google-site-verification: google65e716d80989ba07.html The Armchair Genealogist: April 2011

Want to Build a Family History Legacy Book

Family Recipe Friday - Royal Wedding Scones

As you sit down to watch the Royal Wedding  and take in this historic moment, I felt a quintessential English recipe was the order of the day. 


Tea and scones are the perfect accompaniment for this day.  Since I have no English ancestors in my tree I found this video to share with you to make the perfect English scone. Whip them up, pour yourself a cuppa tea and enjoy the festivities. 


Brownies & Bars:
How To Make English Scones

A Unique Business Idea Evolves from A Love of Genealogy!


Last week the genealogy talk was about how one can turn their love of genealogy in to an income.  Today, I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to Danette Taylor. Danette is a painter and a genealogist. She has combined her two passions into a wonderful business idea – the Heritage Bracelet.

Danette can bring your family history to life in a hand painted bracelet.  These bracelets are unique and as individual as your family. They make great gift ideas for yourself, friends and family. Heritage Bracelets make great Mother’s Day gifts. If your planning a family reunion this summer, consider a Family Reunion Bracelet as a special gift or for your silent auction table.

Your custom bracelet can demonstrate the exclusive elements of your personal history. Elements like ancestral country flags, family emblems and even pictures of your ancestors. Danette can draw on your individual family history to make your one of a kind bracelet as distinctive as your family.



Below are some pictures of some of Danette’s bracelets, you can find more of her hand painted treasures at DR Taylor Designs. Tell her Lynn sent you. (I do not get a commission or any percentage of sales; I am merely doing this to give her a platform within our community. Please let her know that you saw them here.) 






Do You Have a Family Story You Wish to Publish?

I recently received this email and I thought I would share it with my fellow readers who are particularly interested in turning their family history into published works.  This is an opportunity to turn your genealogy research into a short story and have it read by a professional and perhaps make some money. In upcoming weeks we will talk more about turning your family history stories into published short stories or novels. 

Glimmer Train offers a number of competitions to encourage new writers an opportunity to get published.
One of the most respected short-story journals in print, Glimmer Train Stories has been represented in recent editions of the Pushcart Prize, O.Henry, New Stories from the South, New Stories from the Midwest, and Best American Short Stories.


This is their announcement for their upcoming competition based on family stories.  



Guidelines for the FAMILY MATTERS category:


We are interested in reading your original, unpublished short stories about family!

We don't publish stories for children, I'm sorry.

It's fine to submit more than one story or to submit the same story to different categories.
When we accept a story for publication, we are purchasing first-publication rights. (After we've published it, you can include it in your own collection.)

To make a submission: Please send your work via our new online submission procedure. 
It's easy, will save you postage and paper, and is much easier on the environment.
 

Just click the
 Submissions button  to get started!

Dates: 
The category will be open to submissions for one full month, from the first day through
 
midnight (Pacific time) of the last day of the month.
 Results will be posted at www.glimmertrain.org.

April. Results will be posted on June 30.
October. Results will be posted on December 31.

Reading fee:
$15 per story.

Prizes:
1st place wins $1,200, publication in Glimmer Train Stories, and 20 copies of that issue.
2nd-place: $500
3rd-place:$300

Other considerations:
Open to all writers.
Stories--about family--are specifically invited. Submissions to this category typically run 3,000 to 6,000 words, but can go up to 12,000 words.

This category has stimulated lots of questions about fiction/non-fiction/creative nonfiction, since many people have significant real-life stories they want to write. It seems to us that a substantial proportion of fiction submissions are heavily rooted in actual experience, which is entirely fine with us, but we do want stories to READ like fiction and anything we publish is presented as fiction. (Also, sticking too tightly to "truth" can limit the larger truth that fiction is able to reveal.) I would certainly recommend changing details that would allow the real-life people to say, Hey, that character is--without a doubt--me. I hope that makes sense.

We look forward to reading your work!

If you decide to submit let me know, and certainly let me know if you win! 

#genealogy, #family history, #memoirs 



Monday Morning Mentions

Monday Morning Mentions at the Armchair Genealogists is an opportunity to reflect on what has been happening at the Armchair Genealogist this past week and give a nod to some of my peers who captured my attention in the blogging community.


