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October 18, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
Lost pages from 1880 census FOUND!
Catching up on my blog reading, I saw Dick Eastman's recent posting about "13 pages from the Missouri 1880 US Census Population Schedule Long Thought Lost have been Discovered."
If you've looked for individuals living in Union Township, Perry County, Missouri, in 1880, you'll want to read this.
October 17, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
Family history writing group
Are you making progress on creating a written family history?
The MInnesota Genealogical Society (MGS) writing group can help! Individuals interested in writing get together to share approaches and encourage each other. Generally the group meets the last Saturday of each month. Since those dates are problematic during the November and December holidays, the next meeting will be Saturday, January 26, 2019, 10:30 am -12 noon.
That gives you plenty of time to get started! Review the research you've already completed. Be alert to family stories recounted at holiday gatherings and maybe even interview a family member or two?
Start by writing a few sentences about a person or an event. Don't worry about spelling or grammar, just put some words on paper. Set your germ-of-a-story aside for a week or two. When you come back to it, add more detail or massage what you've written. A recipe for making bread might also apply to the writing process: "Stir and let rise. Repeat."
Bring your questions to the helpful members of the MGS writing group next January.
Read more about the Minnesota Genealogical Society and its specialized groups here.
October 16, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
What's going on at IGSI?
Wondering about what activities IGSI is sponsoring? The easy way to find out is to click on the ACTIVITIES button at left. Here's a quick summary:
Saturday, October 20, 10:30 am to 12 noon      Griffith's Valuation class with Audrey Leonard at Celtic Junction Arts Center, 836 Prior Ave, St Paul
Saturday, October 27, 9 am to 3:15 pm       Minneapolis Library Family History Fair, Downtown Minneapolis Library
Saturday, November 10, 10:30 am to 12 noon   Estate Records class with Tom Rice at Library and Research Center, Mendota Heights
Saturday, December 8, Noon to 4 pm         Social (lunch and raffle quilt drawing) at Kip's, 9970 Wayzata Blvd, St Louis Park
October 12, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
When the census taker gets it wrong
The FamilySearch blog recently posted an informative article on the U.S. Census and why mistakes occurred.
Who among us has not been stymied by the mis-spelling of a family name in a census record? Nonetheless Irish family historians appreciate that census records exist in the U.S. at all. Think about all the details you might have missed without the census-takers' efforts.
October 10, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
15% off Findmypast "Ultimate" package
If you didn't bite at Findmypast's reduced price last month, you have another chance.
Their Ultimate British and Irish 12-month subscription is discounted 15% (one payment of $152.15) until next Tuesday, October 16. The special applies to both new and returning customers.
It seems unlikely a better deal will be coming down the road. Read more about it here.
October 8, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
Ask a Genealogist
October's Irish Saturday, Oct 13, will feature an "Ask a Genealogist" session from 10:30 am to 12 noon.
"Looking for help finding infomation your Irish ancestors? Not sure how to proceed? Join Audrey Leonard for a session of questions and answers and hopefully, some additional insight into Irish records."
IGSI members pay only $15 (but must log-in in first) and non-IGSI members pay $20. That's a bargain! 
Pre-register or sign up when you come.
October 4, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
Researching upstate New York
Anyone doing genealogical research in upstate New York will agree with the New England Historic Genealogical Society (NEHGS) when they say, "Finding information about New York ancestors can be tricky."
While you may not be able to make a research trip or attend a conference in person, you can beef up your NY toolbox by participating in an online course.
NEHGS genealogists will present a six-hour class, "Researching Upstate New York," from 12-6 pm EDT (that's 11 am to 5 pm CDT), on Saturday, October 20, 2018. Cost is $125.
Read more, including FAQs, here.
October 3, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
New MN records at FamilySearch
We should remember to keep an eye on FamilySearch! They added 13 million new indexed records in September, including more than 690,000 Minnesota county death records from 1850-2001.
