2016 Schedule and Program Sessions (Sample)

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2016 Schedule (Quick Reference)


Celtic Connections Conference - 2016 Program Sessions (Sample)

( Quick link to 2016 Schedule ) pf_button

2016 Program Sessions

Lecture Topics


Keynote: Irish Placenames and Their Importance in Tracing Family History    BRIAN MITCHELL

The key to unlocking Irish family history origins is the knowledge of place.   Correct place name location–by county, parish, townland, district electoral division, registrar district, Poor Law Union, and estate–will result in more effective use of major Irish record sources, including 1901 and 1911 census returns, church registers, civil registers of births, marriages and deaths, and land valuation and estate records.

F11: Landed Estates in Ireland and the Sources for Their Study    WILLIAM ROULSTON

Until the early 20th century most farmers in Ireland did not own their land outright, but were tenants on an estate. Documents generated by the management of landed estates are valuable records for the local and family historian. This talk discusses the significance of landed estates in Irish history and reviews the records that can be used to find out more about farming families in Ireland.

F12: Paths to Learning Irish Genealogy    TOM K. RICE, CGSM

Learn to be successful with your Irish family history research. Where can you find the information you need? Which books should you own? Which instructional and reference websites should you bookmark, and which conferences or workshops should you attend?

F13: Connecting to Your Extended Family Using DNA    NORA GALVIN, CGSM

Wondering what DNA testing is all about? In this introductory lecture you will learn what tests are available, what they mean, who should take them and which companies offer them.

F21: Why are Irish Surnames Uniquely Slippery?    JOHN GRENHAM

All genealogical research involves caution about surname variation. Surnames recorded in Irish records are even less trustworthy than those in non-Irish records. This talk will help you learn why, by outlining the processes of surname adoption, mutation, and mutilation that got us where we are. The aim is to make you doubt your own name.

F22: Irish Railroad Workers and Records of the Railroads    PAULA STUART-WARREN, CGSM

U.S. railroads recruited workers in Ireland. They came, records were created, and the personal details in those records are simply astounding! Learn the history of Irish railroad workers and where you can find railroad records today.

F23: Griffith’s Valuation: Gateway to Irish Research    MARY ELLEN GROGAN

Irish land records are key to successful Irish research. This 2-hour workshop will focus on the Tithe Applotment and Valuation series, explaining their content, use and links to other genealogical records. (Replaces: Tracking Generations using 19th-Century Irish Land Valuation Records by RICHARD M. DOHERTY.)

F31: Role of the Modern Shennachie--Who looks after the story of the Clan or Family?    DR. BRUCE DURIE

The role of the Shennachie was an honoured one within the Chief’s household–historian, genealogist, storyteller, recorder, and keeper of the memory of the clan or family. Often this was a heritable position. The modern role for the Shennachie has recently been acknowledged by the Lord Lyon King of Arms in Scotland. Someone should be able to marshal the necessary information–genealogical, heraldic, DNA, historical and geographical–to help anyone in a kinship or surname group. Learn from the Shennachie to the Chief of Durie and to COSCA how this works and how someone becomes a Shennachie.

F32: What Ireland Did They Leave: A Brief Overview of Irish History and Why People Left    WILLIAM H. MULLIGAN, Jr.

While there has been migration from Ireland for a very long time, the Ireland people left and their reasons for leaving have changed over the years, as Ireland itself has changed. This lecture offers an overview of Irish history from 1600 to roughly 1980, with a focus on the reasons people emigrated and who was emigrating.

F41: The Digital Revolution in Irish Genealogy    BRIAN DONOVAN

Once upon a time Irish genealogy was impossible. Now, thanks to archives and libraries in Ireland, and to findmypast.com, there are over 100 million records online. These include traditional sources like civil records of birth, death and marriage, census records and church registers; census substitutes such as land valuation and tax records; and entirely new classes of records such as magistrate court registers and rebel and military records. This lecture describes and explains the records available online so you can get the most out of them. You’ll also get a sneak peak of what's planned by findmypast.com, and hear about the remaining challenges in accessing historic Irish records.

F42: Cops and Robbers: An Occupation Trail Spotlight    SHEILA O’ROURKE NORTHROP

This talk looks at two opposing sides of the Irish immigrant experience in 19th- and early 20th-century North America: law enforcement and criminal behavior. You’ll enjoy anecdotes and learn about powerful resources for records research into both occupations in locations with large numbers of Irish immigrants. You’ll also see the progression of both occupations as Irish immigrants spread across the continent.

F43: Irish Descendancy Research in the USA    MICHAEL BROPHY

Take a new approach to your genealogy by researching living cousins and other relatives. Experience the joy of shared stories and unique discoveries and give your research new life and excitement.

Banquet (Additional cost - $58) - The Changing Face of an Irish Immigrant.   Guest Speaker:   Kieran Folliard

Moving from his native County Mayo, Kieran Folliard has created multiple business enterprises in Minnesota: four still-thriving unique Irish Pubs, 2 Gingers Irish whiskey, and a new collaborative food business. He expresses a service mission to ‘leave people with an experience that they cannot wait to come back'.


