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Irish Genealogical Society International

Webinar Resources

Sample webinar title slide
Please see our Activities page for upcoming paid webinars and Webinar recordings for recordings of past webinars.
Did you miss a live for-fee webinar? Never fear! IGSI members have exclusive access to the recorded webinars and their handouts.  Look for the Webinar recordings link in the side menu under Past Webinars->Webinar recordings
Topic Featuring Date
Shamrocks in Cyberspace Michael Brophy April 20, 2024
Information about our Irish ancestors is exploding on the internet. The best websites for Irish research will be explored and analyzed. Landmark additions of Catholic Church records and vital records are presented. Finding aids for further Irish research are assessed and critiqued in this tour of all that is happening with Irish re-sources in cyberspace.
The Mysterious George Hunter Joe Hunter March 23, 2024
Some ancestors can be so elusive, it almost appears that they have vanished intentionally. Exhaustive research can uncover indirect evidence to compensate for missing and incomplete records in an ancestor's life. The speaker will review some alternative methods for breaking down that brick wall using indirect evidence.
Mapping Ireland's Records John Grenham February 24, 2024
Placename and surname are two of the most important pieces of information for researching Irish family history. Prominent scholar John Grenham returns to explore ways to visualize Irish locations in your record searching by utilizing his newly added map overlays with various record sources: households of surnames in Catholic records, Griffith’s valuation, Irish census records, as well as local records of birth-marriage-deaths. You will learn how the maps were created, and their use and importance to us now in shedding light on Irish ancestral places, surnames, and families.
Evidence in Folklore for Irish Family History Fiona Fitzsimons January 27, 2024
Understanding the folklore of Ireland is key for researchers to understand the lives of our ancestors. The National Folklore Collection is a record of Ireland’s oral traditions and material culture. It holds one of the largest archival collections of its kind, recognized in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register for its significance in world culture. The collection reveals the texture of daily life in Ireland during the 19th and early 20th Century that we do not find in history books. Fiona will introduce this remarkable collection and show how it will help us to interpret ancestral evidence.
Strategic Searching on Findmypast Jen Baldwin December 16, 2023
Jen works for findmypast as Research Specialist and North American Content Manager. Her presentation will help you to make the most of the site's resources by learning best practices and seeing different ways to search the site. She is a renowned presenter who will help you to leverage the site to your greatest advantage in your reseaarch. The newest site features will be highlighted. To quote Family Tree Magazine: Findmypast’s core content is for England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales, with some coverage of places settled by British Isles emigrants. If you’re researching in these regions, Findmypast is a must-use resource.
Ethnicity Estimates Are Not Always Useless Paula Williams November 18, 2023
Ethnicity estimates from DNA testing companies are intriguing, frustrating, and often misunderstood. As genealogists, we often have a love/hate relationship with them. We love to complain about them but we also reap the benefits of their advertisements' appeal to our cousins perhaps less interested in genealogy than we are. They can be especially helpful to those with a recent unknown ancestor but can also be informative to the rest of us. 
Finding Genealogy Collections Everywhere Jill Fuller October 21, 2023
Celebrate American Archives Month with us, reflecting on the goal of a "reasonably exhaustive search." Where can we find collections to provide sources for genealogy research? Public and private repositories, and digital collections will be considered. What’s online and what isn’t? Jill will introduce us to places we may have overlooked in our research efforts, and help you understand how many places hold pieces of our history. Online and in institutions, so many collections may tell a story about the lives of our ancestors.
Finding the Irish in Britain Chris Paton September 16, 2023
From 1801 to 1922, the modern Republic of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, with Northern Ireland remaining a UK member to this day. Various repositories contain material that can help to flesh out the stories of those seeking work in Britain which may, in some cases, plug gaps resulting from missing records in Ireland. These include census substitutes such as the Ulster Covenant, British poor law records and removals back to Ireland, civil registration records in Britain. For British-administered territories overseas, censuses and other documentary sources can be valuable in your research. Chris explores the records of the Irish in Britain and shows how they can help you in your Irish family history research.
Periodical Source Index (PERSI), the premier subject index for local history periodicals Elizabeth Hodges August 19, 2023
The Periodical Source Index, or PERSI, is the largest subject index to genealogy and local history periodical articles in the world, created by the staff of the Allen County Public Library Foundation and the ACPL’s Genealogy Center. PERSI indexes articles in periodical titles (including defunct titles) published by thousands of local, state, national and international societies and organizations. It is arranged by surname or location and also by basic subject headings. Since PERSI is created at the ACPL, the Genealogy Center has a copy of every periodical issue covered by the index.