Among the new records I found Alice Hickey, wife of my husband's great-uncle Bartholomew. Her death is not indexed in the Minnesota Historical Society database. As I recall I found her 1908 death date through cemetery records at, one of my original favorite Minnesota research sites.
However I hadn't researched Alice Hickey in the Waseca County death register, which can now be queried and viewed at FamilySearch. To my surprise, the names of Alice's parents are recorded there: Henry and Alice O'Brien.
Will this fact be important? Who knows? It opens up other sideways avenues to research.
Read more about the extensive addition of records at the FamilySearch blog.
October 1, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
IGSI gathering, December 8,12-4 pm
Plan now to attend a pre-holiday gathering at Kip's Pub in St Louis Park on Saturday, December 8.  Come for lunch and conversation, stay to find out who wins the raffle quilt!
IGSI Event at Kip’s Pub in St. Louis Park on Saturday, December 8, Noon - 4:00 pm
Kip’s Pub is located in the Marriott Hotel at 9970 Wayzata Blvd. in St. Louis Park, MN 55426. Near intersection of I-394 and Highway 169.  Phone number: 952-367-5070.
Join fellow IGSI members for lunch and then a drawing for the lovely raffle quilt.  You may buy raffle tickets at this event.
The quilt, designed and sewn by Judy Rice, is queen-sized in the Irish Chain pattern with beautiful Irish symbols quilted throughout. 
Please RSVP by November 29 to Kay Swanson at: or 651-426-3103.
September 28, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
Welsh records at Findmypast
We learned at the Celtic Connections Conference just how many folks have at least a little Welsh ancestry. If you're among them, you'll be interested in this news from Findmypast.
Over 921,000 new records have been added to a variety of Welsh Parish collections. Additional parish baptisms, banns, marriages and burials are now available to search across 13 county collections, including:
Wales Counties Baptisms
*        Carmarthenshire Baptisms
*        Cardiganshire Baptisms
*        Denbighshire Baptisms
*        Flintshire Baptisms
*        Breconshire Baptisms
*        Radnorshire Baptisms
*        Montgomeryshire Baptisms
*        Pembrokeshire Baptisms
*        Glamorganshire Baptisms
*        Merionethshire Baptisms
*        Anglesey Baptisms
*        Monmouthshire Baptisms
Wales Counties Banns & Marriages
*        Anglesey Marriages and Banns
*        Breconshire Marriages and Banns
*        Caernarvonshire Marriages and Banns
*        Cardiganshire Marriages and Banns
*        Carmarthenshire Marriages and Banns
*        Denbighshire Marriages and Banns
*        Flintshire Marriages and Banns
*        Glamorganshire Marriages and Banns
*        Monmouthshire Marriages and Banns
*        Montgomeryshire Marriages and Banns
*        Pembrokeshire Marriages and Banns
*        Radnorshire Marriages and Banns
Wales Counties Burials
*        Carmarthenshire Burials
*        Cardiganshire Burials
*        Denbighshire Burials
*        Flintshire Burials
*        Breconshire Burials
*        Radnorshire Burials
*        Montgomeryshire Burials
*        Pembrokeshire Burials
*        Merionethshire Burials
*        Anglesey Burials
*        Glamorganshire Burials
Findmypast continues, "Parish records will give names, dates and places in similar fashion to the GRO birth, marriage and death records, but the level of detail within a parish record depends largely on what was recorded on the original. Most parish records do not include accompanying images. Information in earlier registers can differ with some recording baptisms, marriages and burials together on the page, some keeping them separate. Some can be more informative than others, depending almost at whim on what the vicar chose to note down. They can, however, be a very valuable key documents that unlock the history of your family to a time you may not have thought it was possible to reach when you originally began to trace your family line."
September 27, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
'My records' lock-out
Claire Santry clearly explains the new Findmypast policy--effective this Sunday, September 30--about losing access to 'My Records' when a subscription lapses.
The same advice applies to
Read her September 26th Irish Genealogy News blog posting and protect the documents you've found.
