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October 26, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
James Hack Tuke: Making Connections
James Hack Tuke: Making Connections
Saturday, 30 Oct 2021, 1 PM (Irish Time)
Galway Beo Facebook
& Galway Beo YouTube
Host: Professor Christine Kinealy
with many well-known Irish speakers
Information from Gerard Moran: "Conference regarding James Hack Tuke and his emigration scheme from the West of Ireland between 1882 and 1884. He sent out 9,500 people, over 1,200 families to 218 destinations in Canada and the United States, and we now estimate there are over 750,000 of their descendants living in North America."
If interested in more information about conference, contact the organizer:
Ms. Marie Mannion, Heritage Officer at Galway County Council
or Clifden & Connemara Heritage Society
October 21, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Taming Genealogy Data
You may already have what you are looking for!!
Buried in those paper files, in the boxes under the bed, or on your computer may be the exact information you are seeking about your great-grandparents. You NEED to attend the next IGSI webinar to learn the basics of working “smarter” instead of “harder."
                Taming the Genealogy Data Monster
                          with Thomas MacEntee
         Saturday, November 13, 10:30am – Noon CST
Get organized and register HERE now!  $15 for IGSI members using discount sent via member email/$20 for non-members
October 20, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Autumn issue of Irish Lives Remembered

This issue offers a wealth of articles on Irish lives, recent and distant, and a trove of genealogy tips to help you with your research. Read it here.

  • Fiona Fitzsimons – HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco makes a Major Donation to Trinity College Dublin to Honour Family Links with the College and with Ireland
  • Michael McShane and Catherine Kerr - The Re-Indexed 1821 Census for Cavan is Now Available at
  • Maurice Gleeson – Testing Siblings Helps the WATO (“What Are The Odds”) Tool Hone in on Unknown Relationships
  • Robert Flanagan Stieglitz – Great-Great-Grandfather Thomas Flanagan, A New Yorker Carved in Stone: The Search for His Parents in Cloonfree, County Roscommon
  • Paul MacCotter and Eamonn O’Hanlon – The O’Hanlons of Orior (County Armagh)
  • Eamonn P. Kelly – The Goddess and the Horse-Eared King: Brigid and Labhraigh Loingseach – Ancestral Deities of the Leinstermen
  • Brigit McCone – The Spiritualized Internationalism of Annie Besant
  • Nathan Mannion – John Purroy Mitchel, the “Boy Mayor of New York”
  • Book Excerpt – Ancestral Journeys (2021) by Kevin Terry
  • The Genealogical Publishing Company Book Excerpt – The People of Cork 1600 – 1799 (2017) by David Dobson
Regular columns: 
  • Dear Genie (Our Genealogists help you with your research block)
  • Photodetective (Jayne Shrimpton analyses one of your family photos)
  • Patrick's Page (Patrick Roycroft deals with a client at the Irish Family History Centre)
  • FMP Roundup (Niall Cullen lets us know of the new Irish genealogy records that have been added to Findmypast)
October 18, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Face masks required at MGC
In light of the recent uptick in Covid 19 cases, the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS) board has decided to once again require that everyone wear masks in all the rooms at MGC starting on Monday October 18th.  
MGS will provide masks at the front desk in the event visitors do not have one.
October 14, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Managing Genealogy Data
Overwhelmed by all the bit and pieces of family history information you have? This is for you!
Saturday, November 13 – 10:30am – Noon CST
Managing the Genealogy Data Monster
With Thomas MacEntee
It is SO easy to let the large amount of data involved with genealogy overwhelm you – almost to the point that family history research is no longer fun! Learn how to tackle the three main problem areas of genealogy data: research data, project data and file date so you can put the fun back in your research!
Thomas MacEntee is a dynamic author, educator and genealogy expert. Thomas has over 42 years of experience researching family history.
Register HERE - $15 for IGSI members/$20 for non-members. Register today and get it  on your calendar!
October 12, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
DNA and genealogy website solve mystery
I love it when mysteries are solved by genealogy,
Here's the link to a recent story titled "How DNA and a genealogy website solved a decades-old mystery."
October 7, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Hiring Pro Genealogist & Irish Saturday
What are you doing Saturday, October 9th?  IGSI has some suggestions!
  • There is still time to register for the October webinar, Hiring a Professional Genealogist, 10:30am – Noon CDT. Space is limited so register HERE now. Free for IGSI members (using Discount Code sent in member email)/$20 for non-members.  Maybe a professional can help you break down that Irish stone wall in your tree!
