For one happy customer we found her parents and grandparents – who she had never known – at the age of 77! We are telling about it in the video below.
Fiona, her daughter, told us: “Mum is pouring over all the details…. I can see many conversations in the future, wonderful to find out your grandparents names at the age of 77! Thank you.”
“Your Genealogy Today” is a leading North American genealogy magazine. It is a “how-to” publication, giving tips, tools and advise to family historians about researching their ancestry. It is published by Moorshead Magazines Ltd. . This company also publishes “Internet Genealogy” and “History Magazine”. Although based in Toronto, Canada, 90% of the circulation is in the USA.
The magazines can be obtained via subscription or via Barnes & Noble and Books-A-Million in the USA or Chapters book stores in Canada. Alternatively, they can be ordered or downloaded in PDF format from their online store.
The reason why we post about it, is that the September/October issue contains an article from our own Michael van Turnhout. The title of his article is “Snapshot of an Irish School”. It talks about what we can learn about the lives of our ancestors by looking at a typical school in the mid-nineteenth century. If you are interested to learn about your ancestors’ local school, why don’t you Contact Us
The Name of a Rose: Connecting With the Past
Sue Lisk finds that you can make amazing connections with your ancestors through hints they leave for future generations
Crimes Across Multiple Jurisdictions
Diane L. Richard follows a North Carolina family through court records
Discover Your WWI Ancestor Through State-Based Resources
Margaret Moen looks at State-based records you might encounter when searching for your WWI ancestor
Road Overseers, Surveyors of Highways, and Road Juries
David A. Norris looks at how early road-building records might pave the way to new genealogical information
Eyewitness to History: My Ancestor Was There!
Robbie Gorr discovers an ancestor who lived in Tombstone, Arizona during some of the most tumultuous times in Western US history
Using Apprentice Records for Genealogy Searches
Ed Storey explores apprenticeship program records and what they might reveal about ancestors who worked in the trades
Your Irish Ancestors and Their Schools
Michael van Turnhout looks at a snapshot of a 19th century school
Interview with Mary Tedesco
Leslie Michele Derrough sits down with the genealogy researcher and co-host of Genealogy Roadshow to learn about her passion for genealogy
Genealogy & the Law
Where there is – or isn’t – a will. Judy G. Russell explains what you might find in a probate
The Back Page
Dave Obee says: “Sometimes, it’s hard to see the obvious”
Blackrock is nowadays a suburb of Dublin, but it once was a Town of its own. Up to about 1700, the area where it is located was just an empty bit of coastline, south of Dublin. Strangely, as it was then quite a distance away, it did belong to the City of Dublin. We know this because the Mayor of Dublin, together with his sheriffs, would every three years take a tour of the boundaries of the city. They would end up in modern Blackrock, where the Mayor would ride on his horse into the sea and throw a spear as far as he could: they would claim even the sea, up to where the spear would land. The oldest artifact found in Blackrock is this cross, estimated to be from the 12th Century. Although by no means certain, one theory is that it was a boundary marker.
Just south of Blackrock used to be a castle, which was owned by the Byrne family. No trace of it remains, and even its exact location is uncertain. Around this castle, a little village sprung up. This village was originally called Newtown. The problem with this name was that there were many places in Ireland with this name. To distinguish it, it was therefore also called “Newtown Castle Byrne” or “Newtown at the Black Rock.”. It is the latter name in abbreviated form that survived.
The Black Rock in question was a large limestone. Blackrock is at a geological border. North of it, towards Dublin, the ground is made up of gravel on top of limestone. South of it, it is mostly granite. The limestone, over thousands of years, has eroded away and created the plains on which the City of Dublin sits. The granite is much harder, and has eroded much less. This is why we have the mountains of Wicklow and the beautiful cliffs at Killiney. Blackrock is also mostly on granite, and would therefore be higher above sea level than Dublin. But as it was at the spot where the limestone and granite met, a large piece of limestone sat in between the granite. This limestone, when wet, would be black and would be clearly visible against the light grey and brown of granite and thus form a natural marker. Hence the name. You can see the difference in the picture below (ignore the brick, they are from a later repair of this old wall).
