Genealogy Detective Skills: Following Clues from the Census –               a hybrid event with a live audience at the MGC
  • November 16 -- Natalie Bodle, Using Irish Newspapers and Other Printed Material
I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took an excuse.
by Florence Nightingale, cited on page 17 by ES Mills & RB Lennon,
Tips & Quips for the Family Historian, 2017, Genealogical Publishing Co.
Education Team: Trish Little-Taylor & Walt Rothwell
Irish Genealogical Society International
1385 Mendota Heights Road Suite 100
Mendota Heights, Minnesota 55120 • USA
Visit our website at:
You can reach the IGSI Education team at
April 4, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Month of Star Tribune Archives for $.99
It's opening day of baseball season in Minnesota, and that brings a benefit for family historians!
The Star Tribune is partnering with to offer a one-month subscription to the Star Tribune Archives for only 99 cents.* While they market the deal as a way to "explore the rich history of the Minnesota Twins," one's research is not limited to baseball.
To learn more and get started, click here
*Offer ends 14 April 2024 at 11:59 PM MT. Offer available for new and returning subscribers and not for renewal of current subscription. Billed in one payment of $0.99 for a 1-month subscription to the Star Tribune archives on Newspapers.‌com. Your subscription will automatically renew at the current rate after the introductory offer. If you don't want to renew, cancel before your renewal date.
April 3, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Irish emigrant letter and memoirs
Thousands of Irish emigrant letters in a digital repository have been made available by the University of Galway for online public search.
The donated collection had been gathered by Kerby A  Miller, a U.S. history professor, during his five decades of researching the Irish diaspora's immigrant experience. The majority of the letters were sent from the U.S. back to Ireland, with most written between 1850 and 1950.
Here are snippets from letters shared by the University as the IMERSE project was launched:

“We have too many loved ones in the Cemetery here to leave them … We have been here a long time - and it is home to us now.” - Jane Crowe, writing to her brother in Roscommon in 1959. 


“... old people are very little thought of in this country, not even There own families have any regard for them when they become played out from age and my own is no Exception as I could not get 1 penny from any of mine but what I can earn myself...” - ditch-digger Patrick McKeown, writing home in 1904. 


“Ah Nora, It makes my very heart break when I think right of home … oh Nora I hate to think of it because I do be that homesick and lonely.” - Galway women writing home in 1921. 


“I do not care any thing at all about gone home.” “I was born in old Ireland but I am quite happy sometimes I never think I was in old Ireland at all. I never (even) think of it ... for I do not entend ever to see it.” - Thomas McCann, writing in October 1894.  

When searching the archive, one first sees an easy-to-read typed transcript, but the original letter can also be viewed. The user-friendly database allows queries to be customized in several ways. (Using the search term "Minnesota" returned 35 results.)
More of the Miller collection will become available as the project continues, and the University has appealed for more material to be donated.
Begin your search and read more about the IMERSE Project here.
April 2, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Great Famine in County Donegal
An outcome of the 2023 National Famine Commemoration in County Donegal was the commissioning of Dr. C. Hilary Mc Laughlin-Stonham to research and write about the famine. 
The resulting booklet, titled The Consequences will be fearful: The Great Famine in County Donegal, was distributed widely in paper format and has now been digitized. Its four essays on various historical aspects of the Famine in Donegal include:
  • The impact of the Great Famine on County Donegal
  • Life and Death in Letterkenny during the Great Famine
  • Inishowen Workhouse in a time of crisis
  • Emigration: Farewells and Beginnings
Anyone whose ancestors lived in Ireland during the 1840s will find this publication illuminating. The author provides detailed footnotes and a comprehensive list of resources. Begin reading here.
March 28, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
The Evans family of Delgany, Co Wicklow
Researching family history is compelling even when it’s not your own family!
My friend, who’s planning a trip to Ireland this fall, is especially interested in knowing more about her maternal line going back to her 2X great-grandmother, Abigail Evans (1833-1899). The word “matrilineal” could be defined by this relationship; Abigail was my friend’s mother’s mother’s mother’s mother.
Among her family records are a typed, multi-page narrative written by a great-aunt in the 1960s, including an old photograph of the ancestral home near Delgany, County Wicklow, where Abigail Evans grew up. The house was built circa 1830 and is still occupied. Shown below are an undated family photo (on the left) and a more recent photo (on the right) courtesy of the National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH) website. Visiting this property is assuredly on my friend’s itinerary in Ireland.
My research assistance focused on more traditional genealogy, i.e., people instead of buildings. I discovered an extraordinarily rich resource, the Anglican Research Project, self-described as an “ongoing endeavour to make the registers of baptism, marriage and burial from Church of Ireland parishes available in a digital format.”
Indexed transcripts of five volumes of Christ Church Delgany (Glendalough) baptism/marriage/burial records (1666-2000) can be searched online. I found the baptism record of Thomas “James” Evans, Abigail’s grandfather, who was born in 1778, as well as multiple BMD entries for members of the extended Evans family. A gold mine of details at my fingertips--and free!
Start here to find out what online baptism/marriage/burial records are currently hosted by the Representative Church Body (RCB) Library.
March 22, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
View April podcast
In the April edition (episode 2 of Season 10) of the “This month at the IGSI” podcast, genealogist Dave Miller begins the episode by providing the dates for the April “Irish Saturday” event, which is scheduled for April 9th.