S11: Plantation Families of Northwest Ulster: Record Sources    BRIAN MITCHELL

This talk examines a number of case studies that demonstrates the range of sources–oral tradition, published histories, church registers, gravestone inscriptions, census substitutes and estate records– available for researching 17th-century English, Scottish, and Welsh immigrant planters who settled in Londonderry in Northwest Ireland. The surnames of these planters include two English surnames (Harvey and Skipton), five Scottish surnames (Alexander, Crookshanks, Ferguson, Montgomery, and Oliver), and two Welsh surnamed (Carrec and Gwyn).

S12: Researching Cornish Ancestry    LOIS ABROMITIS MACKIN, Ph.D.

This session presents useful resources for researching Cornish ancestors and shows where to find them. It provides an overview of the records available, both before and after the start of civil registration in 1837, and gives a guided tour of the principal websites where U.S.-based researchers can find these records, including the websites of British and Cornish repositories and websites for Cornish DNA projects.

S13: An Errand for My Father: Researching My Ancestors    WILIAM H. MULLIGAN, Jr.

About 15 years ago my father asked me to use the skills I used in writing about other people to research and write about the history of our family–this is that story.

S21: You Cannot Do Scottish Genealogy from Ancestry.com & FamilySearch.org    DR. BRUCE DURIE

Scotland has the longest-running, best-collected and most accessible records on the planet! Yet most people–including professional genealogists—don’t know how or where to access them. They rely on the large, commercial database websites and thereby miss the majority of genealogically- important Scottish record-sets. This talk reveals all – where to get records of people, places, inheritance, and much, much more.

S22: DNA Side of Genealogy    ALICE EICHOLZ, Ph.D., CGSM

DNA, the new tool in genealogical research, has the potential to unlock family mysteries and understand both the broad reach of our ancestry and who our closest relatives were. This is particularly true for breaking down some brick walls when written records are sparse, as in the case of Irish and Scots-Irish immigrants to the U.S. This talk will help you learn how Y, mitochondrial, and autosomal DNA tests have become essential in providing support for genealogical research, bolstering weak paper trails, and disproving hypotheses about relationships.

S23: Birth, Marriage and Death Records in Ireland: What, Where, How    MARY ELLEN GROGAN

Birth, Marriage and Death records are the cornerstones of genealogy. This presentation will focus on Irish records: where originals and indexes are found, and how indexes are used most effectively. (Replaces: Staying on Track: Avoiding Common Pitfalls in Irish Research by RICHARD M. DOHERTY.)

Luncheon (Additional cost - $28) - The Past Is Always Underfoot.   Guest Speaker:   Erin Hart

Erin Hart traces the mysterious family connections that underpin her stories, offering a brief sally through the fascinating research that goes into writing archaeological novels set in Ireland in which the past is inextricably linked with the present.

S31: Irish Soldiers & Rebels: Tracing WWI and Irish Revolutionary Ancestors    BRIAN DONOVAN

The years 1912-23 saw the deaths of over 75,000 from Ireland in armed conflict, from the fields of France to the streets of Dublin. Irish men and women took arms to fight for Irish freedom, to defend the Empire, and to liberate Belgium. They joined the UVF, the ICA, the Volunteers, the IRB, the IRA, and other radical organizations. Possibly half a million Irish-born joined the British, American, Canadian and Australian armies. This lecture will help you untangle the complexities of the surviving records and explain what you are likely to find.

S32: Making the Most of U.S. Resources to Find Irish Locality Connections    PAULA STUART-WARREN, CGSM

Great-Grandma came from “Ireland,” but where? Learn about the U. S. records that often identify specific places of origin. Prepare to be amazed at the visuals that illustrate these records, and where you can find them.

S33: How to Use Your Autosomal DNA Results from FTDNA, 23&Me, or AncestryDNA    NORA GALVIN, CGSM

You got your “cousin” DNA test results. Now what? Practice using the three main company Websites, GedMatch.com and MS Excel in this 2-hour workshop. Bring your laptop or tablet for hands-on experience.

S41: Genealogical Resources at The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)    WILLIAM ROULSTON

One of the best regional archives, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast, holds centuries of records relating to the province of Ulster and the families that have lived there. PRONI’s collections cover both public (i.e., official) and private records. This talk examines catalogs and records that are available through the PRONI website, as well as records that can only be accessed through a visit to this archive.

S42: Irish-American Catholic Genealogy    MICHAEL BROPHY

The destruction of the Public Records Office in Dublin in 1922 created unique challenges for Irish ancestral research. The lecture provides a practical guide to finding the origins of Catholic Irish ancestors using research materials available on-line and through film rental.

Keynote: Free at Last: why Irish Records are so Peculiar and so Cheap    JOHN GRENHAM

Online genealogical records for Ireland are unique in the English-speaking world. A large majority have been digitized and made searchable for free by agencies of the Irish state. These records are searchable in all sorts of expanded and non-standard ways. That's the good news. The bad news is, that, as a result it can be difficult for researchers to be sure they are have covered everything Irish that is available online. This talk explains the reasons for Ireland's uniquely non-commercial approach to genealogical records, systematically details the major resources, and demonstrates how to get the most out of their idiosyncrasies.