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July 29, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Irish Genealogy 101 with Tom Rice, CG
Obviously, you are interested in learning more about your Irish heritage or you wouldn’t be reading this! However, over and over we hear that people either don’t have the time or don’t take the time to dig in to learn more about their Irish ancestors.
It’s not rocket science. You can learn more about who your Irish ancestors were, where they came from in Ireland and where they went. BUT you do need to take the time.
Why not start by registering?
Irish Genealogy 101 with Tom Rice, CG  
Saturday, August 7, 10:30 am - Noon (CDT) 
This webinar will take you through the process, give you an overview of finding the place of origin, plus give you insights into Irish naming patterns, Irish places and history and provide many hints and links to records and resources in the U.S. and Ireland. It will give you the tools you need to begin or refresh your research.
Register HERE now!! $15 for IGSI members/$20 for non-members. Can’t make it on August 7th? Register anyway and you will receive a link to the recording and terrific handout within a few days of the live event.
Make the time…take the time!
July 27, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Call for CCC 2022 proposals
A year ago this week we were revving up for a virtual Celtic Connections Conference 2020. 
And now the CCC 2022 planning committee is calling for proposals for Journey Home, to be held virtually between 9 July and 30 Sept 2022.  In keeping with the conference theme, successful proposals will address Celtic (Irish, Scots-Irish, Scottish or Welsh) topics, or tools and methodologies useful to Celtic researchers.  
Proposals must be submitted by 1 Sept 2021 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.  All presentations will be pre-recorded and available for viewing by everyone who registers.

Proposals may be from beginning to advanced levels. All the details can be found at the CCC website.

July 22, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Irish Genealogy 101
Irish Genealogy 101  - Saturday, August 7th – 10:30am-Noon (CDT) with Tom Rice, CG
You may be familiar with Ancestry and FamilySearch. But have you heard of
Shane Wilson's website is a large collection of excellent materials relating to Irish records, places, name distribution, etc. It's also a key site for such things as linking Roman Catholic parishes to Townlands and for learning about various aspects of Irish genealogy.
You could learn about and a whole lot more at the next IGSI webinar!
Space is limited. Register today HERE. $15 for IGSI members/$20 for non-members.
Can’t make it on the 7th? Register anyway and you will receive a link to the recorded presentation and fabulous handout.
July 19, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Happy 10th Anniversary!
Tin and aluminum--representing durability and flexibility--are traditional materials for a tenth anniversary.
Ten years ago today I posted my first IGSI blog.
Since then I've clicked on Save for nearly 1690 addl postings.
In recent times I've been particularly grateful for the IGSI class announcements drafted by Education Chair Kathleen Foley. And I must admit many postings over the years were items originating with other bloggers and/or published genealogical articles which I've simply shared with our readers. A big thanks to the many sources for blog material!
Along the way, IGSI moved to a new website platform. Converting old blog postings to the new site affected the formats. I've edited some but many still appear as one long paragraph.
This morning I played around with sorting to find the oldest blog entries. At the upper right corner, you'll see there are 68 pages with 25 entries per page. When I went to page 68 and found the entry dated July 19, 2011, I was surprised to see five older entries dated December 31, 1969! Were these remnants of postings from a previous IGSI blogger? Wait a minute. 1969?
A quick scan of the five articles disclosed they did not originate in 1969. In fact they appeared to be pieces of draft postings that didn't properly make the trip from the old website. We've done a little housekeeping to make corrections and demonstrate our durability/flexibility.
July 17, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Unreadable gravestones
In doing research at cemeteries, you may have encountered gravestones with unreadable words or numbers. While I've seen advice about using a mirror to assist in deciphering information on the stone, I hadn't experienced the benefits until recently.
A friend had salvaged a piece of reflective material from an old TV. It was light and unbreakable so she brought it to the cemetery where we sought out an old, particularly discolored headstone. See what a difference the reflected light made. One can much more easily read the name and birth/death dates. It's truly striking when you're there in person.
We'll be restoring the stone's readability with D/2 solution, but using a mirror is a good alternative.
July 15, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Are your Irish research skills rusty?
Are your Irish family history skills a little rusty? Have you had “find out where great-grandma Bridget came from in Ireland” on your TO DO list for way too long? Did you or your brother take a DNA test that said you are 37% Irish and you want to know more? Then, our August IGSI webinar is for you!
Tom Rice will discuss key tools for finding your Irish ancestors: the most important record types, Irish geographic terms, Irish naming patterns, key Irish genealogy websites and books, plus a lot more. Don’t miss this!
Register HERE now! $15 for IGSI members/$20 for non-members
Can’t make it that Saturday? Register anyway and a few days after the live presentation you will receive a link to the recording and handout so you can watch at your convenience.
July 10, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Latest issue of Irish Lives Remembered
Do not miss reading the Summer 2021 issue of Irish Lives Remembered.
Online and free, as always.
I haven't yet read the magazine cover to cover, but what I've perused so far has been fascinating!
Start your mid-summer adventure here
July 8, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Unplanned Irish Emigration to Canada
There is still time for some YOU TIME…time for you to beef up your genealogy skills!
You can register for Saturday’s IGSI webinar The Unplanned Irish Emigration to Canada 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 Melanie McComb.
To register and for more information, click HERE. $15 IGSI members/$20 non-members.
July 6, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Fold3 Civil War records FREE til July 18
If you're researching family members who served in the Civil War,
consider exploring Fold3's records while access is free. Here's the 
In remembrance of the Battle of Gettysburg, we're offering free access
to more than 100 million records from our Civil War Collection 
until July 18th.