  • Will you be in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area on Saturday? Stop into the Minnesota Genealogical Society for Irish Saturday. IGSI research volunteers are there to help you with your research questions. More information HERE.
See you Saturday!
October 6, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Centerfold in The Septs
In the October 2021 issue of The Septs you’ll see a first for IGSI: a centerfold!
However it may not be the pin-up you visualize when you hear the word “centerfold.”
Remember, the theme for this issue is Genealogical Education -- why, where and how to become a better genealogist. Who among us doesn’t wish we could become a more effective family history researcher? But how do we decide what specific competencies are lacking?
And what does that have to do with a centerfold anyway?
At the center of the printed October issue, on pages 98-99, you’ll find a diagram that visually organizes various types of knowledge and skills. The image is called a mind map, and Lois Mackin uses it in her “Educational Self-Assessment” article to turn a daunting list into a colorful and memorable illustration of competencies.
If you’re reading this, we know you, too, find genealogy to be an exciting subject. Don't miss the October 2021 journal. Printed copies should arrive by snail-mail later this week; if you're an IGSI member, you can already look at the issue online.
October 5, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Sources for Irish Family History
When researching our ancestors, we appropriately concentrate on primary sources such as civil and church records. We are often left hungry for details about individuals and their personal lives -- rarely-found nuggets which add color and dimension to family history. Admittedly, locating them seems like seeking a needle in a haystack.
Flyleaf Press has just published a second edition of a bibliography compiled by James G. Ryan, described this way: 
Sources For Irish Family History 2021 is a hugely expanded edition of our existing guide and lists some 6,500 references books, journal articles and other material on 2,500 families. These are mainly accounts of particular families and range from emotional accounts of the people and their ancestral homes to dispassionate and fully documented family studies and pedigrees. They can often put some human dimension to the barren facts available from the usual family records. No church or civil record will tell you that your ancestor was a wonderful singer or dancer; or of the details of their travels or their occupation; nor whether their recorded marriages were the culminations of great romances, or of family arrangements. Such information can, however, be occasionally found in the articles and books listed here.  
The publication is available as an ebook for 18 Euros. More information can be found here.
October 1, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Hiring a professional genealogist
How to Hire a Professional Genealogist webinar
Saturday, October 9th, 10:30am – Noon CDT
Hiring a professional genealogist may be just what the doctor
ordered. Perhaps you are planning a trip to Ireland and would
like to visit the place of origin for your Irish ancestors but just don’t have the time to dig into the records. Or maybe you need copies of records housed in the Ontario, Canada archives for your deceased Irish great-grandmother. Whatever your reason, consider hiring a pro.
Join us for our October webinar where a panel of experts will discuss what you need to know to get help from a professional genealogist.
The webinar is free for IGSI members (use Discount Code sent in member email); $20 for non-members. Register HERE today – space is limited.
September 23, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
FamilySearch microfilm all digitized!
FamilySearch has announced completion of a gigantic project to digitize their 2.4 million rolls of microfilm! The project started in 1998 and was expected to take 50 years but finished in less than half that time.
Remember FamilySearch is totally free! Their collection includes 11.5 billion individuals in over 200 countries! All you need is an internet connection and a FamilySearch account (which is also free). My personal favorite way to search on Ancestry is to query the Catalog by location.
Read more about this magnificent accomplishment at the FamilySearch blog.
September 22, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Learn with IGSI!
Two great learning opportunities are coming up:
  • Saturday, September 25 – 10:30am – Noon CDT: How I Found Skunk Hollow with David Trudeau
This FREE webinar is presented by the Canadian Interest Group of the Minnesota Genealogical Society in partnership with IGSI. David will present a case study of how he found his Irish Canadian ancestors using Ontario maps. No pre-registration required. For more information, click HERE.
  • Saturday, October 9, 10:30am – Noon CDT: How to Hire a Professional Genealogist with Lois Mackin (moderator), Liz Gomoll, Bob Johnson and Lorna Moloney
This panel presentation may be just what you need! Perhaps some assistance from an expert will help find that elusive piece of information about your ancestor. FREE for IGSI members with Discount Code sent in member email/$20 for non-members. Space is limited. Register HERE.
September 18, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
I encountered a new term this week: the word "clachan."
