The Ireland Branch held its annual Open Day yesterday in Dublin City Library & Archive. About 65 people members gathered to hear three lectures and take part in an individual questions and answers session. Discounted membership of the IGRS was available on the day and a number of new members joined our ranks.
The morning kicked off with a look at the lesser known family history resources at the library & archive. This lecture was given by Dr Máire Kennedy, whose engagement with her topic shone through. Some features people may not be aware of include cemetery records for Deansgrange and Mount Jerome up to 1972, telephone directories for the whole country (with some gaps), early trade directories from 17th and 18th centuries, and the availability of Find My Past for free use in the reading room.
Our second lecture was given by Rob Goodbody on the third (of four) volumes on the Irish Historic Town Atlas for Dublin covering the years 1745-1845, a crucial period in the development of modern Dublin, which included the Wide Streets Commission’s work. The project is actually Europe-wide and now features 500 atlases covering towns in 19 countries. The atlas takes in a myriad of historical and genealogical sources making it a “must-buy” for those with Dublin ancestors and cartography enthusiasts alike.
After a good lunch, we reassembled to hear our final lecturer of the day. Dr Cathy Swift of Mary Immaculate College in Limerick gave a highly entertaining lecture on the promise, pitfalls and problems with the growing field of genetic DNA. As a medieval historian, Cathy looked at how geneticists have tried to match their DNA findings to history, with mixed results.
The IGRS holds a silent auction on our Open Day and this year, in keeping with our final lecture, we were delighted to offer 2 DNA testing kits, courtesy of Ancestry, who recently launched DNA testing in the Irish market. Other prizes included books, vouchers and bottles of alcohol ensuring that many people came away happy.
Our final session of the day saw some of the genealogists on the committee including Máire Mac Conghail, the Ireland Branch chairperson, and Steven Smyrl, Council chairperson, answering specific questions from individuals on their current brick walls. Hopefully we were able to help!
The day was a great success, with thanks to all the committee and organisers, and the members for attending!