Dark Grey Limestone, Light Grey and Brown Granite
From about 1700, bathing in the sea became popular as a leisure activity. As the Liffey and Dublin Bay nearer to the City of Dublin were heavily polluted (sewerage treatment plants did not exist yet), people traveled a bit further away. Blackrock, with its cleaner water and attractive views from its elevated position fitted the bill. It became one of the first seaside resorts.
At first it would mainly attract day trippers. Then, some entrepreneurial people built houses and started renting them out to holiday makers. The very rich would built their own homes. These were often very grand affairs. The grandest of them all was Frescati House, owned by the Duke of Leinster. It was their third house, as they would also own Carton House in Co. Kildare, their main seat where they would spend the summer) and a Town House in Dublin, where they would spend the winter, attending balls and other social occasions. The latter is now home the Irish Dial and Seanad (lower and upper chambers of parliament). Frescati House was built in 1739 for the family of John Hely Hutchinson, the Provost of Trinity College, but was sold in the 1750’s to the aforementioned Duke of Leinster. Unfortunately it was demolished in the 1980’s, being in a very bad state. Although of a later date, the 1850 Newtown House gives an idea of the splendor of Blackrock’s residences:
Later in the 18th Century, “promenading” became very popular. This meant walking in a beautifully maintained area, for which an entry fee had to be paid. This way, only people of “status” would get access, and the rich would have a chance to see and be seen by the others of their class. One such promenading area was also built in Blackrock, with the name “Vauxhall Gardens”. It was not a commercial success, and later became a private residence until in 1873 the Town Council (of which later more) purchased it and turned it into a park. The park was bigger than the original Vauxhall Gardens: when a railway between Dublin and Dun Laoghaire was constructed (see below), in Blackrock, it sat on top of a man made embankment in the sea, thus creating a “lagoon” type area. This was soon used as the local rubbish dump. When the park was developed, the area has been almost completely filled and it was decided to grass it over and add it to the park. The park itself was a Victorian affair complete with bandstand. Bands were then very popular, with most organisations (including large companies) having their own bands.
The railway (Dublin & Kingstown Railway) is also worth mentioning: it was the first railway in Ireland, constructed in 1834. In the world, only the Manchester to Liverpool railway is older (1830). The railway connected Dublin to Dun Loaghaire, which was then called Kingstown. There was only one stop in between: Blackrock. The Dublin station – orignally Westland Row, but now called Pearse Station – has been redeveloped in 1981. As the heart of Dun Loaghaire moved over time – as a result of the harbour – it too got a new station. That leaves the Blackrock station as the only original station. It is still in use today. It was designed by a local architect, Mulvaney, and you can see his trademark in it: the recessed doorway with the Ionic columns.
The railway did cause some problems though as it separated the town from the sea, and bathing was still popular. The railway company therefore provided footbridges and bathing areas (men and women separated, as bathing costumes did not exist yet). These were very basic affairs, just a platform and a wall that protected the bathers from wind and their modesty. See the picture below to the left. Towards the end of the 19th Century a private entrepreneur constructed new sea baths, which had changing areas, diving boards, etc. It was purchased in the 1920’s by the government for their “Celtic Games”, essentially a form of Olympic Games for the Celtic Nations. Seating for 1150 people was added. The baths closed in 1987, as a result of cutbacks necessitated by the economic crisis of that decade. In the picture below to the right you can see what is left of it.
The town was at this stage already booming, and no doubt the railway helped to sustain its growth. Due to a previous reorganization, Blackrock was no longer part of the City of Dublin but of County Dublin. Towns like Blackrock could ask the government to be officially incorporated as Town Councils, by petition. The citizens of Blackrock decided to do so in the 1860’s. This was mainly because people started to demand more of the government: they wanted paved streets and pavements, street lighting, fire stations, etc. It was the role of the Town Council to ensure Blackrock would get these amenities. And as we already saw, they added a Town Park in 1873. To house the administration a City Hall was built, which was extended when the Blackrock Council was made responsible for its rural hinterland (stretching all the way to Stillorgan) as well. In this period we also see the construction of the Catholic St. John the Baptist church (1842-1845) as well as continued building of residential houses, such as Idrone Terrace.