So if you’re looking for information on the Civil War veterans in your   family tree—or doing other Civil War-era research—now is the perfect time to explore service records, pension files, casualty lists and more to discover your Civil War heroes and uncover the stories of the courageous soldiers who served.

Get started here.

July 4, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Was George Washington Norwegian?
As we celebrate the Fourth of July, it's fun to consider the ancestry of our founding fathers.
Did you know our first President, George Washington, is said to have descended from Norwegian stock?
Read about this theory here.
July 1, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Irish Emigration to Canada
Take the time! Make the time! Register for the July webinar to help find those elusive ancestors who emigrated from Ireland to Canada.
The Unplanned Irish Emigration to Canada
with Melanie McComb
Saturday, July 10 – 10:30am – Noon (CDT)
Co-sponsored by IGSI and the Canadian Interest Group of the Minnesota Genealogical Society, Melanie will review several
different immigration schemes that brought the Irish to Canada. Learn how to find records about their departure and arrival.
Have you been unable to find where your Irish ancestors landed before they suddenly appeared on the  U.S. Census? Perhaps they were part of the Peter Robinson settlers to Ontario or the Monaghan Settlers to Atlantic Canada or even assisted immigration to Quebec!
Melanie McComb is a staff genealogist at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.
Register HERE. $15 for IGSI/CIG/MGS members; $20 for non-members
Unable to attend on July 10th? Register anyway and you will receive a link to the recording and handout within a few days of the live event.
June 28, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Cén sloinne atá ort?
Is your Irish a little rusty? Today's blog title can be translated as "What's your surname?"
Occasionally it's productive to backtrack and review basic information. Ireland Reaching Out/Ireland XO recently shared a comprehensive beginner's guide to Irish surnames, shedding light on the Mac's and the O's and Anglicized spellings.
Take a few minutes and make sure you're casting your surname net as widely as possible. Read more here.
June 25, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
O Canada...
Did you know that between 1825 and 1970, 1.2 million Irish emigrated
to Canada with at least half of them arriving between 1831 and 1850? 
Were any of your ancestors among them?
We invite you to attend our July webinar The Unplanned Irish Emigration to Canada on Saturday, July 10, from 10:30am – Noon (CDT) to learn more.
Co-sponsored by IGSI and the Canadian Interest Group (CIG) of the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS), speaker Melanie McComb will help us uncover the migration story and show us how to find records about their departure from Ireland and arrival into Canada.
Space is limited so don’t delay! $15 for IGSI/CIG/MGS members; $20 for non-members.
Not able to attend the live event? Register anyway and you will receive a link to the recording and any handouts within a few days of the live presentation. CIG and MGS members: you must register to view the recording if you cannot attend the day of the presentation. IGSI members – it will be available exclusively to you on the IGSI website.
For more information and to register, click HERE.
June 23, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
FamilySearch Changes
The following message came from FamilySearch:
FamilySearch is improving the way you can find help and support in your family history efforts by providing you with a better experience and access to the answers you need. Here are some of the enhanced ways you can find help:
  • On the FamilySearch Community, you can post questions, receive answers, share information with others, and participate in community discussions.
  • Visit the Help Center to find local help and answers to frequently asked questions about the family tree, memories, search, indexing, and much more.
  • Here are more details on how to contact FamilySearch Support.
June 17, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Unplanned Irish Emigration to Canada
Could any of your Irish ancestors have emigrated to Canada?
Join us for our July webinar!
The Unplanned Irish Emigration to Canada
Saturday, July 10, 10:30am – Noon CDT
Melanie McComb
Melanie McComb is a staff genealogist for the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Join us as she helps to uncover the story of the migration of the Irish to Canada before and during The Great Famine.
Melanie will take us through the different immigration schemes including the Peter Robinson settlers to Ontario, the Monaghan Settlers to Atlantic Canada, and assisted immigration to Quebec. Learn how to find records about their departure from Ireland and arrival into Canada, including quarantine stations at Partridge Island and Gross Ile. 
Co-sponsored by IGSI and the Canadian Interest Group (CIG) of the Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS).
$15 for members of IGSI, MGS and CIG, $20 for non-members.
For more information and to register, click HERE.
June 16, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Shopping? Help IGSI!
Prime Day at Amazon is June 21-22.
You can make a difference while you shop on Amazon. Simply shop at or with AmazonSmile ON in the Amazon Shopping app and AmazonSmile will donate to the Irish Genealogical Society International.  Set up IGSI as your designated non-profit so credit for qualified purchases will add to Amazon's donations to IGSI.  go raibh maith agat  (Thank you!)
June 15, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
MGS Hoffman Library loosens restrictions
The Minnesota Genealogical Society (MGS) recently announced loosening of COVID restrictions at its library in Mendota Heights.
The Hoffman Research Library is now open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Thursdays from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.  