If you want to see what ranked in my Google Reader this week click, Google Reader Highlights 

You can also find me on Facebook. Stop by and leave a message. I often will link some great finds there as well. 


At the Armchair Genealogist this week, posts included the following: 



Each week I’m choosing four blogs that deserve a shout out, they will be in the form of 4 categories, Internet Genealogy, Family History Writing, a New Blog and a blog that posted a great old-fashioned family recipe. 
Internet Genealogy – a great genealogy or internet tip that will benefit any armchair genealogist
This week’s mention:

Your Irish Ancestors and the Titanic is a post at On a Flesh and Bone Foundation blog. This post offers a list of names of Irishmen who may be connected to the Titanic, either through the shipyard it was built in or through the passengers who died or those who never made the journey. 


Writing Your Family History – great advice or information on writing your family history
This week’s mention:

Since this week we did a lot of discussion amongst Geneabloggers about our careers in genealogy blogging this week's post lends itself to those discussions.  I've chosen a couple this week that I thought hit home. 

The Book Designer offers a post about turning your blog into a book coined  Blogging and Books: Four Questions from Nina Amir. In this post Joel a self-published author and blogger answers the questions with frankness. 

I also enjoyed this week  10 Tips for Writing Excellence from Top Writing Bloggers at Write to Done. If your looking to improve the writing on your genealogy blog then I think you will enjoy the great advice in this post and the links to 10 great bloggers. 

New Genealogy Blog – we will tip our hat to a newcomer who impresses us right out of the box
This week’s mention:  

This week I was very impressed with Who Does She Think She Is?  This blog is dedicated to the women in the authors family tree along with her struggles in uncovering their stories. A great approach! 

 
 
Family Recipe - a blog that makes us want to eat, and offers up a great old-fashioned family recipe to share on Family Recipe Friday.
This week's mention: 
This week's pick has to go to Patching My Family Together. Tess shares one of her Mother's bloopers, Cantaloupe Pie and one she made famous Enchilada Casserole in Family Recipe Friday-Enchilada Casserole and Cantaloupe Pie???? 
This week there was lots of talk in the genealogy community about careers in genealogy and making money. There were many great posts and Greta offers a good list on this week's newsletter, the link is below. There were also some great discussions on Twitter and Facebook. I particularly enjoyed several discussions on Marian Louis-Pierre's Facebook page. We shared some great conversations and ideas on making money in genealogy. 
You can find more newcomers at Thomas' list of New Genealogy Blogs at Geneabloggers.  For other great reads Randy at Genea-Musings offers the Best of the Genea-Blogs.  Greta did a great job of rounding up this week's talks on Careers in Genealogy, Greta’s Genealogy Bog offers Follow Friday Newsletter each week, click here for this week’s edition.

Have a great genealogy week, keep searching and writing!

Family Recipe Friday - Deviled Eggs

For as long as I can remember there have always been Deviled Eggs at our Easter Sunday celebrations. I have no idea whose ancestor first brought them to the table but they are here to stay.

My curiosity was peaked as to the history behind this dish.  Here's the history behind the name as told to me by Wiki-answers.

An Englishman by the name of William Underwood set up a small condiment business on Boston's Russia Wharf in 1822. It did pretty well both developing and selling new condiment products. Around 1868, Underwood's sons began experimenting with a new product created from ground ham blended with a mix of special seasonings. They introduced a product line of seasoned meat products including ham, turkey, chicken, lobster, and tongue. They called the seasoning process "deviling," and the Underwood "red devil" was born.

Today many other foods, including eggs and crab, are served "deviled." To be considered devilled, a food has to have a kick from something like Dijon mustard, hot sauce, cayenne pepper or chopped hot peppers.

Underwood's Deviling process holds U.S. Patent Office trademark NO. 82, granted in 1870, the oldest existing food trademark still in use in the United States. The exact"deviling" recipe remains a company secret to this day.

I’m not sure our family recipe has a kick to it but there never is a one left over when the festivities are done.

Deviled Eggs

Prepare hard-cooked eggs

Shell the eggs, cut them in halves, and remove the yolks. Crush the yolks with a fork and work them into a smooth paste with the following ingredients: 

Mayonnaise, season with salt, paprika and a little dry mustard

Fill the egg whites with the paste garnish with parsley or chives and a sprinkle of paprika.

