Monday 19 February 2018

Irish ViC: Sources for Finding Seventeenth-Century Families in Ireland

Fintan Mullan will present on Sources for Finding Seventeenth-Century Families in Ireland

This presentation will look at those sources which can throw light on families in the seventeenth century. It identifies documents relating to the Plantation period (1610–41) and also considers sources from the second half of the seventeenth century, such as hearth money rolls, the Civil Survey and poll books, which are of use to genealogists. The presentation will also present information on a range of resources published in the past few years which can help researchers. The sources discussed, in many instances, relate to the island of Ireland and not only Ulster.

To register for the ViC:

Sunday 18 February 2018

When Is An Ancestral Tour NOT An Ancestral Tour?

Everyone seems to be jumping on the Ancestral Tour train these days. For the most part, I think that’s great. The more countries we can provide access to to connect people to their ancestral homeland the better. There is no greater, more profound experience. And when genealogists can help make that connection, it is a humbling and rewarding experience that defies description.

But like anything else, some people are jumping on the bandwagon without really understanding the concept. Without really knowing what they are doing. Sure, we all have to start somewhere, I get that. But let’s keep in mind that those we provide our services to have expectations and we have an obligation to them to provide a once in a lifetime experience. For the person we provide service to, it has become a strong case for Caveat Emptor.

When is an ancestral tour NOT an ancestral tour?

1.       When it is a sightseeing tour disguised as an ancestral tour. Everyone should visit the country their ancestors came from. Without question. But unless the tour takes you to research facilities where you can find your ancestors in the documents, or takes you to the home, church, or grave of your ancestor, it is not an ancestral tour. It is a sightseeing tour. Don’t be fooled and don’t pay for something you aren’t going to get.

2.       When it is a conference disguised as an ancestral tour. Conferences are a fantastic way to learn. Truly fantastic. They energize us. The teach us new strategies and they expose us to information and people that we would never have known otherwise. But if you are learning on a ship or on a bus then you aren’t taking part in an ancestral tour. You are attending a conference. Be sure you know what you are getting when you sign up.

3.       When the tour is linked to your DNA results. DNA has opened a whole new world in connecting people. And in some instances, a whole can of worms. DNA is a great tool for genealogy, but when you are going to a country based on your DNA results, results that don’t connect you to actual people in your family tree, you are not on an ancestral tour. I’m not really sure what you are on, but I think it’s likely similar to a sightseeing tour.

4.       When a genealogist’s dream holiday is disguised as an ancestral tour. Just because the person leading your tour is a genealogist does not mean you are on an ancestral tour! You are only on an ancestral tour if the genealogist has knowledge of the country you are going to – likely because of their own heritage. And an intimate knowledge at that. Go to Ireland with an genealogist who is Irish or has Irish ancestry. Go to Germany with a genealogist that is German or has German ancestry. Make sure they know other genealogist in the country you are visiting, that they know of where you can access records that will lead you to your grandparents, great grandparents, great great grandparents etc. You want to be assured that the genealogist has an understanding of the history of the country you are going to and a sense of what led to people leaving their homeland in the first place. They should understand the culture, the language and the customs as well. And of course, they need to know the geography so they know, realistically, what can and can’t be accomplished in the time frame you are going to be in your ancestral homeland.

5.       When it is all done on a wing and a prayer it is not an ancestral tour. Planning ahead is crucial to a successful ancestral tour. Make sure the genealogist you hire is going to prepare you for your time in your homeland. They should either assist you in getting your research to a certain level before you travel, or they should be doing the research for you so that they can then give you that once in a lifetime experience. Look at their history, their reputation. How long have they been providing ancestral tours? Have they evolved over time? Do they have a blog where you can see for yourself what a tour with them will be like? Are there testimonials from past tour participants that will give you a sense of whether you are making a good investment? Don’t be afraid to ask them if they have repeat customers.

I love ancestral tourism. It has become a passion for me. Not for me, but for the experiences I get the joy of sharing in when others feel that deep connection to their homeland. When the tour completes their sense of who they are. When they feel more grounded in their heritage. I fully believe that the sandbox is a big one and lots of opportunities exist for others to provide ancestral tours. But I balk at people disguising other pieces of genealogy or travel as ancestral tours.

