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May 11, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
That Long-Lost Uncle Fell There
I was taking advantage of the free access to over the weekend while doing some family history research for a friend. Her 2X great-grandmother, Abigail Evans, was born in County Louth in 1833. Abigail and her younger brother Robert joined their father in Canada in 1851. Siblings Abigail Evans Morden and Robert H. Evans remained close as adults and ultimately settled with their spouses and children near Spearfish, South Dakota, where Abigail died in 1899.
Applying cluster research to learn more about the Evans family, I queried “Robert Evans” on My curiosity was piqued when I saw an article dated 8 July 1907 in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader with this dateline, “That Long-Lost Uncle Fell There—Will Inherit Portion of Land Grant Made by Texas to Heirs of Heroes.”
I was drawn in further when I read the opening lines: “Spearfish, July 8—(Special to the Argus-Leader)—R. H. Evans, a well-known resident of this place, has within the past few days ascertained the fate of an uncle whose whereabouts and fate had been a mystery to surviving members of his family for considerably more than half a century.”
The article went on to tell the story of the “heroes who fell during the massacre of the Alamo,” including Robert Evans, the uncle (or great-uncle) of Robert H. Evans and his deceased sister.
Back to the clipping for more fascinating details: “The uncle of the South Dakota man was named Robert Evans, and came from Ireland to Canada about 1830. The Evans family are of Welsh descent, although born in Ireland. When the South Dakota member of the family went from Ireland to Canada, he was only a small boy, but he remembers having heard his father inquire about Robert Evans, who had preceded them across the ocean. All that could be learned of Robert Evans was that he had departed for New Orleans…
That was the last trace any member of the family secured of Robert Evans until a few days ago…By the merest accident the South Dakota man secured possession of a newspaper published at Gonzalez, Tex., in which was reprinted an account of the battle of the Alamo, together with a list of the heroes who fell there, and in the list appeared the name of Robert Evans, whose former residence was given as Ireland.
The South Dakota man, by establishing that it was his uncle who fell with the other heroes at the Alamo, as one of his heirs will be entitled to an interest in a land grant of 1400 acres of Texas land, which was assigned to all soldiers from that state who were massacred by Santa Anna and his troops at the Alamo.”
Was Robert Evans able to prove his familial relationship to the Alamo hero with the same name? Did he inherit a big Texas spread? We don’t know yet. I’m dubious. It seems my friend would have heard the story before if Uncle Robert had been successful in seeking this inheritance.
And along the way I learned something about Welsh names: Robert Evans is roughly equivalent to John Smith. “The woods were full of them,” as an Irish cousin-once-removed quipped to my husband about a common surname.
May 7, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Genealogy Bargains
Here are two tips to help you save $$ on your genealogy research:
1) Get free access to through Monday, May 10! Find articles about your mother, grandmother or other women (and men) in your family tree.
2) Find the link to and many other genealogy bargains at Thomas MacEntee's website, While there, check out all the other Mother's Day specials and consider subscribing to his newsletter so you don't miss future money-saving offers.
May 6, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
There's still time
Give yourself some "YOU TIME"…time for you to beef up your genealogy skills!
You can register for Saturday’s IGSI webinar Genealogical Treasures in Irish Archives up until we go live at 10:30am (CDT).
Can’t make it then but want to see it? Register anyway and early next week you will receive a link to the recording and David Ouimette’s fabulous handout.
To register and for more information, click HERE. $15 IGSI members/$20 non-members.
April 29, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
I don't have time...
Or are you just not making genealogy a priority for your spare time?
Saturday, May 8 10:30am-Noon (CDT)
Genealogical Treasures in Irish Archives webinar
with David Ouimette
We recently conducted a survey asking IGSI members who haven’t attended a webinar, “why not?”
Number one reason: "I don’t have the time right now."
May we suggest you make the time? Block out 90 minutes to attend our May IGSI webinar. You will be surprised how inspired you will be AND you may even decide to set aside time each week to get back to your ancestor hunting! (You also will realize that you really don’t need to play another game of Angry Birds when your great-grandparents John and Mary NEED and WANT to be found.)
David’s presentation will give you insight into many Irish resources that are outside of your usual, FamilySearch and FindMyPast. These include collections of estate papers, tenement and townland valuations, poor law registers, vestry minutes, ordinance survey maps, deed, school registers, outrage papers (probably written by all the descendants of those lost ancestors) and much more.
Register HERE. $15 for IGSI members (with Discount Code previously sent to IGSI members via email)/$20 for non-members.
Can’t make it on Saturday morning? Register anyway and you will receive a link to the recording and terrific handout within a few days of the live event. That's the beauty of a recorded event; you can view it at your convenience!
April 28, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Celebrating the Census