If you’re so inclined to make them a little more festive for the day, you can dye them after you shell them. 
Prepare a cup of boiling hot water with a tbsp of vinegar and a couple of drops of food colouring (your choice of colour). Leave in for a couple minutes, remove let dry on a paper towel and then proceed with the devilling process. 

Happy Easter Everyone! 

My Career in Genealogy or Today I Made $1.28 !!

I consider myself a writer and an educator and I do the majority of that from the platform of this blog.

Some bloggers opt to engage in affiliate links or ads on their blogs to support there endeavours, while others do not. There seems to be a war of words going on as to which is the better way. NEITHER. Whatever works for you is the best way. I am not a slimy snake oil salesmen because I engage in ads. I am a professional providing a service. That service is my content.  I remain  respectful of everyone’s right to handle their blog in a manner unique to them.

I look at my blog like a magazine. I do my best to write strong, intelligent content, that I hope will help others in their genealogy journey. The same way you would expect from a print or digital magazine. Some of it is purely light and entertaining while some of it is meant as how to articles with an easy to read and follow along format.  Some like this post today is the opinion piece of the editor.  Is every post a home run, of course not? The same can certainly be said for many a magazine. However, I strive to improve every day. 

As a magazine, I do not charge you to read my content, nor will I ever. I display ads on my pages, much like a print or digital magazine does, and should you be inclined to click on them I will make a few cents. If I offer enough great content, have a steady stream of readers, that alone will make me a few cents more. It is as simple as that.

I have no problem reviewing products of affiliates and quite honestly, I am not enough of a threat to anyone that even if my review wasn’t favourable, the fews cents I make wouldn't persuade me to change my opinion. One thing about me, I’m fair and honest and will not write or support anything I don’t believe in or haven’t tried or used. Sometimes I will pass along information but I will be honest and tell you if I haven’ t used it.  Usually if I haven’t tried a product I simply won’t review it to be part a trend. I will leave that to the individuals in the know.

I have made a few dollars the traditional publishing way through magazines. It wasn’t for me. The money is ridulously low, for the investment of time. You really have to pump out a lot articles and ideas just to get a Hello! In addition, the turnaround time in being paid is quite pitiful. I prefer to publish my articles in my blog for free.

I am a big advocate for self-publishing.  Anyone who reads my blog will know this; at every opportunity, I encourage my readers to write and publish their family history.  I believe the same can be said for anything you want to write. I think the reader should have the choice of what they want to read. I don’t believe this choice should lie in the hands of a publisher. Everyone from an unknown author to some of the best-selling authors are taking the control back and self-publishing. Why wait for permission from someone else to say your worthy of writing.  

What the Armchair Genealogist has come to represent to me is a medium for me to write, to share my knowledge, develop my skills, share my love of genealogy and be part of community and build relationships.

As for the affiliates and ads, well they don’t pay the bills, but then neither does traditional publishing. However, they give me hope, and with the few pennies, I make each day I can at least say I’m in control of my fortune.

I will eventually self-publish on a larger scale and continue to be an advocate for writing your family history.  I would love nothing more than to see some webinars and conferences dedicated to this revenue opportunity for genealogists. I'm also interested in providing webinars to my readers as an  avenue for revenue. 

I seek most of my education on blogging and writing outside of the genealogy community with the exception of Thomas who has done a great job on educating genealogy bloggers. Perhaps a Darren Rowse from Probloggers would be available for the next Rootstech? He would certainly shake a few leaves. I truly believe there is an opportunity here that is not yet being met.

I am not a professional genealogist but consider myself well educated in genealogy. However, I am forever looking to develop my skills for writing in this niche as well as my skills in the genealogy field in general. I regard myself forever growing and I hope that comes through in my blogging as well.

 I often try things on my blog as experiments. See what works, what doesn’t. Perhaps I’m breaking new ground, maybe I’m not, time will tell.  However, if someone out there has this under control, I would love to hear from you. Like I said, I’m always looking to learn. 

