Archive for 2011

Irish Archive and Library Reforms Worry Genealogists

The IGRS has issued the following press release and I have to say the the Society of Genealogists most definitely shares their worries –

The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) is concerned that a so-called merger of the National Archives “into” the National Library could diminish these vital heritage services.

Steven Smyrl, IGRS chairman, says that while the IGRS recognises the need for savings across the board in Irish public services, it is concerned that with two bodies under one director, competition for resources could be fierce.

“The proposed area of control is simply too vast, whether or not, as the Government proposes, both institutions are to retain their separate identities. The Government’s plan is further complicated by reference to the possible sharing of services between the National Library and the National Museum which could dilute the services still further.”

Smyrl acknowledges that there are savings to be made through the pooling of public services resources. “Conservation and administration are just two such areas that immediately spring to mind, but while libraries and museums might appear to be similar they are actually very different service providers.

“Staff trained in the care and control of archive materials require quite different skills to those working in a library and economies of scale will not be found by requiring flexibility from staff to work across borders in the proposed new set-up. It is crucial that specialist knowledge and training be recognised as essential in service delivery at national institutions. The historians, academics, researchers and genealogists using them rely heavily upon the staff’s expertise and knowledge.

“The IGRS welcomes the Government’s initiative to see where savings can be made but advises caution if irreparable damage to public service is to be avoided.“



The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) is a learned Society established in 1936 in the Office of the York Herald, London. The founding members were deeply concerned at the loss of much material of genealogical value; their priority was to collect copies of materials compiled prior to the destruction of the Public Record Office in Dublin in 1922. The core of the Society’s unique reference library was formed from the personal collection of the Irish genealogist, Father Wallace Clare, the founder of the Society. It has been greatly expanded by subsequent donations from members.

The IGRS aims to promote and encourage the study of Irish genealogy and to collect books and manuscripts of genealogical value.


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Historical Divers Index

I was fascinated to hear of a useful genealogy resource for anyone who has a connection with divers in their family history.


As I live in Whitstable which has a rich history of diving I was especially interesting to receive an email from Gary Wallace-Potter of The Historical Diving Society . He tells me the HDS orignally started compiling the Divers Index, in 1997 as an occupation database of Divers, Divers Tenders, Attendants and Linesmen, and Diving Related Trades.  The Society’s aim  is ‘to promote an interest in, and the preservation of our diving heritage’ and the Index is symbolic of this by making it accessible to the public, in particular family historians, and researchers.

The original source of information for the Index was extracted from Census Returns, C19th Newspapers and other historical documents, and therefore was predominately of C19th people.

However,  with the Internet  new documents are becoming accessible. Through various exhibitions  and events that the Historical Diving Society Society conduct throughout the year they have expanded their source of names into the C20th.  This is an on-going project and the aim is eventually to create the Index into an ‘On-line searchable database’, but presently all enquiries are dealt with manual, via email contact from the Historical Diving Society web-site, postal or direct contact.

To date the Historical Divers Index comprises approximately 4900 names of divers, divers tenders, attendants, linesmen, and diving related trades.

If you have any inquiries about diving history please do pass your details onto the Historical Diving Society  who will be only too happy to help.

clip_image002 The Historical Diving Society – Divers Index

c/o 2 St. Lawrence Way

Bricket Wood

St. Albans, Hertfordshire


Home Tel: 01923 – 400906



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History and Genealogy participants needed for paid usability research study (Tue 22 Nov and Thu 24 Nov)

The SoG has been asked to pass on this call for anyone interested in history and
genealogy to act as participants for a web usability study. The study take
place in central London on Tuesday the 22nd and in central Manchester on
Thursday 24th November. The SoG can’t disclose full details of the research but
we can assure you that it’s bona fide.

The study will be exploring an online service for searching an extensive collection
of records held across a range of archives. People often find taking part in
such usability studies interesting and rewarding. By taking part in this study
you will not only get a chance to explore a developing online search facility,
but will be able to actively help improve the service for researchers like

You don’t need to be an experienced researcher to take part and if you know anyone
else who might be interested please pass the message on.

The session will last for one hour and there will be a cash incentive for taking

If you are interested, please answer a few questions about yourself here:

For more information about the study, please contact Dr Andrea Fallas,

For more information about the organisation carrying out the research, please

Else Churchill

SoG Genealogist

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Society of Genealogists publishes its first ebook…

The Society of Genealogists is delighted to make My Ancestor was a Royal Marine by Ken Divall available as our first ebook. The ebook is now available to download for Kindle users through Amazon, price £5.69, or $9.14 if you are in the USA. There will be further Society of Genealogists ebooks made available in the coming months, and we’ll keep you informed as and when these become available.

British Library Newspaper Archive beta test site available over the weekend 11-14 November

Anyone who is already registered on the British Newspaper Archives website will have just received an update about acces to the beta test site for the weekend as shown below.

Update: BNA [beta] Access

As you registered early on, we would like to thank
you for your interest and offer you an exclusive preview and the opportunity to
influence the final site when it is released later this year.

The website itself is now close to completion, and we are inviting you to a preview
of the ’beta‘ site (the test version of the site). This will also help us to
identify any problems and make improvements before the full public launch.

There are over 1.6 million fully searchable pages available and we are offering you a
special package of £6.95 for use in the beta period. Please note, searching is
free, however, you will need to register and purchase credits to view images in
our fantastic deep-zoom viewer.

The beta version of the site is available from now, until 10:00am on
Monday, 14th November, so please don‘t forget to make use of your opportunity to
preview the site! Please note, you will not be able to print or download images
during the beta period. You will be able to freely view the articles that you
have purchased for an additional 2 months when the site goes live.

The beta site is available NOW at:


There then follows information about personal login to the site. So its all systems go for access to newspapers.


Paying for the beta test is a bit cheeky but I suspect it will stop the site falling over and text the payment mechanisms.

Guess what I shall be doing over the weekend. Good hunting everyone



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