Today was the last day of the Belfast trip. Some researchers are going home and others are heading off for new adventures in the area where their ancestors lived. It was a day to finish up research or in some cases to do some sightseeing and shopping. The last event was a group dinner at St. James Restaurant.
The GRONI terminals were missing from PRONI this year. If that's too many acronyms for you, GRONI is the General Register Office of Northern Ireland. If you've been following the blog, you probably know that PRONI is the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. Since 1922 GRONI has been responsible for recording all civil births, marriages and deaths in Northern Ireland. Their website allows you to view and order copies of the civil records (for a fee) with the restriction of 100 years on births, 75 years on marriages and 50 years on deaths. These are the same restrictions as the Republic of Ireland. However, the restrictions only apply to online records and if you are in Ireland, you can view records up to the present. You can transcribe the records, or purchase them, but cannot take a photograph.
For quite a few years, there have been terminals in the search room at PRONI that allow you to use the GRONI system. You need to be a registered user on the restricted online service with credits sitting in your account, but the only difference is the ability to view records up to the present. Unlike the GRO in Dublin which updates the system when they get around to it (we're still waiting for the deaths from 1864-1870 in Dublin), GRONI's system is updated weekly. Unfortunately the system has been down since early summer and is not expected to be up and running again at PRONI until at least December as they are waiting for new equipment. So earlier this week, I made an appointment for some of the researchers to go to the GRONI Office in Stranmillis Court nears Queens University to use the terminals in their search room. The ability to search these records may allow you to find living cousins. So that was today's new repository.
The week ended with a group dinner at St. James Restaurant. It is bittersweet to say good bye to everyone. Some of the researchers have been with me for over two weeks but the time has come. I hope you have enjoyed reading the blogs and will perhaps consider joining me next October, which will be my final group trip. I'll be in Ireland (to try and do some of my own research) for a few days, and returning home on November 3rd. I won't be blogging these last few days, but watch this space for additional information in the next two weeks.
Thanks for following and...Happy Hunting!
Here are some final notes including those that missed last night's blog.
I enjoyed going to the North of Ireland Family History Society and found the experience to be enlightening. I learned about using the advanced features of Family Tree DNA on my own family tree during the one on one consultation with Martin. This allowed me to find critical DNA matches on two family lines with brick walls. Now I can see that I have multiple matches on these lines on the same chromosome at the same location, which indicates a common ancestor. I plan to collaborate with these matches to try to break down my brick walls. It was a very interesting and worthwhile experience. Donna, thank you for arranging this.
From Pat T...
This week, I was able to answer one of my 25-year research questions: Where was the home of origin for Eliza Carney and her family in Ireland? Answer: The Blessington Estate, part of the Downshire Estates, in County Wicklow, Ballydonnell Townland, along the Gap Road. The Downshire Estate Collection of nearly 50,000 documents have stimulated more questions which would probably require another 25 years to question, research, discover, evaluate, correlate and write. Question: What pushed this family from this land? Most likely, economic conditions, the potato famine which made it impossible to both feed the family and to pay the rent which allowed Downshire to meet his own increasing financial obligations, and the estates would soon be broken up. Question: Why was Paul Carney paid a gratuity to assist his emigration to America in an amount equal to 2 or 3 years salary for many of the estate employees, when most other tenants giving up their land were only paid perhaps only 5% or 10% as much, if that. Maybe not answerable. Sadly, one new question will be "where are the papers for middleman John Finnimor, from whom the Carney families rented their land for 70 years?" Is it possible to learn more about the family's earlier generations on Ballydonnell and Ballylow townlands, since the greatest weight of knowledge about them only starts when Finnimor died and they became direct tenants of the Marquis of Downshire, with no middleman. I want to know more. My time has flown, the sky is calling, and I must fly from Ireland next week.
Thanks, Donna, for facilitating the best two weeks of successful research I've ever had.
Success today at GRONI! We learned lots of new names from the post-1922 marriages and we’re looking forward to checking them against our DNA matches.