So while you might think why bother for $1.28, I believe there could be a day that my post could read Today I Made $1,280.00. A girl can dream, but I can’t get there if I don’t start. You have to start, even if it means falling down a few times and picking yourself up and reinventing yourself. It is a process and I am ever evolving. 

(This post is my contribution to a series started at Geneabloggers, Genea-Opportunites: Let's Make A Lot of Money. I believe this is a conversation that has been long over due. I encourage you to participate.)

Other related reading  

Tuesday's Tip - Creating a Twitter Paper

On my last Tuesday’s Tip post, I discussed maximizing your Google Reader.  We looked at how Google Reader and its many features can really help you to stay up on your internet reading. 

Another great way of staying on top of the latest blogs is to follow them on Twitter.  I love twitter, however I do not have time to have twitter deck open all day and scroll through all the tweets from the #hashtags that I follow. Enter the twitter paper. Paper.li organizes links shared on Twitter and Facebook into an easy to read newspaper-style format.  You can subscribe to already existing papers or you can create your own. 

Each day I have several twitter papers delivered to my inbox. I’ve listed some of favourites at the end of this post.  I can quickly open them up and see who has been tweeting. If any of the headlines catches my attention, I simply click through and read the post. Not only do I catch some posts that are not in my Google Reader but I also find the occasional new blogger to follow. 

Subscribing or creating a paper is a very quick and easy process. 

How to Create a Twitter Paper
) Go to paper.li and click the “Create your own daily paper” button.
2) Sign in to your Twitter or Facebook account to authorize the app’s access to your account.
3) Choose the type of paper you wish to create

There are four types of Twitter account based papers a user can create, and one Facebook account based. The intended audience of your paper, or how you propose to use your paper, is 
going to influence the type of paper you wish to create.

A Paper Based on Your Twitter Account
This paper is generated from the content of your twitter account; the content tweeted by yourself and the people you follow. My twitter paper is The Armchair Genealogist Journal. (I know it’s a bit of a mouthful)

A Hashtag Based Paper
You can create a paper based on a #hashtag. Anyone create a paper based on a #tag, however  the paper belongs to the community and one person does not own them. For instance, I get the #genealogy paper to my inbox.

A Paper From a Twitter User List
You can create a paper based on a defined list of twitter users. This is a great way to define a paper with very specific topics and a common focus.

A Custom Newspaper
This option is for those who have a very specific set of ideas about their paper and want more control over the focus of their paper.

You can keep your personal paper for your own use, seen only by you, or you can publish it to twitter for the world to follow. You can also put a widget on your blog so others can follow your paper or subscribe to other papers that have already been created.

Twitter papers,  save me a lot of time, collect some of my favourite followers in one place much like Google Reader, they offer me an opportunity to find new reads and keep me in the loop on industry news.

There are a few bugs in the twitter paper format. If someone re-tweets a post, then sometimes they are credited in the paper rather then the original source. 

If the news day is slow, there maybe a lot of repeats from the previous day. 

However, these days I actually find paper.li more accommodating to my personal lifestyle then tweet deck. 

Some of my favourites

GeneaBloggers Daily
#genealogy
Family History Express
#Irish Daily
The Armchair Genealogist Journal

Do you have a favourite twitter paper; leave me a note in comments.

From the Archives: Can I Turn My Love of Genealogy into a Career?

There is a great conversation taking place over on a Joan Miller's blog Luxegen Genealogy. Joan's post Genea-bodies: The New Somebodies has ignited some interesting comments. I felt a post that I wrote back in January was my attempt at opening up this conversation. Clearly Joan did a much better job of it. I'm reposting it because I feel it really states my place and position on this topic and all the questions I have about this industry. I just feel that if I have questions others do to.  Hopefully this current conversation is the best way to hopefully get some of them discussed.



Occasionally a job comes to my attention that I feel is a good fit for a genealogist, something my readers might be interested in, so I post it for anyone interested.  It is from the number of hits on those posts that I began to clue in that a large number of you are looking for jobs in the genealogy industry.  Clearly, there are many genealogists out there looking for jobs or there are many people looking to become genealogists, either way people are looking and I’m not sure what that says about the state of things in this industry?