Dave also talks about the April webinar that will be hosted by Michael Brophy. Michael’s presentation on April 20th is titled "Shamrocks in Cyberspace: Irish Genealogy Databases"!  Michael will discuss how information on our Irish ancestors is exploding on the internet and goes over the best websites for Irish research. Landmark additions such as Catholic Church records and vital records will be presented. Finding aids for further Irish research are also assessed and critiqued in this session. Dave lists all that is happening with Irish resources on the internet.

Dave also interviews a lady in Ireland who teaches the Irish language on the internet. She has developed programs that can be used at your leisure from beginner to advanced levels. These courses were started so that others around the world with Irish ancestry can not only learn and understand the terminology of the language but also understand the history and the culture behind the Irish language and its meaning. And she shows how to properly pronounce Gaeilge!

These stories and previous podcast episodes are available on the IGSI YouTube channel or by clicking Our podcasts at left.
March 21, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Alternative research methods
There's still time to register for this presentation:
Saturday, March 23 virtual –The Mysterious George Hunter: persistence & methodology prevail
by Joe Hunter, professional genealogist
10:30 AM - Noon CST (UTC-6)
$15 for IGSI members (with Discount Code); $20 for non-members  
Some ancestors can be so elusive that it seems they may have vanished intentionally.
Using alternative methods in your research can compensate for missing and incomplete records by uncovering ‘indirect evidence’ that may help break down those stubborn research mysteries.
Applying the Genealogy Proof Standard, we will consider the building blocks for approaching a “brick wall” challenge: a concise research hypothesis, plan, and strategy, the value of a timeline, and solid citations along the way.
Don’t create your own brick wall!  Case studies are learning opportunities to increase research skills and methodology. Success in finding your ancestor requires a toolkit of different strategies. Case studies show you step-by-step how to uncover clues, resolve conflicting information, and use the genealogical proof standard. It does not matter who the person was, where they lived, or what their religion was. A case study will present techniques the researcher used to find their ancestor.
The member Discount Code was emailed to members and is also posted on the member-only webpage (link).
March 16, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Watch "The Hanging Gale"
Have you seen the Irish Famine period drama "The Hanging Gale"?
Ireland Reaching Out recently recommended this BAFTA-nominated "oldie but goodie" as a must-watch for the diaspora. It's perfect for binge-watching on St Patrick's Day weekend. Ireland XO described it this way: 
"The Hanging Gale" (R15+) is a four-part TV mini-series set in Co. Donegal against the backdrop of Ireland's Great Famine in 1846.

It follows the story of a family's struggle to hold their farm when the potato blight struck their harvest for the second year in a row. The narrative is well-balanced, offering perspectives from both land agents and tenant farmers, and provides valuable insights for those of us curious about what our ancestors might have faced.

The title of the series, "The Hanging Gale," refers to a historical practice in Ireland in the time of our ancestors. A 'hanging gale' was when landlords gave new tenants a 6-month grace period on rent payment (with the expectation that the rent owed would be paid when the land's crops were harvested and sold).

Back then, tenant farmers paid their rents to landlords, half-yearly, on 'Gale Days' (typically May 1st and November 1st). It was a time for bringing what they had to market and for taking stock of what they needed to sustain themselves until the next harvest. As you can imagine, Gale Day was the bane of most tenant farmers' lives, especially during years of poor harvests.

Read more here.  The series is available for vewing--at no cost--via DAILYMOTION. (You'll need to register first.) 