In the 1870’s Dublin is getting its first trams. These only covered small distances, as they were originally horse drawn. Most companies would operate only one line. To get from Dublin to Dun Laoghaire you need to take three different trams. In the picture below, you can see the sheds in which the original trams were kept (until recently the were in use as a car dealership, they are now vacant). The tram companies would be amalgamated in the 1890’s by William Murphy (of 1913 Lockout fame) in his Dublin United Tramways Company. He would also start a program of electrification. The tramway from Dublin via Blackrock to Dun Loaghaire and further to Dalkey was the first to to electric. It was also the last line to be closed down in 1949, when trams were replaced by buses.
Before that, in 1930, there was also an amalgamation of local councils. One victim of this was Blackrock, which became part of Dun Laoghaire. The local council is now – after several further reorganizations – called Dun Loaghaire County Council. The Blackrock City Hall has been turned into a Library.
Blackrock still has its own identify however, and although no longer a seaside resort, its Main Street with its many shops is still worth a visit.
We hope you enjoyed the story of Blackrock. Why not have a look at the rest of our website?
This blog contains a large photo gallery of Deansgrange Cemetery. Please give it a moment to load!
Deansgrange Cemetery is located in the local council area of Dún Laoghaire–Rathdown, a suburb of Dublin. It is open to the public. The cemetery is, together with Glasnevin, one of the largest in the Dublin area, occupying 65 acres. (So if you want to visit a particular grave, you should find out first where it is!). First burial was Anastasia Carey, 41 years, Servant St. Joseph’s Orphanage, 27th January 1865.
Hover over the pictures below to see the title; click on them to see a larger picture and its story.
Disclaimer: Most of the stories in this gallery are from gravedigger “John”, who told them to us during a “Dun Loaghaire Heritage Tour” of the Deansgrange Cemetery. They come from relatives who visited the graves and some have been told from colleague to colleague and even generation to generation and might therefore not be accurate. They are certainly very entertaining. Thanks for the stories, John.
We hope you enjoyed these photos and their stories. Why not have a look at the rest of our website?
Cobh, pronounced Cove and previously known as Queenstown, is near Cork in the South West of Ireland. It is well worth a visit if you are in the area.
First of all, it is a a very important port in the history of many Irish families. Of the 6 million Irish who left Ireland between 1848 and 1950, 2.5 million left from the port of Cobh. If you are doing your research, please note that Cobh was renamed Queenstown after the visit of Queen Victoria in 1849. It remained so until the early 1920s and the formation of the Irish Free State.
The port is also famous as the last port of call for the ill-fate Titanic. The tenders “Ireland” and “America” brought 123 passengers to the ship from Cobh . Seven lucky passengers disembarked at Cobh including Jesuit priest Father Francis Browne and the Odell Family. Their photographs, taken aboard, are now world famous. Of the 123 passengers, 79 perished. There is a fantastic museum (there is an admission fee) in Cobh telling their story, located in the original departure building. We have included a link to their website below.
Only a few years later, in 1915 1,198 people perished when the Lusitania was sunk off the Cork coast by a torpedo fired by a German U-boat. Only 289 bodies were recovered. 169 were buried in the Old Church Cemetery just outside the town in three mass graves while only 20 were buried in individual plots.
Dominating the town is the Roman Catholic Saint Colman’s Cathedral that is perched on the hillside. It is a magnificent neo-Gothic building that took 47 years to build, starting in 1868. For many Irish emigrants, it was the last bit of Ireland they would ever see. (Click on photo to see a larger picture).