I know I have a cross-section of readers, some make their living from genealogy, for some it’s a hobby and for others perhaps it has been a hobby and now they are considering it as a business, for others they have made the transition from hobbyist to professional. Some may do it as a side job to their “real” job while others earn a living at it.  Which category do you fall in to?

I fall somewhere in between. In my situation, it started out as a hobby. I left my “real” job to become a stay at home Mom and I saw an opportunity to take up interests I had never had time for prior like genealogy.  I didn’t need to replace my income, so making money was not my primary consideration. Blogging and writing was an interest, making money at it was a perk (I’m still waiting for that perk).

 I now make a few dollars here and there writing articles on genealogy and managing this website (emphasis on very few dollars).  I love writing about genealogy, sharing my knowledge and being part of this community. However, I would not consider it a career. Therefore, I don’t think I am the best person to answer these questions for my readers. Maybe you can help.  Do you make a living at genealogy? Did you turn your passion for genealogy into a business?

 I know some of you write, some of you do the lecture and conference thing, while others are consultants and trace or write family histories for others. Is there money to be made here?  Which area do you find the most lucrative?

 I’m not asking you to share your annual income.  However, please share with the rest of us, how you got there? On the other hand, are you on the road to there? Where do you concentrate your efforts? Is it in writing books, lecturing, consulting or do you do all of the above?

I’m curious, and I am sure so are many of my readers. So feel free to share..... Do you earn a living in genealogy and how? 

This is your opportunity, share your story, include your URL for a little free publicity, what do you think it takes to make it in this business. Tell us what you think of the industry; is there room for more of us?

What best advice would you give someone looking to turn his or her passion into a business?  

Can I turn my love of genealogy into a career?

Monday Morning Mentions

Monday Morning Mentions at the Armchair Genealogists is an opportunity to reflect on what has been happening at the Armchair Genealogist this past week and give a nod to some of my peers who captured my attention in the blogging community.


If you want to see what ranked in my Google Reader this week click, Google Reader Highlights 

You can also find me on Facebook. Stop by and leave a message. I often will link some great finds there as well. 

At the Armchair Genealogist this week, posts included the following: 



Each week I’m choosing four blogs that deserve a shout out, they will be in the form of 4 categories, Internet Genealogy, Family History Writing, a New Blog and a blog that posted a great old-fashioned family recipe. 
Internet Genealogy – a great genealogy or internet tip that will benefit any armchair genealogist
This week’s mention:

Randy  at Genea-Musings  gave us some great information this week on Probate Records.  His Tuesday's Tip: Find Probate Records of Your Ancestors was a great primer to get you up to speed on these under utilized records.  

I also have to send a huge shout out to  Ancestral Wormhole, Tony provides us with a great template for keeping our ancestors vital records in order  for free! Nice work Tony! You can download your copy here.

Writing Your Family History – great advice or information on writing your family history
This week’s mention:

Carolyn McCray at Digital Book World gave us a great post with constructive useful information in her article  Best Practices for Amazon Ebook Sales.   

New Genealogy Blog – we will tip our hat to a newcomer who impresses us right out of the box
This week’s mention:  

With just a under a year of experience to her name, The New Genealogist is sharing her journey on her new blog of the same name. Stop by and give her a shout out. 

 
 
Family Recipe - a blog that makes us want to eat, and offers up a great old-fashioned family recipe to share on Family Recipe Friday.
This week's mention: 
There were so many great recipes this week, but in keeping with the season
Aquamarinesteph shares her mother-in-laws Passover recipe for Passover Bagels!
You can find more newcomers at Thomas' list of New Genealogy Blogs at Geneabloggers.  For other great reads Randy at Genea-Musings offers the Best of the Genea-Blogs and Greta’s Genealogy Bog offers Follow Friday Newsletter each week, click here for this week’s edition.

Have a great genealogy week, keep searching and writing!

Must-Read Memoirs for Family Historians

When it comes to writing, one of the first pieces of advice I received was to read.....and read a lot. Besides writing a lot to improve your skills, reading in copious amounts will also make you a better writer as well. Whether you intend to write your family history or wish to write a memoir or turn your family history into a novel, one of the best ways to prepare for this path is to have your nose in a book or these days a Kindle

As a huge advocate for writing your family history, you will always find me encouraging you to read books particularly in the kind of genre that would most interest a family historian.  Memoirs, novels based on real life stories and historical fiction are my books of choice. 