I found it while reading Out of Ireland: The Story of Irish Emigration to America by Kerby Miller and Paul Wagner (Elliott & Clark Pubishing, 1994). Writing about overpopulation and famine, the authors described how the 19th century Irish countryside was filled with people:
"Many Catholic peasants lived in crowded rural settlements called clachans. A few dozen, or even several hundred, one- or two-room thatched cottages were clustered together, surrounded by unfenced fields for raising potatoes and a few stunted livestock..."
Here's part of an illuminating definition of "clachan" at
"The house cluster, consisting of irregular groupings of farmhouses often in association with an unenclosed and communally worked field system, was found extensively in the western regions of Ireland in the nineteenth century. This settlement form contrasted with the dispersed single farmstead, which is most characteristic of the Irish landscape in modern times. The geographer Estyn Evans christened these clusters clachans (a term with no known provenance in Irish linguistic tradition) on the basis of a similarity with a Scottish settlement of this name..." 
If you're interested in learning more about the (apparently somewhat controversial) historical concept, here's a link to the Encyclopedia article.
September 16, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
How to Hire a Professional Genealogist
Is your family tree filled with Irish stone walls? Perhaps you should hire a professional genealogist to break through!
Saturday, October 9 – 10:30-Noon CDT: How to Hire a Professional Genealogist
Featuring expert panelists Liz Gomoll, Bob Johnson,
Lorna Moloney and moderator Lois Abromitis Mackin. Presenters are pictured here, counter-clockwise, from upper left corner.
They will help you decide when to consider hiring a professional, what you need to do before that, finding qualified candidates, costs and tips.
This webinar is FREE for IGSI members but you must use Discount Code PRO21. Register HERE.
Can’t make it? Register and we will send you a link to the recording within a few days of the live event.
Let an expert help you!
P.S. While you are on the IGSI website, check out a free webinar from our friends at the Canadian Interest Group of the Minnesota Genealogical Society: "How I Found Skunk’s Hollow" with David Trudeau on Saturday, September 25th, 10:30-Noon CDT. David’s case study explores the use of maps in learning more about his Irish ancestors in Ontario, Canada.
September 9, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Time to build your genealogy skills
There still is time for…time for you to build your genealogy skills!
You can register for Saturday’s IGSI webinar, Comparing the
Irish-Rich Databases, up until we go live at 10:30am (CDT).
Can’t make it then but want to see it?
Register anyway and early next week you will receive a link to the recording and handout from expert speaker Mary Wickersham.
To register and for more information, click HERE. $15 IGSI members/$20 non-members.
September 6, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Irish orphan trains to South Dakota
My immigrant ancestors from Germany and the Netherlands settled in South Dakota in the 1880s and 1890s. I didn't realize "the Irish make up 10% of the population (there) and rank as the 3rd major ancestry group after the Germans - 37%, and Norwegians - 12%." That quote comes from a 2011 article by Robert E. Lyons about Irish orphans sent to Yankton, SD, to help create an independent Irish Republic:
The first Irish immigrants were drawn to Yankton in 1869 by John Pope Hodnett of Chicago, a native Irishman from Cork who had been appointed assessor of internal revenue for Dakota Territory by President Ulysses S. Grant. Mr. Hodnett worked heartily to build up and develop Dakota Territory and to encourage the tide of immigration which was flowing out from the Eastern states.
He had a dream to establish an Irish colony in Yankton, the territorial capital. Hodnett, a thirty year old young man from Youghal, County Cork, had been a leader of a political element known as Irish Republicans, the Fenian Brotherhood. Along with many Irishmen after their service in the Civil War, he joined the Fenians and was dedicated to the establishment of an independent Irish Republic finally emancipated from England.
George Kingsbury, in his History of Dakota Territory -- South Dakota: Its History and Its People, credits this new Irish republican organization with becoming a weighty voice in the arena of politics in America, and the voice was being uttered in distinct tones and in unambiguous language by hundreds of eloquent Irish republicans: "On the free soil of the West that had never been tainted by the footprints of a slave, Irish republicanism had its birth."
Lyons goes on about the Irish settlements at Yankton. Here's a link to the full article:
September 3, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Find a needle in a haystack
Comparing the Irish-Rich Databases with Mary Wickersham
Saturday, Sept. 11, 10:30-Noon CDT
A few years ago, an IGSI member came across a
marriage record dated 23 Sep 1811 in Midleton, County Cork, for groom Redmond Geary of Aghada and bride Mary Moore. These were her great-great grandparents and she had a place of origin!! The record was in RootsIreland.