Using Surprising Databases in Your Family Tree Searches Lisa Walsh Dougherty July 22, 2023
Lisa takes you through the records found in the Emigrant Savings Bank of New York collection, as well as the Order of Foresters in Massachusetts. While these are based on the Atlantic coast, their records penetrate deeply in the immigrant communities of colonial America.
Challenges in Irish Family Research: Brick Wall Panel Discussion Lois Mackin, PhD - Tom Rice, PhD, CG - Mary Wickersham June 17, 2023
The annual session is an IGSI member favorite. Brick wall queries were submitted by members in advance and are used by the panelists to offer specific research suggestions. This is one of those precious opportunities to "look over the shoulders" of an experienced research team as they tackle ancestral mysteries.
Finding Ancestors Under the Southern Cross Susan O'Connor May 13, 2023
This session gives an overview of Australian records available, both online and in repositories, to help researchers find the stories of these people. It also shows how DNA results can help you discover more about your ancestors, as well as connect to your Australian cousins.
Ancestors Who Called Canada and the U.S.A. Home Annette Burke Lyttle April 22, 2023
Movement from the United States to Canada was unrestricted and unrecorded until April 1908. The U.S. only began recording the entry of Canadians along its northern border in 1894. Before that, many thousands of people, including our Celtic ances-tors, lived cross-border lives without visas, work permits, passports, or immigration records. Learn how to find these elusive ancestors.
Using Google Earth Pro, Griffith's Valuation & Irish Townlands to Map the Land of Your Ancestors Joe Hunter March 25, 2023
Researching the specific location of Irish Ancestors is challenging. The creative use of online databases, coupled with free software, affords researchers the opportunity to pinpoint townlands and the locations where distant ancestors actually lived and worked.
Irish Chain Migration to North America Pamela Guye Holland February 18, 2023
Our Irish ancestors did not immigrate on a whim. They often followed in the foot-steps of other family members or their neighbors and friends. Learn about the history of chain migration including well known routes from specific Irish locations to cities and regions in North America. Discover strategies for recognizing and exploring chain migration in your family. This program is presented by IGSI in partnership with the Yankee Genealogical Society (
Irish Church Records: Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland Fiona Fitzsimons January 21, 2023
Church records offer some of the earliest evidence we have for Irish family history. Using the records of the Catholic Church and the Church of Ireland, this talk explores what records were made, what survives, and where and how to access them. Irish church records are an indispensable source for social history and allow us to trace a rapidly changing Irish society.
Searching for the Immigration Records of our Irish Ancestors Mary Wickersham December 3, 2022
Millions of U.S. passenger arrival records are available online; even more are not yet indexed from ships’ passenger manifests stored on microfilm at the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. How can you tell when your ancestor came to the North America? Searching ship’s manifests and other historical records may provide you with clues about an ancestor’s date and ship of arrival in the U.S. Major resources for finding U.S. (and some Canadian) immigration information are discussed and listed in the class handout with links to online repositories and helpful online how-to reading materials.
Understanding Irish Place Names James Ryan November 5, 2022
This talk outlines the origins and structure of the names of Irish places and explains the historical reasons for the variations in place names encountered in Irish records, caused by a process of anglicization of Irish or Gaelic place names over a long period. We will also outline the land divisions and places that required naming, and the practices that applied in this process.
It also shows key sources that are available to help in finding currently accepted placenames; and the books and websites available to provide the details of the locations of places; the name variations that applied; and maps of different scales and vintages. For each source the type of information contained is shown, and how these reference sources can be found.
Irish Property Records:  An Overview John Grenham October 15, 2022
Property leaves traces long after people vanish. This talk looks at historic Irish institutions that recorded property transactions (The Registry of Deeds) and that created property tax records (The Valuation Office).They are two of the oldest intact record-holding institutions in Ireland and both provide (relatively) unbroken chains of evidence reaching back into the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Turning Dry Facts into Exciting Details Carol Baxter September 14, 2022
Genealogist Chris Paton draws together many potential land and vital records resources to tell the story of an Irish family and their farm in County Kilkenny across the 19th and 20th centuries. Using an array of resources (vital records, newspapers, land records, census and military records) he shows how the genealogical narrative of the family was established from the 1820s to the mid-20th century. Along the way he takes the family's and property's story from its humblest of agricultural beginnings, to a dramatic episode of the Irish Civil War, and beyond.