WATCH Episode 1

WATCH Episode 2

WATCH Episode 3

WATCH Episode 4

March 14, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
IGSI Zoom social hour, Mar 18, 5:30 CDT
Don't forget to join us for a post-Saint Patrick's Day social hour on Zoom!
Monday, March 18, 5:30-6:30 pm CDT.
Use the QR code below or click here to join:
Meeting ID 838 3439 2087
Passcode 1919
March 9, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Trove of Guinness records free for 2 wks
Guinness hired generations of Dublinites to work in its brewery. Their personnel and trade ledgers covering 160 years have recently been digitized. For the first time ever, Ancestry is offering free viewing of this important collection for two weeks (March 8-22).
“No matter when your family left (Ireland), there is a possibility that you could make a connection. Or even if you have family that stayed, there’s a possibility that you can make a connection in this collection, and I just think that’s a huge boon for people,” says Crista Cowan, Ancestry's corporate genealogist.
Almost like a census substitute, the records date from 1799 to 1939. In addition to workers' names, details may include home addresses, occupations, spouses, children and marriages. One in 30 residents of Dublin worked for Guinness at one point in time.
Start your Ancestry search here.
Read about Guinness and what you might find among the 1.6 million records in this CNN article.
March 8, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Free Canadian records on Ancestry
Did your ancestors live in Canada? If so, you may want to clear your calendar for the coming week.

Through March 16 at 11:59 pm (ET), Ancestry is offering free, unlimited access to all its Canadian record collections. Click here to get started.

If you don't have an account, you'll need to register. No credit card required.

March 7, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Probate and land records are rich in genealogical details but often difficult and time-consuming to harness fully.
During RootsTech, FamilySearch opened an experimental query function that uses Artificial Intelligence to search every word of text in unindexed documents. Judy Russell, well-known as The Legal Genealogist, enthusiastically shared the news in her February 29 blog titled "GAMECHANGER!!"
Everyone is quick to caution that this function is still experimental and does not apply to all FamilySearch records; for now, it's just U.S. Land & Probate Records and Mexico Notary Records. While not perfect, this holds huge promise.
Drop what you're doing to read her posting here and try it out with one of your brick wall names.
March 5, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Birthplace of William Anderson
William Anderson was born in Ireland in 1868. Finding where sounds hopeless, right?
William (no middle name or middle initial) Anderson was the paternal grandfather of my friend, Margie. After coming to America as a young adult, William settled in Kansas City, married, raised a family, and died there in 1937.
Her question to me this weekend revolved around exactly where the family lived. I helped her decipher the census-taker's notes for 1910 and 1920. The censuses didn't tell the whole story, but Margie's research ultimately confirmed the families of her father (the Andersons) and her mother (the Blacks) resided on the same street in the 1920s. That's how her parents met! The two houses still stand on Lydia Ave, per Zillow.
While Margie didn't inquire of me about William Anderson's Irish origin, I couldn't resist looking. William's widow provided reliable birth details about him on his death certificate. Date of birth: April 7, 1868. Birthplace: Ireland. Parents: William Anderson and Elizabeth Fife. 
With that information, his birthplace was amazingly easy to find on FamilySearch:
Ancestry trees created by someone in England claim the townland is Ballylummin. No source is cited, but it seems reasonable based on this map from Ballylummin comprises just 1.78 acres.
February 29, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Leap Year Day
February 29 occurs only once every four years, and 2024 is the year. Irish folklore allows women to propose to their suitor on Leap Year Day.
Read more about the history of the silly tradition in this IrishCentral article.
February 25, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Resources for Beginning Irish Research
If you are just starting to research your Irish family history, Ireland Reaching Out has created a helpful post for you titled First Steps to Finding Your Irish Ancestors.
The Ireland XO website is totally free and a great resource for Irish research. Article topics are:
  • What’s in a name
  • Know your place
  • Read more
Each category includes helpful sources, with links to other website articles and additional information.
Thanks to a faithful blog reader for sharing this tip.
With St. Patrick's Day around the corner, now's a good time to dig into your Irish ancestry.
February 23, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
IGSI March Podcast available now
In the March edition (episode 2 of Season 9) of the “This month at the IGSI” podcast, genealogist Dave Miller begins the episode by providing the date for the March “Irish Saturday” event, scheduled for March 9th.
Dave also talks about the March webinar to be hosted by genealogist Joe Hunter. Joe’s presentation on March 23rd is titled The Mysterious George Hunter: persistence and methodology prevail! Joe will discuss breaking down the brickwalls when researching this elusive ancestor. Some ancestors can be very difficult to find. Joe will display alternative research methods that can compensate for missing and incomplete records. These ‘indirect evidence’ techniques may help break down those stubborn research mysteries. By applying the Genealogy Proof Standard, Joe will discuss how to establish the building blocks for approaching a “brickwall” challenge.
Dave also interviews three coordinators and planners for this summer’s Irish Festivals. They will talk about their plans for not only the month of March but also for this summer’s events and when they began the planning process for their Irish Festivals! Dave announces the dates for many of the Irish Festivals throughout the U.S.
View the March podcast here.
These stories and previous podcast episodes are available on the IGSI YouTube channel or by clicking on Our podcasts at left.
February 21, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
What was Irish life like in the 1800s?
Do you wonder what life was like for your Irish ancestor when they were living in Ireland?
In this week's "Letter from Ireland," Mike Collins recommends using the 1901 Irish Census as a starting point since much of that information reflects on how the Irish lived and worked in the 1800s. He goes on to describe common occupations.
Read more by clicking here.
While you're at the website, browse past topics and consider signing up to receive weekly letters from Mike and Carina Collins. Free and always enlightening!
February 18, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Free access to
How about spending part of your President's Day weekend researching newspapers? is offering free access until midnight MT tomorrow (1 a.m. Tuesday CT).
You will be asked to set up an account for free queries but should not be required to submit a credit card. 
February 13, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Free MyHeritage Marriage Records
To celebrate Valentine's Day, MyHeritage is granting free access to their marriage records February 13-17, 2024--that's 254 collections containing 746 milltion historical records.
In their words, "This is the perfect opportunity to dive into the love stories that marked the beginnings of new family branches. They typically reveal names, birth dates, places of birth, and residences of the bride and groom, often extending to details about their parents or the witnesses, who might be close family friends or relatives."