Tuesday 13 February 2018

Irish ViC - Meet the Presenters

                 The Irish ViC (virtual conference) will take place on Saturday April 21, 2018

Gillian Hunt is Research Officer with the Ulster Historical Foundation and manages the Foundation’s many genealogical activities. She teaches genealogy classes in various educational institutions in Northern Ireland and has spoken in Britain and North America and Australasia.

Gillian will present on Using Church Records for Irish Family History Research

Fintan Mullan has been Executive Director of Ulster Historical Foundation since 2001. He has extensive experience in Irish family history research and publishing, and is a regular international speaker on Irish genealogy.

Fintan will present on Finding 17th Century Families in Ireland

Genealogist Chris Paton is the author of several Irish based research guide books, including A Beginner's Guide to British and Irish Genealogy, A Decade of Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923, Discover Irish Land Records, Irish Family History Resources Online and Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet, available in North America from Global Genealogy

Chris will present on Irish Land Records

Fiona Fitzsimons is a founder and Director of Eneclann, a Trinity College Dublin Campus company specializing in historic research and digitization of records. She formerly tutored at Trinity College, and still contributes regular seminars at the Innovation Academy, a joint initiative of Trinity College, University College Dublin, and Queen’s University Belfast.

Fiona will present on Finding Women in the Irish Records

Maurice Gleeson, a psychiatrist and pharmaceutical physician by day and a genetic genealogist by night, is administrator for the Gleason/Gleeson, Spearin, Farrell, Irish Caribbean DNA and WW1 Missing Legacy projects. He has organised the DNA Lectures for "Genetic Genealogy Ireland" in Dublin and Back To Our Past in Belfast. Maurice has recently authored a special DNA issue for Moorshead Magazines and is working to complete one on Irish Research as well. 

Maurice will present in Making Online Resources Work for You

5 Presentations for just $79.00


Monday 12 February 2018

Pre-Cruise Conference Registration OPEN

The pre-cruise conference will be the weekend of April 14th and 15th, 2018

The pre-cruise conference will be open to everyone who is booked on the cruise or who has expressed interest in the cruise. Those not booked will only get access for 4 days. Those booked for the cruise will get extended access so that they can re-visit the information and ensure they are prepared for their consultations or research time in Ireland and Scotland.

The pre-recorded presentations are well underway and Registration is OPEN.

There are 12 presentations in total. Six for those with Irish Ancestors and six for those with Scottish Ancestors. You can register for either country, or for all 12 presentations.


The learning will use the same platform that was used for the Scottish ViC and that will be used for the Irish ViC. This is an online educational platform so you will register for a "course". Don't worry about the semantics. There's no test and no homework.

The Irish presentations will be released on Saturday April 14th (2018) at 9 am Eastern. You can work your way through the presentations at your leisure. Access will remain open until April 2019.

The Scottish presentations will be released on Sunday, April 15th (2018) at 9 am Eastern and access will remain open until April 2019

Please note that there will be no opportunity to ask questions of the presenters but you are welcome to email me your questions and we will get the answers for you. Please note, however, that we will not be responding to consultations, so please don't include your genealogy brick walls.

The Irish ONLY presentations are $149.00
The Scottish ONLY presentations are $149.00
All 12 presentations are $275.00

On the website homepage, click on the "pre-cruise learning" tab at the top.

FOUR Spaces Left for Glasgow Genealogy Tour 2019

There are just four spaces left for the Glasgow research tour May 16-24, 2019. 

Here is the link for more information.

Please also note that air travel or travel from the airport to the hotel are not included. 

Monday 5 February 2018

Save the Dates!

The pre-cruise conference will be the weekend of April 14th and 15th. The pre-cruise conference will be open to everyone who is booked on the cruise or who has expressed interest in the cruise. Those not booked will only get access for 4 days. Those booked for the cruise will get extended access so that they can re-visit the information and ensure they are prepared for their consultations or research time in Ireland and Scotland.