Earlier this week we learned Minnesota had the highest 2020 Census participation rate in the nation at 75.1%. It's not just a matter of civic pride since population numbers determine whether states gain or lose seats in Congress.
Findmypast must be watching U.S. news or maybe it's just coincidence. They are offering a weekend of free access to all British census records. Here's an excerpt from their announcement: 
From 10 am(BST) on Friday April 30th to Monday May 3rd, all British censuses from 1841 to 1911 will be completely free to search and explore.
Census records are the perfect way to tell the story of what your family looked like in times gone by. They not only reveal where your ancestors lived what they were doing, but can also provide valuable clues as to where they may be found in other family records.
By offering free access to these essential resources, Findmypast is providing all visitors to the site with the opportunity to discover a whole host a valuable family details, jump back through the generations and grow their family tree.
Those looking to explore the history of their home or local area can make use of Findmypast’s recently released address search feature. Unique to Findmypast, this new tool makes it easier to search for streets and locations across all UK censuses to trace the occupancy of a specific address, locate ancestors or discover their friends, relatives and neighbors.
Read more about FMP's Free British Census here.
April 27, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Sad news
IGSI has lost a good friend, Mary Choppa of Boston. Mary passed away suddenly on April 26 after a long battle with multiple health problems.
Mary was a key member of The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) and a central figure in creating the Celtic Connections Conferences, a joint venture with the Irish Genealogical Society International.
Launched in 2014, the biennial conferences were popular and successful. The first conference was held in suburban Boston; the next, in 2016, occurred in suburban Minneapolis; the third, in 2018, was back in suburban Boston. The 2020 conference was conducted virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary's enthusiastic encouragement and good humor were constant and certainly evident in this photo from the 2018 conference. She will be sorely missed.
At the time of her death, Mary was still actively involved in planning the 2022 conference. She is listed on the Celtic Connections website as a "Call for Papers" contact. 
We extend our sincere sympathy to her family and many friends.
April 23, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Genealogical Treasures
Did you know…
Over a dozen Irish archives and libraries provide historical manuscripts and published works of genealogical value with national coverage?
Thousands of parish churches and dozens of local archives and libraries across Ireland and Northern Ireland house collections of manuscripts and published works detailing the rich history of individual Irish families and local Irish society?
A wide variety of historical records provide valuable insights and information about Irish ancestors and their families?
No??? Well, then you need to register for the next IGSI webinar Genealogical Treasures in Irish Archives with David Ouimette on Saturday, May 8 10:30am – Noon (CDT)!
Not able to attend? Register now and you will receive a link to the recording and terrific handout. Put it on your schedule now.
Register HERE. $15 for IGSI members/$20 for non-members
April 20, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Celebrate DNA Day
National DNA Day is April 25.
There may be other specials, but the first I've seen came from FamilyTreeDNA:
Save on FamilyTreeDNA kits during this DNA Day Sale
Now through April 26th
Save $20-$70 on Y-DNA test kits;
$30 off on Family Finder and $20 off mtDNA.
Find out more here.
April 18, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
MyHeritage birth records free Apr 18-24
MyHeritage is offering free access to birth records starting today, Sunday, April 18, through April 24.
Birth records represent one of the key primary sources for family information, typically being issued within days of a birth and containing the parents' names at a minimum. Many times they contain additional parental details including places of birth, ages, number of children and religious affiliation for baptism and christening records.
There's always a chance you'll find something by researching a new source. Start here.
April 16, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
John Grenham's YouTube videos
How time flies!
Nearly three months ago I blogged about John Grenham's FREE YouTube videos. I advised you to check back regularly and then promptly forgot to do so myself!
There are now 17 videos, generally ranging in length from 10-20 minutes. The most recent presentation is on the subject of Irish wills.
This is great stuff -- and did I mention it's all free! Amazing!
You can start viewing them here.
April 7, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
There's still time for Saturday, Apr 10
There still is time!! You can register for Saturday’s IGSI webinar I Got My DNA Results, Now What??? up until we go live at 10:30am (CDT).
Can’t make it then but want to see it? Register anyway and early next week you will receive a link to the recording and handout.
To register and for more information, click HERE. $15 IGSI members/$20 non-members.
April 7, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
The number of virtual conferences and the variety of presenters continue to amaze me!
Sleuthability offers a weekend program (April 30-May 2) with a range of talks on genealogy, history and DNA.
The speakers and their topics will give a fresh look at Irish genealogy research with content geared to all levels.
The virtual format provides ultimate flexibility, as do the unique ticketing/pricing options.