Was it in Ancestry, FamilySearch, FindMyPast? No, no and no. A one-month subscription to RootsIreland broke down a stubborn brick wall.
What are the similarities between these major Irish record depositories? What are the differences? Register HERE for the next IGSI webinar to find out!  $15 for IGSI members/$20 for non-members.
Can’t make it that day or time? Register anyway and you will receive a proprietary link to the recording and handout within a few days of the live event. 
Maybe you will find YOUR needle in a haystack!!
September 2, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
The Casey Collection
One of the jewels in IGSI’s Irish collection at the Hoffman Research Library is the 16-volume set known as the Casey Collection. If you have ancestors from Cork or Kerry, you’ll want to learn more.
This series of books, compiled by Albert E. Casey, is formally titled O'Kief, Coshe Mang, Slieve Lougher and the Upper Blackwater in Ireland. It includes Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland and Quaker birth, baptism, marriage, death and burial records transcribed from parish and civil registers.
The title is found in only a few large libraries across the country. IGSI’s set is probably located in one of the smallest libraries and certainly the closest for most IGSI members.
Here are several helpful introductions to the Casey Collection:
  1. “Casey’s Remarkable Collection of Genealogical Sources for Kerry and Cork ... and How to Use It” by Michele Patin
  2. My Kerry Ancestors website
  3. “If You’re Looking at Cork, Don’t Forget the Casey Collection” by Ray Martin. This article appears in The Septs, Volume 16, No. 3 (July 1995), Page 90.
  4. “The Mother Lode of Irish Genealogy” by Ray Martin, another Septs article published in Volume 16, No. 4 (October 1995), Page 97.
Note you must be an IGSI member to access online issues of The Septs. The index and images from the Casey Collection are also available with an Ancestry World Explorer subscription.
Another option is to visit the MGS library and look in person at the “three feet of stout, hardbound volumes,… a monumental hoard of information” as described by Michele Patin. The books might more accurately be described as super-sized since they are both tall and 3-4 inches thick. Despite the large size of the volumes, the print can be small and researchers are advised to bring a large magnifying glass.
August 27, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Webinar Recordings Available!
Have something on your calendar to prevent you from attending
our next live webinar? Never fear – recordings are here!!
Perhaps you want to attend “Comparing the Irish-Rich Databases” on Saturday, September 11th from 10:30am –
Noon CDT. However your grandson has a soccer game or you
are attending a niece’s wedding.
Don’t worry! Anyone who registers for any of our IGSI webinars will receive a link to the recording and handout within a few days of the live event. You’ll miss out on asking your question to the presenter but you won’t miss out on the wonderful content from instructor extraordinaire Mary Wickersham!
Register today HERE.
Was there another webinar that you missed but you really wanted to see? IGSI members have exclusive access to almost all the webinar recordings and handouts. Check out PAST WEBINARS to see a full list.
Not an IGSI member? Well, why not JOIN now! Make a commitment to yourself to take the time/make the time to start or get back into your Irish genealogy today.
August 24, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Travel with IGSI to Ireland
Want to go to Ireland? Start packing your bags and come with us!!

Celtic Journeys is offering a 12-day/11-night tour to Ireland for IGSI members for $2,675 per person (sharing a double/twin room). The tour departs Monday, September 26, 2022, and ends Saturday, October 8, 2022.
You’ll visit Belfast, Derry, Donegal, Galway, Killaloe, Kinsale and Dublin, seeing sights
such as the Giant’s Causeway, Slieve League, Glenveagh National Park, the Rock of Cashel and the Cobh Heritage Center. Built into the itinerary are opportunities to spend time researching your Irish ancestors at various libraries and records offices in Belfast and Dublin…or just spend the day exploring on
your own.
Accommodations for 11 nights, full breakfast each morning, 8 evening dinners, entrance fees, and transportation are included. Airfare, personal expenses, other meals and driver/tour gratuities are not included.

SPACE IS LIMITED TO 28 PEOPLE so reserve your place today!! Past tours have filled up quickly. A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to hold your seat on the bus (Celtic Journeys strongly suggests you purchase travel insurance).

You can find the detailed itinerary HERE along with the registration form.

Questions? Contact Celtic Journeys at

Click Join at left to become an IGSI member so can join us as we tour beautiful Ireland!
August 18, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
No one-stop shopping
There is no “one-stop shopping” in on-line genealogy databases
and not everything has been digitized BUT each week, more and more critical records we need to learn about our Irish ancestors become available.