September 25, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
MGS webinar on mitochondrial testing
You may or may not be a member of the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS), but you should be aware of the good products they sponsor.
Coming up next Wednesday, October 3, is a webinar on "Using Mitochondrial DNA Testing for Genealogical Problem Solving" by Dr. Michael Lacopo. The live webinar takes place from 7 to 8:15 pm CDT and is described thus:
"Using mitochondrial DNA testing in genealogy garners a lot of naysayers and negative advice. Learn how vitally important this kind of testing can be when you use DNA as an active tool in the genealogical toolbox. This case study will show you how good research and DNA testing can be the perfect marriage."
I heard Dr. Lacopo speak at a Germanic genealogy conference in 2017. I subsequently read his blog, cleverly titled "Hoosier Your Daddy." No matter what you do about the October 3 webinar, I recommend you read Lacopo's blog. An entrancing story, it's also a good lesson in how to turn census records and other genealogical research into a fascinating read. Probably best to start reading at the beginning
The webinar is free for MGS members. Check it out here.
September 24, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
New Catholic records at findmypast
Findmypast (FMP) continues to add new record sets to their Catholic Heritage Archive. Last week saw the addition of new Baptism/Marriage/Burials/Congregation records for the Baltimore archdiocese.
According to the FMP release, "Each record includes an indexed transcript which will reveal vital genealogical information like parents' names, event year and age. The record images go a step further and could tell you your ancestors' godparents' names, ceremony attendees, and even if they were a slave."
Use the parish list to see what records are available.
New records have been added for New York Catholic baptisms and marriages, too.
FMP also promises "a substantial update" to the Wales Parish Records in coming weeks.
September 21, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
NY state (not NYC) births, 1881-1942
Reclaim the Records, a feisty non-profit activist group, won another round in their efforts to get public records returned to the public. Their website proudly announces "The New York State birth index is now online."
You can browse through the 1881-1935 birth records -- for free -- at the Internet Archive. The remaining years (1936-1942) are in the process of being uploaded. 
Note New York City births are not included in this record set because NYC is considered a separate vital records jurisdiction. Reclaim the Records plans to pursue those records later this year.
Read more about Reclaim the Records' latest success here.
While you're at their website, check out what other records they've "emancipated," including some from New Jersey & Missouri & Wyoming, by clicking on the "Records Requests" tab.
September 19, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
Returning FMP customers get 10% off
Findmypast's recent discount offer, which was limited to new subscribers, undoubtedly annoyed some of its current customers. Now there's a deal for them!
Get 10% off a 12-month subscription to FMP's Ultimate British and Irish records, now through September 23rd. Read more here.
Note the discount isn't offered on the lower-priced Essential British and Irish subscription. 
September 15, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
Constitution Week
Constitution Week commemorates America’s most important document and is celebrated annually during the week of September 17-23.
I’ve read several articles about Irish-American signers of the Declaration of Independence but not so much about Irish-Americans who signed the U.S. Constitution. Eleven years had passed between the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776 and the signing of the Constitution on 17 Sept 1787. There was some overlap in the names; for example, Benjamin Franklin signed both, as did George Read, son of John Read, a wealthy emigrant from Dublin.
Here’s some trivia about Constitution signers, courtesy of The Founders – the 39 stories behind the U.S. Constitution:
  • George Read (of Delaware) signed the Constitution twice, once for himself and once for his friend John Dickinson who had to leave the convention early due to exhaustion.
  • Robert Morris of Pennsylvania spent a million dollars of his own money to finance the battle of Yorktown. He ended up in “Prune Street” debtor’s prison for 3 ½ years when he couldn’t pay the taxes on his vast land holdings.
  • William Patterson of New Jersey wanted the Senators to be elected by the people, but the Constitution stipulated they were to be selected by the state legislatures. He is known as “The Father of the United States Senate.” He introduced the “New Jersey Plan,” which favored the small states.
  • David Brearley suggested they redo all state boundaries making the thirteen states equal in size.