Read more here.

April 2, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Spring 2021 Irish Lives Remembered
The latest issue of Irish Lives Remembered has been published. If you're new to this publication, here's how it's described on the website:
Irish Family History Centre’s free digital magazine Irish Lives Remembered is dedicated to helping you trace your Irish ancestors. Packed with over 70 pages of Irish Genealogy resources, with something for everyone. Whether you are a keen genealogy enthusiast, a beginner or simply interested in Irish family history you are sure to find something of interest inside.
Every article is fascinating! Begin exploring the Spring 2021 edition here.
April 1, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
I got my DNA results, now what?
DNA can be one of the key genealogical tools in your toolbelt. Are your results filed away in a filing cabinet, unused?? Our April IGSI webinar can help you dust off those results and put them to work!
        I Got My DNA Results. Now What?
            with Elizabeth Williams Gomoll
Saturday, April 10 – 10:30am – Noon (Central)
Many, many people have taken a DNA test to determine their ancestry. You find out you are 60% Irish, 18% Japanese, 12% German and 10% sub-Saharan African. Interesting! After you tell your cousins and try to figure out which ancestors were which, the results get filed away.
You are missing a key tool to discover your ancestral roots. Join us as Liz discusses what's behind your DNA results, what your ethnicity estimates might mean, how to determine your relationship to your matches, and what all of this can do to forward your family research.
Stop telling yourself that “Someday I will check that out." Register today and find out how to use this important tool!
Register HERE. $15 for IGSI members/$20 non-members
March 27, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Online Genealogy Workshop

Ulster Historical Foundation announces Virtual Irish Genealogy Workshop

30 March 2021, 9.00am-1.30pm (US Eastern time)

"This is the first March in many years that Foundation staff have not been travelling around North America on their annual genealogy lecture tour. However we are pleased to announce that one workshop is still going ahead – virtually!

Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt

Our Executive Director Fintan Mullan and Research Officer Gillian Hunt will be presenting an Irish Genealogy Workshop with Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh and Westmoreland Historical Society on Tuesday 30 March 2021, 9.00am-1.30pm (US Eastern time) via Zoom.

Featuring live Question and Answer sessions and interactive virtual networking opportunities, this workshop will foster connections between attendees and expert speakers.

Benefitting beginners and seasoned genealogists alike, this in-depth virtual workshop will examine a multitude of historic records and electronic resources that will help to advance your Irish genealogy research.

Live virtual presentations include:

  • Irish Genealogical Essentials- the Best Websites for Getting Started with Your Family Research
  • Sources for Finding Seventeenth Century Families in Ireland (not just Ulster)
  • Census Substitutes for the Eighteenth Century and Early Nineteenth Century

Special access to recordings of the lectures will be made available to attendees following the live workshop.