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JILLIAN VAN TURNHOUT NÉE HASSETT is a respected children’s and human rights expert. She is also a former Senator in the upper house of the Irish Parliament. Furthermore, she is a founder of Genealogy.ie
See her introduction on YouTube:
Throughout Jillian van Turnhout’s career, in both the private and public sector, her achievements have been recognised. This includes winning the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Politician of the Year Award. In addition, the President of France recognised her work recently by awarding her the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite. This is the second-highest national Order of France.
Parallel to this work, Jillian has been developing her skills as a genealogist. She has researched her own and clients’ family history throughout Ireland, the UK, USA and Canada. Jillian is passionate about family history and understands the richness and fulfilment that goes with finding out about your ancestors and their lives. She joins with other genealogists campaigning for the publication of the 1926 Census of Ireland.
Despite the current laws in Ireland presenting a number of roadblocks, Jillian van Turnhout has broken through barriers and assisted former adoptees in tracing their roots. During her time in the Irish Senate, Jillian championed the right of adoptees to have their right to identity firmly established in law.
Through her extensive voluntary and professional career, Jillian has developed an extensive network of contacts throughout Ireland. In 2010, Jillian received the ‘Freedom of Killarney’, County Kerry.
Jillian van Turnhout has attended many genealogy conferences and seminars in Ireland, the UK and USA. This includes Roots Tech in Salt Lake City, the largest family history event in the world.
In the words of Roots author Alex Haley “In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage – to know who we are and where we have come from.” Jillian has therefore decided to dedicate herself full time to bringing the richness of your Irish family history to life for you.
Have this hunger too? Why not have a look at the rest of our website?
The founder of Genealogy.ie, Jillian van Turnhout, was awarded the prestigious Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite by the President of the French Republic. The Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite is the second highest national order of France and was presented to Jillian van Turnhout by the Ambassador of France to Ireland at an event hosted in the French Residence in Dublin
The award was made in recognition of Jillian van Turnhout’s work in strengthening children’s rights and for her engagement with civil society organisations across Europe.
On receipt of the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite, Jillian van Turnhout said “I am immensely honoured to be recognised by the President of the French Republic for my work in promoting children’s rights and for my engagement with civil society organisations across Europe. Recent world events have strengthened my resolve and belief in the European Union project and to advocate for a Europe that is stronger together. This award and the French national motto of ‘liberty, equality, fraternity’ remind me of our shared values. We must work together in solidarity to uphold and ensure the rights of all citizens to live without fear in a world that respects freedom, democracy and equality.”
At the event in the French Residence, the Ambassador of France to Ireland, H.E. Jean-Pierre Thébault, remarked that “with the bestowal of the Ordre National du Mérite to Ms Jillian van Turnhout, France wishes to acknowledge a friend’s lifetime commitment and the part she played on numerous subjects that require flag bearers: from issues related to children’s rights to the promotion of the European ideal. Jillian’s public and professional paths are also testament to the important role women play in public life to make change happen and shape a better and more inclusive society.”
Maurice Pratt, Chairman of European Movement Ireland, commenting on the distinguished honour, said “There are few people more deserving of this award than Jillian. Having worked closely with Jillian, I have seen her tireless dedication to the causes she champions, including Irish-European affairs and children’s rights. It is a pleasure to see her being recognised for her outstanding contribution to developing Irish-European relations, and Irish-French relations in particular. I offer her my sincere congratulations on this well-deserved honour.”
The Chief Commissioner of the Irish Girl Guides, Helen Concannon, who also attended the event, said: “We are delighted to congratulate Jillian on the acknowledgement by another country of her tireless work for young people. She epitomises what the Baden Powells, the founders of Guiding and Scouting, meant when they said, ‘Girls should be brought up to be comrades and helpers, not to be dolls. They should take a real and not a visionary share in the welfare of the nation.’ “We are proud of all Jillian has achieved and all she continues to achieve through her involvement with Girl Guides,”
Biography Jillian van Turnhout
In addition to her work with Genealogy.ie, Jillian van Turnhout is a leading children’s rights advocate and a former Irish Senator. In her 5 year term in Seanad Éireann (upper house Irish Parliament), Jillian spearheaded a number of legislative and policy changes to further children’s rights. Jillian is involved with several not-for-profit organisations on a pro bono basis including as Vice Chair of European Movement Ireland, Chair of Early Childhood Ireland and Chair of Children in Hospital Ireland. She is a former Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance, former Chief Commissioner Irish Girl Guides and former President of the National Youth Council of Ireland.
