I’m back home after spending the week in Salt Lake City working at the Family History Library and attending RootsTech. It was fun meeting everyone. The Salt Palace is a huge convention center and I ended up having to get a scooter to get around, after my knee gave out on me Tuesday night. I have to say, it did make it a bit easier!
One of the things that was disappointing was the lack of Irish lectures. Although I had submitted four, I only was asked to do two beginner lectures on mobile apps and social networking.
Jenny Joyce of Australia did an excellent presentation on the Irish Registry of Deeds. It was in one of the Ballrooms and was a full house. I spoke with a number of people after who were disappointed…they had attended because it said Irish. The Registry of Deeds was set up set up in 1708 in order to record land conveyances. At the time it was set up to make it harder for Roman Catholics to buy land or to enter into any type of long term lease. The people found in these records are primarily Protestant middle and upper classes. That’s not to say you won’t find any Roman Catholics listed, but they would tend to be middle class merchants. I can tell you that I have not found any of my ancestors, even the Protestant ones, in the Registry of Deeds. Every year, however, there are multiple people on my research trip who find it a goldmine. Here’s a guest blog by Polly Kimmitt about her experience at the Registry of Deeds.
After Jenny, Brian Donovan of FindMyPast and Eneclann did a presentation on Prosecuting Dissent: Security records for Irish family history 1836-1922. Brian explained how Ireland was almost continually policed during this period with extensive records kept including police records, court records (which though lost in the fire, were covered in newspaper reports), prison records and British Military records.
Brian also lectured on the Digital Revolution in Irish Genealogy. He provided a timeline from 1995 through 2017, estimating that there are over 162,383,967 records digitized.
Though not specific to Ireland, but nevertheless very important to those of us doing Irish research, Brian spoke on Unlocking Roman Catholic Records. As the manager of this project for FindMyPast, Brian announced the release of the baptism and marriage transcripts for the New York Archdiocese (images to follow). Also this week, addition records were added to the records of the Philadelphia and Baltimore Archdiocese. FindMyPast also announced the purchase of Twile, winner of two RootsTech innovation awards. Twile allows family historians to build your family tree and create interactive timelines.
Lots of deals offered on DNA kits at RootsTech. It was nearly impossible to get near the LivingDNA Booth where they were selling their kit for $49. If you hurry up, you can get the kit for $89 by ordering before March 6th (see below). I tested with LivingDNA last year. I was impressed with the regional breakdown for the UK and Ireland. It matches pretty closely with what I know of my ancestry. They announced that later this year they will be adding Family Matches.
Another exciting announcement was from MyHeritage. They announced a program called DNA Quest to help adoptees and their birth families reunite. They will be donating 15,000 DNA kits to this program.
To get an idea of some of the other announcements, check out Dick Eastman’s newsletter.