Search MyHeritage marriage records here.

February 12, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
'Ireland House' to open in Chicago
Announcement published in IrishCentral:

"Ireland’s Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin TD announced today, February 8, that the Irish Government will open a new ‘Ireland House’ in  Chicago later this year.

Ireland House, to be located on the city’s Michigan Avenue, will house the Consulate    General of Ireland together with representatives of Ireland’s economic and trade promotion agencies...

The announcement comes as the Tánaiste visits Chicago for a series of political, business, and community engagements. 

The opening of Ireland House in Chicago this autumn will coincide with the centenary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Ireland and the US." 

Read the rest of the IrishCentral article here.
Photo at right: The Chicago River is traditionally dyed green on St. Patrick's Day.GETTY IMAGES
February 11, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
John Grenham's Feb 24th webinar
IGSI's 2024 resolution: Onward with education and celebration.
You can attend live or later…

February 24 - Mapping Ireland's Records
by John Grenham (, a prominent resource for Irish ancestral research
10:30 AM - Noon CST (UTC-6)
$15 for IGSI members; $20 for non-members 
Placename and surname are two of the most important pieces of information for researching Irish family history.
Prominent scholar John Grenham returns to explore ways to visualize Irish locations in your record searching by utilizing his newly added map overlays with various record sources: households of surnames in Catholic records, Griffith’s valuation, Irish census records, as well as local records of birth-marriage-deaths. You will learn how the maps were created, and their use and importance to us now in shedding light on Irish ancestral places, surnames, and families.
The member Discount Code was distributed to IGSI members by email and is also posted on the member-only webpage (link).
February 8, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
IGSI post-Patrick's Day social hour
On Monday, March 18, IGSI will host a social hour and sharing session on Zoom. Please plan to join us!
Members and non-members welcome! No pre-registration required.
February 6, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Irish Language Translations
We are always grateful for topics and tips shared with us by readers.  The following handy info comes from Donna Jones, IGSI Co-President:
The In Irish website includes, “Phrases in the Irish Language.” The site includes, “audio recordings spoken by a human being, not a computer-generated voice.” 

The home page includes a list of “Top Irish Language Translations”. Click on the English word or phrase and the page has the Irish word and the phonetic pronunciation. Click on the speaker icon and hear the word or phrase spoken in Irish.

 If you scroll down the home page, you will find links to 62 pages of English words and phrases. Each page has around 100 words.
February 2, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Find a Grave -- 2023 in review
The Find a Grave community celebrates many accomplishments during 2023:
  • 13,704,945 memorials added 
  • 746,442 photo requests fulfilled
  • 20,735,482 photos added
  • 43,332,973 edits processed
Read about other Find a Grave stories and tips here.