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Blog Entries: 1 to 25 of 2005
June 16, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
MNHS adds newspapers to its digital hub
The Minnesota Historical Society (MNHS) has added over 10,000 issues to its collection of digitized newspapers. Paula Stuart-Warren recently posted the good news in her blog, "Genealogy by Paula." She details the new MNHS newspaper titles & date spans and provides live links here.
Most of the new issues are from out-state Minnesota newspapers. However, the Fort Snelling Bulletin (1928-1946) snagged my attention and down the rabbit hole I went. My father was discharged from the Army at Fort Snelling in June 1945.  I quickly found an article on the front page of the June 9th Fort Snelling Bulletin which reported, "...because of the recent War Department policy to discharge replaceable veterans with an adjusted service rating of 85 or more...the separation center has been working from 0730 until 2200, seven days a week...and will continue to discharge around 125 men a day." Old newspapers are gold.
By the by, aforesaid Paula Stuart-Warren will be IGSI's featured presenter on Saturday, August 17, with her talk "Railroad Records and Railroad History: Methods for Tracking." Railroad research is one of Paula's specialities. While you're at her blog, take a look at the list of topical categories she's covered (lower right side of the page) and you'll see 23 posts about Railroads! One can get a preview of her presentation by cruising her postings on the subject. 
Click on Activites at left to see all upcoming IGSI events, including Paula's webinar.
June 15, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Researching a Cork Family, IRE to WIS
If your Irish ancestors emigrated to the American Midwest in the mid-1800s, you shouldn't miss IGSI's upcoming webinar.
Next Saturday, June 22, you'll have three options to hear Lois Abromitis Mackin share her research about a Cork family that left Ireland to settle in Wisconsin. You can participate 1) in person at the Minnesota Genealogy Center, 2) attend the webinar remotely, or 3) view the recording later, at your convenience.
Researching a Mid-Nineteenth-Century Cork Family, from Wisconsin to Ireland
By Lois Abromitis Mackin, PhD, professional genealogist
10:30 AM - Noon CST (UTC-6)
$15 for IGSI members*; $20 for non-members 
An Irishman from Cork, born about 1845, settled in Wisconsin. Learn the records and methods we used to identify six of his eleven siblings in America, then trace the family back to Ireland, where we learned about his other five siblings and his parents.
Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D., is a professional genealogist focusing on American and British Isles research. Lois writes and teaches about genealogical records and methods, including DNA. She was a founding member of the Minnesota Genealogical Society DNA interest group. She supports several lineage societies at the state level and is a member of the Education Committee of the Irish Genealogical Society International.
The webinar will be recorded, and all registrants will get access to the recorded event.
*The member Discount Code is posted on the member-only webpage (link).
June 12, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
FamilyTreeDNA kits on sale
Yet another Father's Day special, this offer from FamilyTreeDNA is good through June 17, 2024. 
Click here to find out about savings on Family Finder and Big Y-700.
If you've already done a Y-DNA test, sign in and check out FTDNA's reduced pricing on upgrades.
June 7, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Current genealogy-related bargains
Father's Day weekend is traditionally a good time for special prices on DNA kits, but when D-Day is added to the mix, there are even more bargains! Here are two:
1) Ancestry DNA Kits on sale, starting at $39*. Click here for more details. 
*Offers end 16 Jun 2024 at 11:59 p.m. ET. Excludes shipping. Some DNA features require an Ancestry® subscription.
2) Free Findmypast access through June 10. Registration required; exclusions may apply.
Click here to start.
June 6, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Law change re: MN adoption records
A notice from the Minnesota Department of Human Services/Minnesota Department of Health states:
Adopted people to get access to original birth records
Due to a recent law change, adopted people will be able to request their original birth records beginning on July 1, 2024 (Minnesota Statutes 144.2252 and 259.83). Currently, adopted people may or may not be able to access their birth records, depending on the preferences of the birth parents. The new law allows any adopted person born in Minnesota who is 18 or older to request the original pre-adopted record of their birth.
Parents who have placed a child for adoption
Birth parents may submit a Birth Parent Contact Preference form to indicate whether they would ilke to be contacted by the adopted person when access changes on July 1. Adopted people will have access to the original birth records, regardless of the parents’ contact preferences.
Here's another important detail (from
For relatives of adopted person (if deceased)
Beginning July 1, 2024, an adopted person’s original birth record may also be requested by people related to the adoptee, if the adoptee is deceased. These individuals include: the adoptee’s spouse, child, grandchild, or great-grandchild of the adoptee.
June 5, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Sneem Parish, County Kerry

The Irish Family History Foundation (IFHF) has announced the addition of 6,226 new baptismal and marriage records for Sneem parish in Kerry.