An Irish Farm History Chris Paton August 6, 2022
The ancestral facts we labor to find, seem to us as precious as gold. Yet these nuggets can seem dry to a reader when recited as a family history. How can we make our ancestral histories engaging to our broader family? Some genealogists choose to fictionalize their histories. However, the broader audience can dismiss “recreated” scenes or “reimagined” dialogue. They want to know what really happened. At the opposite extreme of the "encyclopedic" approach.
An Overview of Irish History Dr. Paul MacCotter July 16, 2022
Free to members - Historians estimate that Ireland was first settled by humans about 10,000 years ago. To our knowledge no one has traced their ancestors back that far but…wouldn’t you like to know what was happening in Ireland when your ancestors did live there? Join us as Dr. MacCotter takes us on an overview journey through Irish history. He touches briefly on all the key issues, challenging the many myths and legends and replacing them with the true picture of who are the Irish and what is their history.
The Power of Names in Irish Family History David Ouimette June 4, 2022
Names are the most powerful means of identifying ancestors. In this presentation, we illustrate three name-based techniques for tracing Irish ancestors: name-variant research, cluster genealogy, and surname heat maps.  Cluster genealogy focuses on researching extended family and Irish neighbors who may have the same origins as your illusive immigrant ancestors.
Innovation in Ireland: Creative Resources for Your Irish Research Jen Baldwin May 7, 2022
Irish genealogy is notoriously difficult, so researchers must apply creative tools and techniques - as well as use creative records - to obtain positive results. Explore a variety of routes through Irish family history and learn more about the collections available on Findmypast and elsewhere.
Emigration from the north of Ireland to North America - sources for researching emigrant ancestors Fintan Mullan April 9, 2022
Passenger lists for those leaving Great Britain and Ireland did not start until 1890. Passenger lists were required by the USA to include each passenger's name, birthdate/age, port of departure, name of ship, arrival date, and port of arrival. However, before this period they were not compulsory. Availability of passenger lists for eighteenth and early nineteenth century are quite rare, and in many cases non-existent.
Combining DNA and Traditional Genealogy Techniques for Irish Family Tree Research Maurice Gleeson March 19, 2022
Expert Maurice Gleeson explores various ways in which DNA and documentary evidence can work hand in hand to break through your Irish Brick Walls. Topics to be explored include: characterizing each Irish Brick Wall; Irish Naming Convention; ways to grab the low hanging fruit; working with Clusters; Triangulated Segments; triangulating with Y-DNA and mtDNA; and Ancestor Reconstruction.
Focusing Your Genealogy Research Shirleen Hoffman &
Lois Abromitis Mackin, Ph.D.
February 5, 2022
This webinar will help you develop a solid foundation for your research. First you will learn simple tools, including identity profiles and timelines, to organize what you know and provide a springboard for future investigation. Then Shirleen and Lois will teach you how to use those tools to develop detailed, focused questions that will target your research and make it more efficient and productive.
Traveling in Ireland Maria Flynn Conway January 22, 2022
Free to members -  Maria Flynn Conway, a native of Waterford, Ireland, is a St. Paul, MN based tour operator specializing in Ireland. She will answer basic traveler questions such as when should you go to Ireland, planning an itinerary, transportation, where to stay, what to do before you leave, what to pack, where to eat, and all the other questions you have whether you are planning your own trip or going with a group.
Researching in Ireland - Searching High and Low Fiona Fitzsimons January 15, 2022
Gasp! Not all the records you need to find your ancestors in Ireland are online. You NEED to go to Ireland! In this presentation, Fiona Fitzsimons will help prepare you for researching in Ireland. She'll take you through what you need to do to prepare the groundwork for your research trip (opening hours, access, finding aids, catalogues, etc.), introduce you to cultural institutions (NLI, NAI, PRONI) and repositories (Valuation Office, Registry of Deeds) plus clue you in to local evidence in your ancestor's county of birth (county libraries).
Irish Genealogy 101 Tom Rice August 7, 2021
Are you new to Irish genealogy or perhaps it has been a while since you dug into your Irish family roots? This is the webinar for you! Tom Rice will provide an introduction to the key tools for finding your ancestors in Ireland: most important record types, Irish geographic terms, Irish names, key Irish genealogy websites and books, and much, much more.
Burren Girl Documentary: Behind the Scenes Rita Davern June 12, 2021
Rita Davern is a Minnesota woman who searched for the place and people her grandmother left behind. The quest took her to the Burren: a beautiful, windswept region of County Clare, Ireland. There she found a clan - and its medieval legacy - that were scattered and lost during some of the most difficult centuries in Irish history. 
Free for all to view.  Click on the title to view the webinar (opens in a new browser window). Note we no longer have viewing rights to the film itself.