Attendees will also be invited to a second live Q&A session with Gillian and Fintan on Tuesday, April 13.

To register please visit:"

March 26, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
I Got My DNA Results. Now What?
Your DNA results have arrived, but your ethnicity isn't what you expected? You have cousin matches, but you don't know who they are or how you are related? You NEED to join us for our April IGSI Webinar with Elizabeth Williams Gomoll.
Saturday, April 10 – 10:30am – Noon (Central)
This introductory/basic level DNA presentation will discuss what's behind your DNA results, what your ethnicity estimates might mean, how to determine your relationship to your matches, and what all of this can do to forward your family research. 
$15 for IGSI members/$20 for non-members. For more details and to register, click HERE.
March 22, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Dublin Cemeteries Trust
Researchers seeking information about ancestors buried in Dublin will be happy to hear the Glasnevin Burial Records database is accessible again, after a six-month hiatus.  
In her blog today, Claire Santry reports Dublin Cemeteries Trust is the new name of the organization, with a new logo and website. Death and burial details can be found for five cemeteries including Glasnevin, Dardistown, Goldenbridge, Newlands Cross and Palmerstown.
Read more at  While there, check out New Irish Genealogy Resources 2021, Santry's handy updated e-book which was released just last week.
March 19, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Free access to IGSI webinar Mar 19-25
Lucky you!! You found the gold that the leprechauns hid at the end of the rainbow on St. Patrick’s Day.
In appreciation for our IGSI members AND to encourage non-members to join us, IGSI is offering a FREE viewing of one of our most popular webinars: Finding Your Overseas Irish Ancestors: A Case Study with Lois Abromitis Mackin, PhD. 
Learn from Lois and discover what she did to find that elusive Irish place of origin that so many of us seek. Don’t know where your ancestors came from? This will  give you a concrete example of steps Lois took – steps you can use!  You can access the webinar HERE from Friday, March 19 – Thursday, March 25.
While you are on the IGSI website, check out our upcoming webinars on the Activities tab and recordings of past webinars on the Past Webinars tab. Past Webinars are available exclusively to IGSI members.  Past webinar topics include:
  • Irish Famines and Emigration – Before, During and After the Great Hunger
  • Brick Wall Strategies
  • How to Get Ready to Search Irish Records
  • FamilySearch: In-Depth
  • Irish Church Records
  • And more!
Not a member? Join now! In addition to exclusive access to Past Webinars, you will receive our bimonthly e-newsletter Ginealas and our award-winning quarterly journal The Septs plus discounts and much more.
March 15, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Variations of Patrick
This week's Letter from Ireland by Mike Collins answered the question "What's in a name?" for St Patrick's Day. In Ireland today, he says:
"...there are almost "40 shades" of Patrick and Patricia:
For Patrick, you will find: Pádraig, Páraic, Paudie, Padge, Pauric, Podge, Pat, Paddy, Patsy and Pa (substitute an "aw" sound for the Irish "á" - that should sound about right).
For Patricia, you will find: Pat, Patsy, Tricia, Trish, Pádraigín and Patrice (for some reason, Patty never caught on here in Ireland)...
The name of Patrick also found its way into a number of surnames--maybe some of them are in your family tree. 
Names like: Fitzpatrick, GilPatrick, Kirkpatrick, Patrick, McFadden, Mulpatrick, McFadyen, Padine, Peyton, Patton and McPadden."

Would you like to receive a weekly letter from Ireland free? Read Mike's past letters and sign up here.
March 13, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
If you can't be in Ireland now
While we won't be celebrating St Patrick's Day in Ireland this year, we can visit virtually.
Ireland Reaching Out ( virtual tours of ten Irish museums:
  1. Chester Beatty
  2. National Museum of Ireland--Natural History
  3. Long Room at Trinity College
  4. Reading Room at National Library of Ireland
  5. National Gallery of Ireland
  6. National Museum of Ireland--Archaelogy
  7. Medieval Museum--Waterford
  8. Georgian House Museum--Number 29
  9. Epic The Irish Emigration Museum
  10. Titanic Experience
What a good use of time! Visit the museums virtually first so you know how to spend your days when you can once again travel.
Click here to see more about the museums and begin your tour.
March 11, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Irish Lines and Female Finds
The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa (BIFHSGO) virtual fall conference looks like a great venue to learn more about Irish genealogy:

Announcing the 26th annual BIFHSGO conference

The BIFHSGO conference, Irish Lines and Female Finds -- Exploring Irish records, female ancestors and genetic genealogy, will be held virtually from 19 to 26 September 2021.