  • Baptisms - 5497 records (1813-99);
  • Marriages - 729 records (1858-1900).
For a complete and up-to-date list of sources for County Kerry and to search these records, go to and login or subscribe as required.
June 3, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Free British Connections article
Want to sample this quarter’s British Connections?
An article titled "A Band of Builder Brothers: The Rise and Fall of a Swansea Family Business" is available for anyone to read.
Members of the International Society for British Genealogy and Family History (ISBGFH) are able to read the entire issue, which is about the role of money and commerce in the lives of British ancestors. 
June 2, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
FMP's maritime records
FindMyPast has recently launched 313,000 new records of individuals with maritime service, from collections at The National Archive (TNA) in Kew.
Claire Santry has the scoop in her May 31 blog posting at
Record collections now available include Coastguards, 1801-1952 and British Royal Navy & Royal Marines Service And Pension Records, 1704-1939, both with "sizeable contingents of Irish-born men."
Read more here.
May 29, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Confirmed by DNA
From the FamilyTreeDNA blog, here's the link to a fascinating (May 28)
account about what you might learn from family history research.
While there, scroll down to the (May 24) posting about Y-DNA findings
written by Maurice Gleeson and Kyle DePew.
May 24, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Searching the Surname Interests Database
Have you looked at IGSI’s Surnames Interests Database? Currently 770 surnames have been added to the database by IGSI members.  Anyone can search and leave a message, whether they’re a member or not. 
To begin, click on Surname Interests in the column at left, then Surname Research.
The surnames listed are those IGSI members are searching and have entered in the database. (Check back regularly to find new additions.)
As displayed, the database is arranged alphabetically by surname.
1. In the box at the top of the page, enter the surname you wish to search.  If you have entered an alternate spelling of a member’s surname – and they have recognized that alternate spelling -- you will see that surname among your results.
2. When the results display, click on the eye (under Actions) to see the details entered by the member. Entries there may include the townland or parish of the Irish county, alternate spellings of the surname, and additional notes or comments.
3. You can sort the data by clicking on the column titles, or simply scroll down the list of 770 entries.
4. To contact the IGSI member who entered a surname for further information, click on the envelope image (in the box to the right of the eye).  A new page will open that will ask you to enter your name and email.  For validation, you need to check a box and then type in the code that appears.
Add your message and send. While we cannot guarantee a response – nothing ventured, nothing gained.
May 23, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
June 2024 Podcast
IGSI's June 2024 podcast episode, This Month at the IGSI, is available now.
In the final (12th) episode of Season 2 - our June edition of the “This month at the IGSI” podcast - genealogist Dave Miller begins the episode by providing the date for the June “Irish Saturday ” event (June 8).
Dave describes IGSI's June 22 hybrid class by Lois Mackin, PhD: Researching a Mid-Nineteenth-Century Cork Family, from Wisconsin to Ireland. An Irishman from Cork, born about 1845, settled in Wisconsin. Learn the records and methods used to identify six of his eleven siblings in America, then trace the family back to Ireland to learn about his other five siblings and his parents.
Dave interviews IGSI volunteer Janelle Asselin, who is developing an Irish History Minute feature. Janelle recently created IGSI's Instagram account @irishgensi.
Jim Sharkey entertains us with a performance of Irish music, and Dave provides a list of upcoming Irish Fests.
These stories and previous episodes can be found on the YouTube IGSI channel and on the Our podcasts page on the IGSI website.
May 21, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Remembering the fallen on Memorial Day
"With Memorial Day drawing near, it’s important to pause and pay tribute to the courageous individuals who have made profound sacrifices for our nation. Among  the many ways to express our gratitude and reverence is by adorning their resting places with beautiful flowers." 
This advice and a touching story about honoring a veteran's memory were shared recently on the Find a Grave blog
While at the blog, take a minute to look at updates to the Find a Grave (FG) website and to read other helpful tips. For example, a new feature in 2023 allows designation on the FG memorial as a veteran.
Memorial Day is the perfect time to make sure the graves of your loved ones are included in the FG online database and reflect complete information. It's easy to do and costs nothing. Search and create memorials at
May 19, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Never Knew His Name
This newspaper article appeared in the Blairsville (PA) Enterprise on July 14, 1898, page 2:
May 18, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Fold3 is free through Mon, May 20
Prepare for Memorial Day by researching military records at Fold3.
Start here. Registration required.
May 15, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Evidence Explained (Fourth Edition)
Evidence Explained, a book by Elizabeth Shown MIlls, has been the genealogist's go-to guide for citations since it was first published in 1997. With the publication of a Fourth Edition earlier this year, one might anticipate an even thicker book but no! 
Blogger Dr. Mac, whose posts can be found at, has reviewed Mills' new Fourth Edition. He says, in part:
New technology means more and different sources to cite, and the book has been expanded to conquer them all. It is difficult to imagine how this magic has been done, given that the page count of the book has been reduced from the 892 pages of the Third Edition (Revised) to 739 pages. Ms. Mills has accomplished this seeming legerdemain, not with a slight of hand, but through the use of templates.
Read about how "less is more" and see current, timely examples in Dr. Mac's May 10th book review
May 14, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
New Tipperary records
From the Irish Family History Foundation at
                                                          New Tipperary Records Added!