Covid restrictions have been loosened.  Fully vaccinated persons are no longer required to wear masks, and social distancing rules have been eliminated.  If you are not fully vaccinated, masks are still required.  

Members are no longer required to reserve time slots at the Hoffman Research Library.  
Find out more about MGS by visiting the website.
June 9, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
The Burren Girl
There is still time for to watch The Burren Girl documentary film before Saturday’s live virtual conversation with Producer/Director Rita Davern!
BUT…you need to register! You then will receive a link to the film    so you can watch it anytime through Sunday.
Shortly before Saturday’s 10:30am CDT presentation, you will receive a link to join in on Rita’s live presentation.
This exciting and inspiring program is FREE.  To register and for more information, click HERE.
Note: Saturday’s discussion and Q&A will be recorded and available for free on the IGSI website early next week. However, only registrants will be able to view the film which will be available for viewing through Sunday.
June 7, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Minnesota Spokesman archive now online

"The Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder has documented daily life in the    Twin Cities’ Black community for more than 85 years. But until recently, finding stories from that rich past meant slogging through stacks of old newsprint.

Now, that history can be found with a few clicks. Archives reaching back to 1934 are online now at the Minnesota Historical Society's digital newspaper hub."

Those are the lead sentences in a recent MPR news article which can be read in its entirety here.

June 3, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Prepare to be inspired!
The Burren Girl Documentary: Behind the Scenes
Virtual discussion with Producer/Director Rita Davern
Saturday, June 12, 10:30am – Noon (CDT)
   It’s free but you must register HERE. Registrants will receive a link to watch Rita’s film in the days prior to the live June 12th discussion.
      Need some inspiration right now? Watch the trailer HERE and check out The Burren Girl webpage.
You won’t want to miss this next IGSI webinar!
June 1, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
MGS Level Two Class
The Minnesota Genealogical Society is offering IGSI members discounted tuition to their next Levels course. This is a great opportunity to take your skills up a notch within a small group setting.
Level Two Participants will build on their learning from Level One as they discover and practice more advanced research skills, methods and sources. Assignments about their own family will receive instructor feedback and research guidance. As a final project, they will investigate a research question and prepare a proof argument to answer it. Registrants must have successfully completed Level One or demonstrated to the instructors they have the necessary knowledge and skills by submitting a resume or work sample to
The series of four progressive 2.5 hour classes will be supplemented with three optional "office hours" coaching sessions. The course will be presented online four Sunday afternoons from June 13 through July 25, skipping the Independence Day holiday. To see the schedule, costs and to read more about instructors, Lois Abromitis Mackin and Shirleen Hoffman, click here
May 31, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
We will not forget
In Flanders Fields by John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie,
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
May 29, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Free Fold3 records this weekend

Ancestry is honoring the 50th Anniversary of Memorial Day as a federal holiday by providing free access to more than 550 million military records.

Running through Monday, May 31, Ancestry’s military Fold3 offers “convenient access to military records, including the stories, photos, and personal documents of the men and women who served,” with records covering military conflicts as far back as the Revolutionary War.

Honor your ancestor's military service by researching their story here.

May 27, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
FREE webinar -- Burren Girl Documentary
If you have done any family history research at all, you realize that the most rewarding part is not the birth/marriage/death dates but the stories. Just who were these ancestors of yours?
Don’t miss one woman’s 40-year quest to flesh out the            stories of her ancestors during our June IGSI webinar!
Saturday, June 12 – 10:30am – Noon CDT
“Burren Girl Documentary: Behind the Scenes”
with Rita Davern
Spread the word to your Irish, Swedish, German, Haitian    and Thai friends. The virtual session is FREE, but space is limited and everyone must register HERE.
All registrants will receive a link to view the movie at any time during the week prior to the presentation.
Then join Rita on June 12th as she talks about the why and how the movie was made as well as answer your questions.
May 25, 2021 By: IGSI Blogger
Irish Famines in Art
Later this month, Celtic Junction's Irish College of Minnesota is sponsoring a unique class as part of its Creative Arts curriculum. Jane Kennedy will present a two-session study about Irish Famines in Art

Irish Famines in Art presents a look at Irish famines through the eyes of artists using all types of media – from oil paintings to sculpture. Who were these artists so intent on capturing the wretchedness of the time? Who was their intended audience? Did the various pieces have an impact on those who could help alleviate the suffering? This class, taught over two sessions, will also examine current-day memorials intended to keep the country’s tragedy visible as we remember a painful and desolate history.  

2 sessions. Wednesday 8:00 – 9:30 pm. June 23-30

Course fee: $40.00

Jane Kennedy is descended from a group of Famine immigrants who fled the Connemara area near Galway. A member of IGSI's education committee, she shared the story of her research in a 2020 webinar, “The Connemaras: Despair in the Heartland.”
Read more about Irish Famines in Art here.