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Irish: Major Printed Sources
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This course will provide you with an understanding of the importance of printed source collections when undertaking your genealogical research. Most genealogists and family historians do understand inherently the significance of all source materials for extracting genealogical information though often we forget that printed sources can supply some of the best pointers on family relationships, locations, occupations, and periods of residency. Printed sources can be contemporary to the period documented and thus often more reliable than later developed secondary sources for the same period. However, what is often realized early on with these records is that few of them are indexed in any comprehensive way and there tend to be large periods where even the printed sources themselves are not available. Often, these factors alone discourage us from using them in any comprehensive way with our developed search strategies.

In Ireland, where many of the records have been destroyed or lost, what have survived are sporadic and incomplete. Contemporary-period printed sources by way of newspapers, directories, journals and local histories, occupational and society records often help establish human life events that may not be documented anywhere else. More importantly, however, for us genealogists and family historians, they act as pointers in our efforts to track other more significant primary and secondary sources of information connecting our families.

Apart from the sheer intrinsic enjoyment of reading historical newspapers, newspapers provide excellent vital statistical information, details on business ownership and locations of their owners, and in a more contemporary sense sometimes an advertisement will help you locate relatives, themselves, who may be able to assist you further with your search.

Directories come in various forms and with Ireland this is no different. They tend to provide us with details on occupations, localities, and places of residence which will lead us to other vital sources.

Printed journals and local histories frequently give us details on the political, economic and social fabric of communities and may even provide detailed relationships and life events for specific community members, though in Ireland this was often restricted to the prominent members of the community such as tradesmen, professionals, ecclesiastics, the gentry, and the nobility.

Lastly, occupational and society records, not unlike directories, give us further leads as to occupations, apprenticeships, fraternities, localities, and relationships, but to name a few elements of information.

The significance of all these records is not to be understated as some extend back to the mid-1600s with most, however, extending from the mid-1750s. This is a time which precedes, of course, Irish civil registration and many church records for most if not all ecclesiastical denominations in Ireland. These records supplement the will/probate records that, though they exist back to the 16th century, often only include the middle to upper echelons of Irish society.

This course will discuss these printed sources focussing on the various forms of printed sources available, what information they contain and their value, the challenges in accessing or using these records, locating these source records and discussing any available bibliographies, indexes, and abstracts that might exist. Several examples will be examined and an in-depth case study will be presented at the end of the course material.

Course Content

Module 1
Newspaper Collections
• Value of Historical Newspaper Collections
• Challenges in the Use of Historical Newspapers
• Social Context in Historical Newspapers
• Social, Business and Political Details
• News Coverage
• Advertisements
• Business and Stock News
• Society Pages
• Neighbourhood Columns
• Death Records
• Legal announcements
• Images
Special-Interest Newspapers
Evaluating What You Find
• Biases
• Timing of Events
• Inaccuracies
• Regional Searches
A Brief History of Newspaper Publishing in Ireland
References and Further Reading
Additional Optional Reading

Module 2
Newspaper Collections ... continued
Description of Contents of Irish Newspapers
• Birth/Baptism Announcements
• Marriage Announcements
• Obituary and Death Notices
• Advertisements
• Business Announcements
• Business and Personal Bankruptcies/Foreclosures
• Students and Apprentices
• Elopements/Abandonments
Dates of Coverage for Irish Newspapers
• Dublin Region
• Cork-Kerry Region
• Clare-Limerick Region
• Kilkenny-Carlow Region
• Meath-Louth Region
• Roscommon-Sligo-Galway-Mayo Region
• Tipperary-Waterford-Wexford Region
• Belfast and Ulster Region
Types of Persons Covered in Irish Newspapers
Availability of Irish Newspapers
Bibliographies and Indexes to Irish Newspaper Collections
References and Further Readings
Additional Optional Reading

Module 3
Directories and Almanacs
• Value of Historical Directories and Almanacs
• Challenges with the Use of Historical Directories and Almanacs
Description of Contents of Irish Directories and Almanacs
• Street Directories
• Church Directories
• Organizational Directories
• Telephone Directories
• Commercial or Postal Directories
• Professional or Trade Directories
• Court Directories
• Law Directories
• Specialty Directories
• Northern Ireland
• Republic Of Ireland
Dates of Coverage of Irish Directory and Almanac Collections
Types of Persons Covered in Irish Directories and Almanacs
Availability of Irish Directory Collections
Bibliography and Indexes to Irish Directory and Almanac Collections
References and Further Reading
Additional Optional Reading

Module 4
Journals and Local Historical Histories
• Value of Journals and Local History Publications
• Challenges with Journals and Local Histories
• Description of Contents of Journals and Local Histories
• Dates of Coverage of Journals and Local Histories
• Types of Persons Covered in Journals and Local Histories
• Availability of Journals and Local Histories
• Bibliographies and Indexes to Journal and Local History Collections
References and Further Reading
Additional Optional Reading

Module 5
Occupational Records
• Value of Occupational Records
• Challenges with Occupational Records
Description of Contents of Occupational Records
• Aristocracy and Gentry Records
• Attorneys (Solicitors) and Barristers Records
• Barbers, Surgeons and Physician Records
• Freemen Records
• Military Records
• School Alumni and Professional Membership Biographies
• Service Records of the Royal Irish Constabulary
Dates of Coverage of Occupational Records
Types of Persons Covered in Occupational Records
Availability of Occupational Records
Bibliographies and Indexes to Occupational Records
References and Further Reading
Additional Optional Reading

Module 6
Society Records
• Value of Society Records
• Challenges with Society Records
• Description of Contents of Society Records
Irish Freemasons
• Membership Registers
• Committees of Charity and Inspection Minute Books
• Minute Books of Chapters
• Orphanage Registers
• Correspondence Records of the Deputy-Secretary
Fenian Brotherhood
Society of United Irishmen
Loyal Order of Orange Lodges
Dates of Coverage of Society Records
Types of Persons Covered in Society Records
Availability of Society Records
References and Further Reading
Concluding Comments
Additional Optional Reading

Module 7
Case Study

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