I have assembled a list, a few of my favourite memoirs/family history books thus far; I will keep you posted on others and offer reviews from time to time. If you haven’t read some of these books on this list I encourage you to do so.

If your not a writer, or not interested in writing a memoir or family history, you will love them just the same. I love fiction but nothing beats a real story about real people. 

1.       Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
2.       A Million Little Pieces by James Frey
3.       Half-Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls
4.       Angela’s Ashes Angela's Ashes: A Memoir by Frank McCourt
5.       The Diary of Anne Frank  by Anne Frank
6.       Night by Elie Wiesel
ea   Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Do you have a must-read memoir? Leave me a comment I’m always looking for a good read!

New Irish Records- 32,000 Baptismal Records!

Roots Ireland just sent me this announcement regarding a large collection of baptismal records with promises of more on the way. Reminder this is a subscription based website. 

Here are the details of the announcement: 

County Monaghan Baptism Records

The Irish Family History Foundation's Online Research Service (ORS) is pleased to announce the availability of the first 32,000 baptism records for County Monaghan. These records cover the parishes of:
Carrickmacross
Donaghmoyne
Drummully-Currin
Ematris
Errigal Truagh
Inishkeen
Magheross
Monaghan
Tydavnet
See our source list for more information.
Further birth, death and marriage records for Co. Monaghan will follow soon.

Just go to the following site and login using your existing IFHF login details.
http://monaghan.rootsireland.ie

Remember that you can purchase and spend your credit at any of the IFHF online centres.

Please check out our interactive map to see which centres are currently live.

If you have any questions or comments please check our Online Help and if this does not provide an answer, then do not hesitate to contact us or one or the county centres.

Looking for help with your Irish Genealogy Research look here

Family Recipe Friday - Italian BBQ Lamb Skewers


Today’s recipe comes courtesy of my Italian in-laws. After marrying into an Italian family, I learned one of the many Italian traditions that I would come to love. This recipe is traditionally cooked each time we would gather to celebrate a church sacrament. When one of the grandchildren were baptized, or made their first communion or confirmation we celebrated with a lamb and more particularly with this special recipe.

My in-laws Josephine and Tony always prepared this meal, and I am in love with Lamb Skewers.  When it came time for my children’s celebrations, I took it upon myself to work side by side with my in-laws in the kitchen to learn this family tradition. 

After they passed away, the family looked to me, the keeper of the recipe to continue the tradition. With Easter approaching, this dish comes to mind, because it also makes a wonderful Easter meal.

Barbecue Lamb Skewers

Prepare the meat the day before.

Tony and Josephine always went to the local farm and bought a young lamb and had it slaughtered for the event. (This is not for the faint of heart or vegetarians.)  I am not quite that adventurous, I make a trip to my local butcher and usually buy just lamb legs, I find this provides the most amount of meat. Allow for about 1 lb per person. 

 With a very sharp knife, you will simply cut the meat off the leg bone into small pieces, about the size of your thumbnail.  Don’t worry about cutting your meat into nice square pieces; this is a very rustic dish.  Also do not trim all the fat off the meat, leave some on, this offers lots of flavour.

Once you cut all the meat off the bone, skewer the meat.  Metal skewers are best and particularly skewers that are not very thick as your meat will not be in large pieces. Once the meat has been skewered, lay them on the cookie sheet, and sprinkle generously with kosher or sea salt.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

On day 2, prepare a charcoal BBQ, I cannot stress enough that it must be charcoal, nothing else compares. My father-in-law actually built a BBQ just for this event that would hold the skewers for ease of cooking.  You can see it in the pictures.  Once the coals are hot, place your skewers on the BBQ turning while they cook. We salt them again as they are cooking.  I wish I could give you a time but it is basically done to taste. They are best just when the fat starts to get a little crispy. Serve them hot of the grill with a side of pasta, some bread and a glass of red wine. 
Lamb is on the BBQ!


The men love to BBQ the lamb skewers
My husband his cooking, brothers watching!
 For More Recipes by Family Historians look here!

Irish Land Records May Hold the Key to Your Story!