  • Jonathan Dayton of New Jersey, at 26 year old, was the youngest delegate.
  • Roger Sherman from Connecticut was known as “Mr. Compromise.” He supported the Connecticut Compromise which initially settled the big states/little states argument over representation.
  • Daniel Carroll of Maryland and Thomas Fitzsimons of Pennsylvania were the only two Catholic delegates at the Convention.
  • John Rutledge of South Carolina named his tenth child “States” Rutledge. He helped pass the idea of the supremacy of federal laws over state laws in matters affecting the nation as a whole.
  • Gunning Bedford of Delaware was the largest man at the Convention.
  • Charles Pinckney of South Carolina was another young delegate at 29, but his age didn’t keep him from speaking up.  He made over 100 speeches and presented a Pinckney Plan to other delegates which included a single national leader called a President and a two-House Congress.
September 14, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
Findagrave edits is a terrific, free website. I've found countless pieces of valuable information there (although I have to admit I still haven't fully embraced the new-and-improved version). 
Nonetheless, one often finds hints -- even full obituaries -- not easily found anywhere else. If you haven't looked at Findagrave, add it to your to-do list.
The site, founded in 1995 by Jim Tipton, initially highlighted graves of famous people but has grown to be the world's largest gravesite collection. Findagrave is now owned and maintained by Ancestry.
Since Findagrave entries are added by volunteers, one can also encounter errors and/or incomplete information. That happened to me a couple weeks ago while I was revisiting data about my husband's great aunt. She and her husband had died in Montana. I attempted to correct their Findagrave records by "suggesting an edit" -- and then forgot about it until today when an email notification said my edits had been accepted. Easy!
So here are the online directions for correcting a Findagrave memorial that you don't manage:
You can submit updates or corrections of factual information for any memorial by clicking 'Suggest Edits' on the memorial in question. You can suggest updates to the Name, Birth and Death information, Plot and Burial Coordinates, and Inscription. Once the suggestions are saved, the memorial manager will then review the suggestions for approval. If you have additional suggestions, you can use the ‘Suggest other corrections’ option to send an email to the memorial manager.
The Q&As found on the Findagrave "Help" page are truly helpful.
September 13, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
Enhanced Ancestry ethnicity
I've been dubious about DNA results confirming anyone is "XX% Irish." Frankly, I think DNA tests have other more important purposes, and the ethnicity percentages are more hype than accurate.
However, AncestryDNA has announced new algorithms that will "deliver ethnicity estimates with increased precision," effective yesterday (September 12). If you've tested with Ancestry, your results may already show changes.
Read more at the Ancestry blog.
September 11, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
Findmypast at 30% off
Did you enjoy your free weekend of Findmypast research? Or, do you regret missing the opportunity because you were too busy doing other things? 
Findmypast is offering 30% off all their subscriptions through September 23
For example, a 12-month subscription to FMP's Essential British & Irish can be purchased with a one-time payment of $90.30. 
See more here.
September 10, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
New book on County Leitrim research
Flyleaf Press announces a new publication in their series of county guides, Tracing your Leitrim Ancestors, written by Leitrim resident Tom Coughlan.
The paperback book can be purchased for $17.74 through Amazon.
September 6, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
Free weekend at findmypast
Breaking news from findmypast:
Leading British & Irish family history website, Findmypast, has today announced that they will be opening up their archives and offering free access to billions of records from around the world. From 09:00 (IST), on Friday September 7th until 23:59 (IST), on Monday September 10th more than 2.7 billion records ranging from censuses and parish registers to passenger lists and military service records will be completely free to search and explore.
By providing free access to such a wide array of records, Findmypast aims to encourage genealogists to experience the very best of everything Findmypast has to offer. For the duration of the free access period, all who register an account with Findmypast will be able to access all of the following resources for free:
  • Millions of records you won't find anywhere else, including Home Office records, Police files, millions of England & Wales Crime, prisons & punishment records and original documents from the British India Office
  • Civil birth, marriage and death records dating back to the early 19th century
  • The largest online collection of UK parish records, dating back to the early 1500s
  • The most comprehensive online collection of British Military service records
  • The largest collection of Irish family history records available online, with more than twice the number available on any other family history website
  • The 1939 register, one of the most important twentieth century genealogical resources for England and Wales. 