We are delighted to announce the addition of 4,028 marriage records in County Tipperary for the Roman Catholic parish of Killenaule, 1742-1801 and 1812 -1900.

For an up to date list of sources for South Tipperary and to search these records, go to and login or subscribe as required.

May 13, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
IGSI Instagram account
IGSI now has an Instagram account for anyone who wants a new way to stay up to date on the latest happenings with our organization.
In addition to regular posts with IGSI news and information, posts will also include tidbits about Irish places, news and history, and happenings in the genealogical community.
If you're on Instagram, you can follow us at @IrishGenSI! And if you aren't on Instagram yet, you can browse our profile here and even create your own account. 
May 10, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
More NARA records coming to
The National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) has announced a new multiyear agreement with Ancestry to digitize, index, and publish tens of millions of historical United States records, previously unavailable online. 
Read more here and stand by for more details.
April 30, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Church of the Transfiguration records
Here's an announcement from the New York Genealogical and Biographical Society (NYG&B) about its newest online collection, Church of the Transfiguration records:
The NYG&B’s Church of the Transfiguration records are the newest, large-scale, searchable edition to our online collections. This ongoing, monumental project has been part of our Digitize New York initiative to preserve and make accessible at-risk historical records.  
With tens of thousands of marriage records spanning nearly 200 years, the Church of the Transfiguration, located in Manhattan, has a wealth of genealogical information for researchers to explore. These newly released materials are part of an ongoing pipeline of records to be released in the coming months under this Digitize New York partnership.    
Join the NYG&B on May 9, 1–2 p.m. ET, for the online webinar “Debuting Church of the Transfiguration Marriage Records” on how to search this new collection and what’s coming next. This is a free event but registration is required.  
Join the NYG&B, the Church of the Transfiguration, and project volunteers on May 15, 2–3 p.m. ET, (in person and livestreamed) for a discussion about this partnership and how it can be a model for other organizations to participate in Digitize New York. This is a free event but registration is required.  
Read a blog post by Kalyn Loewer, NYG&B Manager of Digital Collections, that examines the evolving, collaborative process taken with the Church of the Transfiguration to preserve and make accessible these records.  
April 28, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
Your ancestor's townland of origin
Sunday morning brought another emailed "Letter from Ireland." Today Mike Collins has written about townlands:
Maybe you have heard the Irish term "townland" before? If you have examined most Irish record sets - you will notice that Ireland is divided administratively into:
  1. Counties
  2. Then: Civil Parishes
  3. Then: Townlands (or streets if in a city or town!)
However, the thing that most confuses people is the misleading word "Townland". You see, it has nothing to do with a "Town"!

So, how did the word "townland" come about? Well, a "townland" is a slight mistranslation from the original Irish - "baile fearainn" (pronounced "bal-ya far-in") which is more appropriately translated into English as "home land" or "home territory". "Baile" can mean either "town" or "home" in English. So, you could say that "Townland" is a mistranslation of the term "baile fearainn". However, we are stuck with it at this stage!

Many townland names...have been used in Ireland for well over a thousand years. In fact, the Normans, and later the English, adopted townland boundaries for use in their administrative boundaries and then rolled up groups of townlands into civil parishes. The use of townland names has prevailed in Ireland from earliest times right up to today. Ask one of your ancestors where they came from and they would often give the county, the nearest town or city and the actual townland name where they lived.