Our Irish ancestors for the most part were tenant farmers. They leased or rented their land directly from the landowner or indirectly from another Irishman who sub-leased it to them. With little to no census information available prior to 1901, your ancestor’s land records may very well be the single most important avenue to uncovering their story.

Landowners prior to the 20th century were members of the nobility, landed gentry or Church of Ireland clergy. Everyone else either leased or rented their land. Various records were created as a result of this relationship between the occupiers of the land and the landlords. Two sources stand out as an opportunity to learn more about our Irish ancestors through the land they owned or lived on, they are a registry of deed and estate papers.  

The first step is to determine the townland or parish your ancestor lived. We have discussed this in great lengths here. Once their location is resolved, you can move on to identify whether they owned or leased the land.

Several sources can assist you in identifying whether your ancestors were landowners or renters. They exist in Tithe Applotment Books, Ordnances Surveys and Griffith Valuation all extremely important tools in identifying the landowner.

After identifying the landowner, the next step is to seek out important sources of information on the land for which they owned or rented. The two main sources we will review here today are Registry of Deeds and Estate Papers.

Registry of Deeds

In 1708, registration for land transactions began, however registration was not mandatory until 1892. Therefore many deeds were never registered and remain part of a landowner's estate papers. Those that were registered can be found at the Registry of Deeds in Dublin, Ireland. 

 A deed registration can reveal more than just a deed of sale. Often lease agreements, marriage settlements and wills were also attached to these documents.  After the transaction was filed it was returned to the party, therefore what is entered at the Registry is a synopsis of the deed known as a ‘memorial’.

A very common form of deed was a ‘lease for life’, often used in the 1700’s and 1800’s. This extended the lease for as long as the person or persons listed in the deed were alive. Once all the names in the lease passed, the lease lapsed. The lease could also be set out for a determined number of years or tenants could rent from year to year.

You can locate the memorials from 1708 to present at The Registry of Deeds in Dublin. You can also locate this collection of deeds dated from 1708-1929 on microfilm through the Family History Library. There is currently an indexing project underway for the Registry of Deeds at Rootsweb, you can find it here.

The Registry of Deeds collection offers a surname index (name of the seller of the land) and a Land Index (arranged geographically). The National Archives of Ireland also houses some private collection pre-1708.
The Land Commission can tell you how the family property came into ownership by the family. The Land Commission handles loans from public funds to tenants so they could purchase their farms. If you see “LAP” (Land Purchase Act) on the Griffith’s Valuation then the Land Commission handled the transaction of this purchase and should have a record of its transaction. The Land Commission is located in the National Archives of Ireland.  The Land Commission for Northern Ireland is located at PRONI.

Estate Papers 

Estate papers are the private papers of the property owners of Ireland.  Estates papers are a wealth of information of both the landholder and his tenants. Estate papers often include rent rolls and leases, estate maps, emigration lists, petitions to the landowners, wills freeholders, poll lists, mortgages, eviction records and account lists all valuable information in piecing together the fragments of an Irishman’s life. These documents can often reveal both social and economic conditions of the time.

There is a substantial collection of estate papers in the National Library of Ireland and in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. Unfortunately, many estate records remain in private hands or with a solicitor. Again, the key to finding these papers is knowing the local landowner.

For material still in private hands, the best guide is Hayes's Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation. Richard Hayes was the director of the National Library in the 1960’s where he complied a catalogue of manuscript holdings that are in private keeping or deposited in various repositories throughout Ireland, England and other countries. This book is now online at The National Library of Ireland. 

Hayes’s Manuscript Sources and Periodical Sources are now available as an online database on the website of the National Library of Ireland.The title of the database is Sources: A National Library of Ireland database for Irish research. It contains over 180,000 catalouged records of manuscripts relating to Ireland and articles in Irish periodicals. The database can be accessed directly at http://sources.nli.ie/

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: the Complete Guide picks up where Hayes left off. The author John Grenham lists estate records for every county in Ireland that are found in the National Library in Dublin and estate records that have been published in periodicals.

Regardless of whether your ancestor was nobility and a landlord or a tenant farmer, a landowner’s record in the form of a registry of deed or an estate record are irreplaceable documents. These records remain ever so important in Irish genealogy and in the search for your ancestor’s story.

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