  • Passenger lists for ships sailing to and from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, North America and beyond
  • The largest online collection of England & Wales Electoral registers, containing more than 220 million names
  • The exclusive Catholic Heritage Archive, a ground-breaking initiative that aims to digitize the historical records of the Catholic Church in North America, Britain and Ireland for the very first time
Family historians will also have free access to nearly all other records available to search on Findmypast. Findmypast is home to millions of records you won’t find anywhere else online and is the only family history website committed to releasing new records every single week.
For more information, please visit:
September 4, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
Grandparent(s) born in Ireland?
Anyone having an Irish-born grandparent is eligible for dual citizenship.
Here's an article with Q&As about what you'll need to apply: DocumentsForCitizenship.
September 4, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
25% off Roots Ireland subscriptions
Roots Ireland is offering 25% off 12-month subscriptions through September 17, 2018 (midnight Irish time), reducing the cost from $262 to  $196.
To take advantage of the special pricing, go to the Roots Ireland website.
New subscribers should click on SUBSCRIBE. 
If you already subscribe, go to MY ACCOUNT, MY SUBSCRIPTION, START A NEW SUBSCRIPTION. The new subscription period will start after your current subscription expires.
Check this link to see what records are available by county.
September 3, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
Letter from Ireland and the 1901 census
Every Sunday Mike Collins' Letter from Ireland arrives in my email box. You, too, can sign up for free and join 30,000 people of Irish ancestry from around the world who subscribe.
The letters are an entertaining mix of stories, and you can see a few samples here.
Yesterday Collins shared "five surprising ways for using the 1901 Irish Census records":
  1. Find people who lived in Ireland in the early 1800s -- by searching for people who are 85 years or older in the 1901 census. These would be contemporaries of ancestors who may have emigrated mid-century.
  2. Find people who were born outside of Ireland -- by ticking the "show all information box" and looking at the "birthplace" column. 
  3. Find visitors on the night of the 1901 census -- by ticking the "show all information box" and looking at "relation to head of household." This query will identify people who were visiting another household when the census was taken.
  4. Find police constables (or any other occupation) -- by ticking the "show all information box" and looking at "occupation." More than 2100 people reported being Royal Irish Constables in the 1901 census. A further breakdown can be found by adding the county to your query. 
  5. Is my surname Irish, English or Scottish" -- Collins advises you can get a "broad feeling for the names that arrived in Ireland from the time of the plantations from the 1600s onward" by searching for the predominant Protestant religions (Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist).
The 1901 census is free to research at the National Archives website.  Don't overlook the Help Menu  because, well, it's helpful!
September 2, 2018 By: IGSI Blogger
Class on Irish surnames and given names
September brings two different dates and two locations for learning about Irish names, brought to you by the Irish Genealogical Society Intl (IGSI).
Experienced Irish-researcher Tom Rice will present "The Joy of Irish Surnames and Given Names" class twice:
Saturday, September 8, 10:30 am to 12 noon                                                                                  Library and Research Center (MGS)                                                                                               1385 Mendota Heights Rd, Mendota Heights, MN
Saturday, September 15, 10:30 am to 12 noon                                                                                Celtic Junction Arts Center                                                                                                            835 Prior Ave N, St Paul, MN
Where did they come from, what are the common variations, what are the nicknames and equivalents in English, Latin and Irish? You need to know these things so you can trace your most elusive ancestors who often hid behind these name variations. Can a surname help to find a place of origin in Ireland? Was Owen MacShane really Gene Johnson? We will look at these and other questions that arise around Irish names.
Class fee is $15 for IGSI members or $20 for non-members. Members must log-in for the $15 member class rate. 
Read more about IGSI events and sign up for a class at the IGSI website.