There will be 15 online sessions over five days featuring 14 distinguished international speakers, experts in their own fields.

A $45 conference pass gives you access to all 15 presentations, as well as access to the presentation videos and handouts for two weeks after the end of the conference. Visit the conference website for a full speaker lineup and program details and follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

March 10, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
What's new at Ancestry, March 2021?
Crista Cowan, who hates wearing shoes, is known as the Barefoot Genealogist. Her videos can be heard on the Ancestry You-Tube channel.
Her latest recording, "What's new at Ancestry, March 2021?," has just been released. The video covers 1) upcoming genealogy conferences and events, 2) new products or features at Ancestry, and 3) new record collections.
She shares lots of helpful information. Give a listen here.
March 8, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Ancestry Library Edition at home
Ancestry Library Edition has been available remotely since the pandemic forced public libraries to limit in-person services.To get access at home, one must register and log in to the library website.
A recent inquiry to the Hennepin County Library received this reply, "As of now, our online resources will still be available remotely. I'm not aware of any changes to this, but when there is an update it will be posted on"
March 6, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
St Patrick's Day specials!
St Patrick's Day is just around the corner with several announcements already being made about special events:
1) Family History Library March and April Calendar
  • In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, 17 Mar 2021, FamilySearch will be holding a seminar about Irish family history research. The schedule involves a new class format, 20-minute classes with a 10-minute question-and-answer portion for each class. 
  • A second seminar, the St. George’s Seminar, will take place 23 Apr 2021, on English family history research. 
  • A third seminar will commemorate DNA Day on 26 Apr 2021. This seminar will have 5 classes helping you learn how to use your DNA results for family history research.
  • While the sessions are free, you must register here and click on Online Classes for March or April. 
  • Click on the word “Yes” next to the title of each class you wish to attend.
2) Ancestry DNA kits on sale through March 17!
  • Uncover your Irish origins and make St Paddy's Day all about family!
  • The basic Ancestry DNA kit is $40 off, regularly $99, now only $59, through 11:59 pm ET, March 17.
  • Click here to order your test kit.
3) Don't forget IGSI's webinar, "I got my DNA results: now what???" is scheduled for Saturday, April 10, 10:30 am to 12 noon. 
  • Presenter is Elizabeth Williams Gomoll, CG.
  • $15 for members with discount code; $20 for non-members.
  • Sign up now by clicking on Activities at left. 
  • Space is limited so don't delay!
March 2, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Irish Famines and Emigration
How many of you attended RootsTech 2021? Perhaps you saw Brian Donovan’s “Tracing the Poor and Destitute Irish.”.  Donovan gave a ‘shout out’ to one of our IGSI March webinar speakers, Gerard Moran, for his book and article Sending Out Ireland’s Poor and James Hack Tuke and His Schemes for Assisted Emigration from the West of Ireland.
Now you will be able to learn about Irish famines from Gerard himself along with Prof. Christine Kinealy, Director of Quinnipiac University’s Ireland’s Great Hunger Institute!! This is a great opportunity to learn what it was like for many of our Irish ancestors before they left their homeland.
Irish Famines and Emigration – Before, During and After the Great Hunger
Saturday, March 13, 10:30am – Noon CST
Learn more and register HERE. Put it on your calendars and register soon since space is limited to 100 attendees for the live presentation.  If you are unable to attend, note that the webinar recording and handout will be available exclusively to IGSI members within a few days of the live event. 
$15 for IGSI members/$20 for non-members