So, where should you look? Is it worth it to purchase a one-month subscription to FindMyPast, RootsIreland or another database? What makes them unique? What does each contain? Which one(s) will give me the best chance to break down that pesky brick wall?
Join us Saturday, September 11th from 10:30am – Noon (CDT) 
for Comparing the Irish-Rich Databases and learn from Mary Wickersham as she takes us through the overlaps and differences between the Irish-rich databases.
$15 for IGSI members/$20 for non-members. Register HERE.
August 17, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Come to the Library!
It will be great to have the Hoffman Research Library open and available to researchers again!
Beginning September 1, the library will return to full hours
of service: Wednesdays 10am - 4pm, Thursdays 10am -
8pm, and Saturdays 10am - 4pm. At the time this was posted, vaccinated persons do not need to wear a mask at the Minnesota Genealogy Center; unvaccinated persons should wear a mask while in the building.
Irish Saturdays will resume at the library on the second Saturday of each month, starting September 11. IGSI members will be available to help you start your family research or perhaps give an assist with a problem point. The IGSI collection of 3000+ items will be available to researchers.
Read more about the Minnesota Genealogy Society and its library here.
Note: Due to the North Star conference, the Hoffman Research Library will be closed on Thursday, September 30, and on Saturday, October 2.
August 12, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Comparing Irish-Rich Databases
Are your Irish ancestors hiding in plain sight?
Perhaps you have used the free records available in FamilySearch. Maybe you have a subscription to the full version of Ancestry. But did you know there are other subscription databases such as FindMyPast, RootsIreland and JohnGrenham with records you will not find elsewhere?
Join us Saturday, September 11, at 10:30am CDT for Comparing the Irish-Rich Databases with Mary Wickersham to find out what is in each and help identify the differences. Your elusive Irish ancestors may be hiding in one of these!
Register HERE. $15 for IGSI members with Discount Code/$20 for non-members
August 10, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Genealogy Research Course Level 3
The Minnesota Genealogical Society is offering IGSI members discounted tuition to their next Levels course, which starts September 12. This is a great opportunity to take your skills to the next level within a small group setting.
Students will build and practice skills developing a research project; taking their project idea to an actionable research plan; systematically capturing their research findings; and writing their story in the form of a project report or article. A guest speaker will present a special topic in each class.
Prerequisite: Registrants must successfully complete Level Two or demonstrate to the instructor they have the knowledge and skills learned in Level Two by submitting a resume or work sample to
Pre-course assignment: Ideas for a research project – due Friday September 10th before Class One Answering a specific question about a person or family Options: undertaking a larger project, e.g., surname search in records (land, census, vital)
The series of four progressive 2.5 hour classes will be supplemented with three optional “office hours” coaching sessions.  To see the schedule, costs, and to meet your instructors, Lois Abromitis Mackin, Robert Johnson, Paula Stuart Warren, Shirleen Hoffman and Elizabeth Gomoll,  visit
August 9, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Names--Scottish or Irish?
Every Sunday a Letter from Ireland arrives in my email box from Mike Collins. In this week's letter, a reader named Hamish asked a question: how can you tell if a name is Scottish or Irish? 
Collins replied with an example of how Scottish and Irish names sometimes grew apart over time:
"...Starting at the beginning:
  • James (originally known as Jacob) was one of the 12 apostles from the bible.
  • King James 1st made the name popular as a boy’s name when he assumed the throne of Scotland in the 1600s. Its popularity grew further when he became King of a united Scotland and England.
  • However, the Irish language has a problem pronouncing the "J" sound in "James" - and so changes it to a "Sh" sound. As a result, James became "Séamus" (pronounced "Shay-mus") in Irish/Scots Gaelic. This was also the way for a number of other biblical names - such as "John" which became "Seán" (pronounced "Shawn").
  • Now, bear with me on this step. When you address someone with their Irish/Gaelic name - the grammar changes a little. If I wanted to say: "How are you, James?" I would say:
"Conas a tá tú, a Shéamais?" (pronounced "Cunus a taw too a hay-mish?").
  • The insertion of the H into the name "Shéamais" causes the sound of the S to disappear! Over time, the name "Seamus" became anglicised as "Hamish" (pronounced "Hay-mish") in parts of Scotland due to this little twist of Gaelic grammar."
You can read past Letters from Ireland and subscribe yourself (free) by clicking here.