The name of my father's townland  "Foilnamuck" - meaning "cliff of the pigs" usually describes an long-forgotten feature of the landscape contained within that townland. For example, "Dromana" comes from the Irish "drom eanigh" translating to English as "ridge over the marshes". This is a classic descriptive name for an Irish townland - one that explicitly spells out a feature and makes a place recognisable in conversation.
Read more about Mike and Carina Collins of County Cork by clicking here. You can also browse archives of letters and podcasts, sign up to receive their free weekly letters, or join "A Letter from Ireland Plus."
April 22, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
May 4 hybrid event at MGC
The May 4 hybrid webinar with Mary Wickersham is less than two weeks away. Sign up now!
Minnesota Genealogy Center (MGC) in Mendota Heights, Minnesota map
Registration for each live event is currently limited to 40 people. Brief tours of the Hoffman Research Library will be offered following the program for those interested. There is no limit to the number of virtual participants. Hybrid programs will allow virtual attendees to unmute their microphone and camera to interact with the speaker for questions or discussion following the presentation.
Saturday, May 4 hybrid - Waves & Ripples: Irish Immigration Patterns To and Across North America
By Mary Wickersham, professional genealogist
10:30 AM - Noon CST
$15 for IGSI members; $20 for non-members 
Knowing the arrival dates and places of your ancestors, and tracking their movement within North America, will help you to develop theories about their migration motives and guide your research focus. Mary will provide an overview of Irish migration patterns and demonstrate how to leverage this information for the search for your ancestors.
Mary started doing genealogy research professionally in 2003 after researching her own family history for over 20 years. She has lectured extensively, including immigration topics such as ship manifests, Ellis Island and Castle Garden, and naturalization records. Mary is experienced in researching Catholic Church records in the US and Ireland, Midwest (Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, the Dakotas) vital records, French Canadian records, and other resources. She also has language skills in Spanish, Italian, and Latin. 
The webinar will be recorded, and all registrants will get access to the recorded event.
The member Discount Code was sent by email and is also posted on the member-only webpage (link).
April 21, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
New records at
The Irish Family History Foundation (IFHF) regularly adds new records to their website,
A quick survey of their blog postings indicates the following records have been added during the last six months:
  • April 2024: 16,762 new baptismal records for Ballyferriter parish, County Kerry, 1807-1899
  • January 2024: Electoral Register for County Monaghan, 1938-1939, consisting of 36,616 records
  • December 2023: 1539 baptismal records and 362 marriage records in County Tipperary for the Roman Catholic parish of Clerihan, 1852-1900
  • November 2023: 4,778 new County Cork Roman Catholic baptismal and marriage records
  • October 2023: 924 baptisms of children born in Galway Union Workhouse between 1853 and 1922
If you are interested in a particular locale, choose the “Search by County” tab from the RootsIreland home page.
April 20, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
IGSI's May podcast
In the May edition of the “This month at the IGSI” podcast, genealogist Dave Miller begins episode 11 of season 2 by announcing May 11th as the date for the next “Irish Saturday” event.
Dave also talks about the May webinar to be hosted by Mary Wickersham. Mary’s presentation on May 4th is titled Waves & Ripples: Irish Immigration Patterns to and Across North AmericaKnowing your ancestors' arrival dates and places, along with tracking their movements within North America, will help you develop theories about their migration motives and guide your research. Mary will provide an overview of Irish migration patterns and demonstrate how to leverage this information for your search.  
IGSI Co-Presidents Donna Jones and Walt Rothwell also interview a partner advisor at Boston University about the genealogy programs available to IGSI members, including the type of courses and discounts members can expect when they register for courses.
These stories and previous podcast episodes are available on the IGSI YouTube channel or by clicking Our podcasts at left.
April 17, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
April 2024 issue of THE SEPTS
If you’re an IGSI member, you should have already received the April issue of our quarterly journal, The Septs.
Electronic members receive a digital copy, in color like the cover image at right of Dunguaire Castle, Connacht Province. Those with General memberships receive the same email with a link to the PDF, plus USPS later delivers their printed, black-and-white copy.
But did you know IGSI members have online access to ALL prior issues of The Septs? With a few clicks, you can see articles going way back to 1980!
After completing your Member Login, go to The Septs (Journal) tab at left. From there you will be able to search for issues by either 1) Contents and Date or 2) Theme. Click the issue’s link to open a PDF copy.
IGSI members can download PDF copies of any issue at no charge –- another benefit of membership!
April 10, 2024 By: IGSI Blogger
American Ancestors Guest Membership
The following comes from American Ancestors (by New England Historic Genealogical Society):

When you begin your journey to research your family's history, you're likely to face many challenges: narrowing down research options, identifying what databases to use and validating sources for accuracy. At every step, having the right tools to organize your research will be vital. American Ancestors has the essential tools for well-organized genealogical research. 


Become a Guest Member to download free family tree charts, research guides, family group sheets, research logs, census comparison charts, and register style templates. 

Read more about the free templates, charts and other resources here.
Sign up for a free American Ancestors Guest Membership here.