The Irish Came!

   The Ulster Historical Foundation, in the persons of Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt, wowed the attendees at the Root Cellar 2018 Spring Seminar.

   With a Seminar attendance of nearly 250, many dressed in green to mark St. Patrick’s Day, we also welcomed our first canine genealogist.

   The four presentations seemed to fly by, as first Fintan presented an overview of Irish history and the basics of research, particularly the importance of understanding the various administrative divisions in Ireland.

   The first break and the first raffle drawings gave people a chance to move around a bit and enjoy the many snacks and maybe a cup of coffee.

   The second hour was ably handled by Gillian Hunt, as she gave the attendees a huge amount of information on Church records in Ireland. She covered both Catholic and Protestant parish rercords and explained how the tumultuous and difficult history of Ireland has affected these records.

   Next was a lunch break, and arecord set in the handing out of 184 lunch boxes from Subway. With more lunches than last year, Paula Parmelee and her able crew beat the last year’s speed of serving everyone in 12 minutes.

   Fintan was back at the microphone for the third seminar hour, and he explained the use of Griffith's Valuation. A valuable resource for Irish research, Griffith’s Valuation 1848-1864 was a complete list of occupiers of land, tenements and houses. For each townland it names all people in the houses or on the land, whether owners, renters, or leaseholders.

   During the third break the final baskets were raffled, making a total of 13.

   In the fourth hour Gillian was back and presented “Census Substitutes: Other Important Sources for 18th and 19th Centuries; Strategies for Success”. Such sources provide work arounds to compensate for the disastrous loss of Irish census records and of other records in the fire at the Records Office during the 1922 "troubles".

   After a brief break, Fintan and Gillian took turns answering attendees’ questions that had been collected during the lunch hour.       Together they answered several specific questions. Some of them were:

  • How common is the name “Campbell” in Down? Very common

  • What are the most common ports of emmigration from Co. Down? Belfast, Newry

  • William Baxter emigrated to Pennsylvania prior to 1791. How do I find his immigration? BNL Index, early advertisements, letters

  • How do I research my sea captain ancester buried at sea; first child born in Ireland 1848, last child born 1852 in Liverpool? Baptisms on

  • What are sources for information about deserters? None known; try BNL and runaway advertisements

   By 5:00 pm the meeting room was cleared, baskets collected, and speakers en route to the airport. But the pleasures, lessons, and appreciations had not subsided. Finton and Gillian had left multiple handouts for all attendees which included many maps , histories, and research advice. They later emailed several more documents which have been distributed to all attendee

   We appreciate the many people who pitched in to make this seminar one of our most successful. Good organization, detailed planning, experienced workers, and dedication by all were the winners here. There certainly couldn’t have had a better crew to work with.