For over 12 years Jillian was a member and Vice President of the EU Advisory Body, the European Economic and Social Committee. Jillian drafted the first Opinion from an EU body on the need for a European Youth Policy and published a number of papers to further children’s rights. Jillian represented the EESC on the Steering Group for the European Forum on the Rights of the Child and the EESC EU-China Round for over 6 years leading to first formal dialogue on children’s rights between China and EU in 2010 in Chongqing, China. Jillian is a co-founder of the European Youth Forum.
Below are some photos taken at the event. Click on it for a larger image.
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Genealogy.ie believes that your family story is not just about names and dates of people in your family tree. We think it is also about the places where they lived and worked, the houses they lived in. This is why, when we search Irish ancestry for our clients, we also offer Irish local history research and investigation. In most cases our research is into the history of a house or farm. But it can also be a village or even an event. Depending on records available this gives you a picture of how your ancestors would have lived. And thus add colour to your Irish family history.
Take Marlay House. Up to quite recently it was a large demesne (mansion house which was also a working farm, albeit a large one). Watch our short presentation:
Marlay as a land holding traces its origins back to the Anglo-Norman times. The Fleming family were the first owners, followed by by the Cistercian religious order. Religious orders were the biggest landowners at the time. King Henry VIII abolished them and resold the lands he took. The new owner was called Taylor.
He build the older farmhouse, a large part of it still in existence (courtyard). It was then bought by a series of families who used the property as their ‘out of town’ refuge. Living in the growing city of Dublin was unhealthy. Therefore rich families bought farms and lands and constructed mansion houses in the immediate environs of the city. The area around Marlay was very popular as it was at the foot of the Dublin and Wicklow mountains. This not only had fresher air but also offered stunning views. The first of these families built Marlay House.
This was actually the name of the wife of the owner, a bishop’s daughter. His own name was LaTouche. His family were Huguenots who had fled France. They started as weavers but became a wealthy banking family. After a few different families had owned the property, the last of them, the Tedcastle family, sold it to the local council who has turned the gardens into a great public park and is in the process of restoring the house. This spring free tours are available to see the inside of the ground floor of the house.
We hope you enjoyed the video and story. Why not have a look at the rest of our website?
Click on the photo for a larger picture or scroll down for the text.
Martello towers are small defensive round towers that were built across the British Empire during the 19th century. They were named after the “Torra di Mortella”, which in 1794 kept an entire British fleet at bay for two days. It was captured in the end, and the British marveled at the fact that this small fort with only a few men had resisted for so long. So they decided to copy it.
In Dublin they were built after the French Revolution, to ward off a potential invasion. Most towers have 2 floors and are approximately 40 feet/12 meters high. They would be guarded by a small garrison of about 20 men, commanded by 1 officer. The officer would be responsible for the health and well being of the men. He would normally reside downstairs, where he could keep an eye on the stocks and weapons.
Because the towers were round, and were constructed of very thick walls of solid masonry, they could withstand cannon fire. At the same time, their height made them an ideal platform for a single heavy artillery piece. This cannon could be found on the flat roof. It could be turned and thus cover a large area. By building a string of these towers, with overlapping ranges, they covered the entire Dublin coast.
In Dublin they never fired a shot in anger and they became obsolete towards the end of the 19th Century. Quite a few have survived to this day, like the one in Seapoint, pictures of which you can see on the page. We visited this tower as part of the Summer Heritage program of the Dun Laoghaire County Council.
For a YouTube video impression of the Seapoint tower, click on the link (opens in a new window).
Another tower is open all year, as it is now a museum dedicated to James Joyce. Admission is free. Follow this link for more information
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