Interviewing Relatives Over the Holidays

How I regret not asking my mother and mother-in-law more questions about family history! They’re gone now, and it’s too late. Continue reading Interviewing Relatives Over the Holidays

Using Google for Genealogy Searches

We’re sometimes cautioned to look beyond the Internet in doing our family history research. Only a tiny portion of historical records are actually online. Nonetheless, we need to be certain we’ve completely “mined” the Internet and not missed a fleck of gold that could lead us to the motherlode. Continue reading Using Google for Genealogy Searches

A Treasure from Troy (PA)

Many Irish emigrating to America came via Canada and the St Lawrence River. Leaving the boat in Quebec, many found their way down Lake Champlain and the Hudson River to the Troy/Albany area of New York state.

The parish of St John’s Church in Albany became overwhelmingly Irish during the famine years. Recently, the old interment books of the St John’s cemetery were discovered, and the Troy Irish Genealogical Society (TIGS) has scanned and transcribed the deteriorating records. According to the TIGS website:

The 12,731 entries in the recovered book start with interments in August 1841 and go through September of 1887…

The one item in this interment book that will delight genealogy researches is the identification of the County in Ireland where many of the individuals came from. Generally in researching old records for Irish immigrants you only see the words Ireland and nothing further.

A breakdown of the Irish immigrants show the following:

Antrim 10
Kerry 76
Queens 114
Armagh 35
Kildare 38
Roscommon 159
Carlow 80
Kilkenny 195
Sligo 47
Cavan 307
Kings 114
Tipperary 458
Claire 62
Leitrim 28
Tyrone 91
Cork 376
Limerick 160
Waterford 83
Derry 22
Londonderry 5
Westmeath 138
Donegal 28
Longford 143
Wexford 131
Down 39
Louth 93
Wicklow 43
Dublin 52
Mayo 36
Ireland-No County 500
Fermangh 30
Meath 116
Galway 39
Monaghan 47

 The TIGS summary about the St John’s cemetery project is fascinating to read. But even more special, the database of 12,731 interments (1841-1887) is searchable online. You will definitely want to look at this if your ancestors passed through upstate New York:

AARP discount on Ancestry subscription

If you’re an AARP member, you can save 30% on your subscription. Continue reading AARP discount on Ancestry subscription

Butte, Ireland’s Fifth Province

Did any of your Irish immigrant ancestors work in American mines? Perhaps the coalfields of Pennsylvania, the copper mines in Michigan, or the gold mines of California or Alaska? Even more likely, they may have been drawn to the silver and copper mines in Butte, Montana. Continue reading Butte, Ireland’s Fifth Province

Irish Wedding Traditions

I happened upon an article about traditional Irish wedding customs found at Here are a few highlights, with acknowledgment and thanks to the Information about Ireland Site: Continue reading Irish Wedding Traditions

The best is underground?

I found a photocopy of this poem among some old cookbooks. Googling did not help me find the source, but here it is:  Continue reading The best is underground?

Nov/Dec issue of Irish Lives Remembered

The latest issue of the free genealogy e-magazine, Irish Lives Remembered, contains 70 pages of articles and photos. Here are a few highlights:

  • “Tracing Your Fermanagh Ancestors” provides resources and tips about researching in that county.
  • Irish family histories of Princess Charleen of Monaco and Seattle Mayor Ed Murray are shared.
  • Connecticut is the U.S. state featured in this issue, with an accompanying article about the Irish Regiment ‘The Ninth Connecticut Volunteers’.
  • Brian Mitchell has written an article about emigration to Australia from North West Ireland, 1830-1850.

Paging through the magazine, my attention was captured by the photo and article about Irish tenor John McCormack, as well as the story about young Lizzie Emerson who left Ireland for New Zealand in 1885. I’m always drawn to human interest stories and pictures of families.

You can read the Irish Lives Remembered articles or download the PDF at:



A Day of Remembrance

poppyToday is Veterans Day. We remember and extend our thanks to all who have served the United States in the armed forces.

The holiday originated at the end of World War I, when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed ‘Armistice Day’ to commemorate the signing of the armistice and the ceasefire that went into effect at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918.

In 1954 Congress voted to change the name of the holiday to Veterans Day. For a period in the 1970s, it was celebrated as a Monday holiday. Veterans Day is now observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week it falls.

The Commonwealth of Nations (formerly called the British Commonwealth) observes ‘Remembrance Day’ on November 11, recognizing members of their armed forces who have died in the line of duty. This year the dry moat at the Tower of London has been filled with 888,246 ceramic poppies. Poppies have long been associated with Remembrance Day (and Memorial Day in the U.S.), originating with the poem “In Flanders Field.”

The art installation, called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, was created by ceramic artist Paul Cummins and stage designer Tom Piper. Each of the 888,246 poppies represents a British military fatality during World War I. Since August poppies have been installed daily by a team of 8000 volunteers. They spill out a window of the tower and into the grass of the moat. On Remembrance Day the last poppy will be planted.

What an amazing site that must be! Here’s a link to photos:

Vivid Faces

As the season’s first snowstorm hits Minnesota, I’m wishing I’d already collected a pile of new books for winter reading. Today, John Grenham’s ‘Irish Roots’ column gives a strong recommendation to Vivid Faces: The Revolutionary Generation in Ireland 1890-1923. Continue reading Vivid Faces