CCC 2022 Presenters

Celtic Connections Conference 2022 features a wide variety of speakers and topics from which you can choose.  Click the red expansion button next to the presentation title to view a description.

To browse the Conference program sorted in groups, click the links in the table below.  A downloadable PDF file of all the groups is included on the pages.

Presentations by Track Presenters by Track Presentations by Presenters Presentations by Country Presentations by Skill Level

Sheila Benedict

Sheila Benedict has a BA, courses in history and paralegal studies; institutes courses at CAFG, IGHR, NGS, Gen-Fed, SLIG, Ireland; past- president, APG Virtual Chapter, current president, APG Writer's SIG, archivist, lecturer at NGS, FGS, and societies; a family history and forensic Genealogist, and taught genealogy at a Community College.


Oral History: Fact and Fiction

Learning how to interview someone can be a bonus to finding documents that are part of a family history.  The interviews are important but they always contain facts and fiction.  The presentation will discuss the steps for success.  The syllabus material will include ideas for a successful interview and a brief list of texts and online resources.

Patricia B. Coleman

Patricia Coleman is a genealogist with a scientific background in chemistry, who enjoys using DNA software tools to analyze complex problems.  Her particular research interest is her Irish ancestors.  She writes a blog and is a moderator for Facebook user groups for DNA Painter and Genetic Affairs.


Using DNA to Locate Thomas Byrnes in Roscommon

Thomas Byrnes, age 20, arrived in New York from County Roscommon, Ireland in 1859.  No record indicates what civil parish or townland was Thomas' home.  No baptismal record exists for Thomas.  Griffiths Valuation for Thomas' father and DNA matches to two of his great-granddaughters will be used to determine where Thomas lived in County Roscommon.

Maurice Gleeson

Maurice Gleeson is a psychiatrist and pharmaceutical physician as well as a genetic genealogist.  He is administrator of several Surname DNA Projects, including the Gleason, Spearin, Farrell, Boylan, and O'Malley Projects.  : He also works with adoptees and with people of unknown parentage, and has appeared on Irish TV as a consultant for the TV series Adoption Stories. He authors several blogs and is a regular contributor to genealogical magazines.  His YouTube videos on genetic genealogy are very popular.   He has organized the DNA lectures "Genetic Genealogy Ireland" in Dublin and "Who Do You Think You Are" in the UK since 2012, as well as given talks all over Ireland, the UK, and internationally.   He was voted "Genetic Genealogist of the Year 2015" (SurnameDNA Journal) and "Superstar Genealogist, Ireland" in 2016 (Canada's Anglo-Celtic Connections).


Finding Grace - the Search for the DNA Signature of Grace O'Malley, Ireland's Pirate Queen

Grace O'Malley (1530-1603) is an Irish heroine.  She was a renowned military strategist and kept the English on their toes throughout the later half of the 1500s on the west coast of Ireland.  Several people living today have an extensive lineage that goes back to her grandfathers.  Using these pedigrees we have traced modern descendants and tested them with the Big Y test.  These results and those of other descendants will hopefully allow us to identify the Y-DNA signature of Grace's grandfather.  This talk describes the strategy and any interim results.

Five Strategies for Getting Your Irish Ancestral Lines Back into the 1700s

This intermediate talk explores the feasibility and practical aspects of the following:
1. Characterise your Irish Brick Wall
2. Analyse cluster
3. assessing triangulated segments
4. using Y-DNA to connect direct male lines
5. ancestor reconstruction

Organizing Your DNA Matches

Many people are overwhelmed when they first get their results and don't know where to start.  This talk explains a simple approach to organising your matches so you can keep them (and your sanity) under control.

Using DNA to Focus Your Research on a Specific Irish Ancestor

This talk discusses a focused approach to breaking thru a specific Brick Wall and what tricks and tips you can use to make DNA work for you.  We will explore triangulation using a) people, and b) segments, clusters, and other techniques, as well as some practical examples.

Annette Burke Lyttle

Annette Burke Lyttle speaks at the national, state, and local levels and loves helping people uncover and share family stories.  She has taught at GRIP, SLIG, and other institutes.  Her articles have appeared in NGS Magazine and The APG Quarterly, among others.  Annette is editor of The Florida Genealogist.


Ancestors Who Called Canada and the U.S.A. Home

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 ancestors, lived cross-border lives, without visas, work permits, passports, or immigration records.  Learn how to find these elusive ancestors.

Researching Welsh Quakers in Colonial Pennsylvania

Welsh Quakers were among the earliest settlers in Pennsylvania, first arriving in 1682.  They hoped to be allowed their own county that would be self-governing and Welsh-speaking, but in spite of the failure of that plan, they had a large impact on early Pennsylvania.  Learn about their history and how to find, use, and understand the records they left behind.

Researching Your Irish Quaker Ancestors

The first Quaker meeting in Ireland was held in Lurgan in 1654; by 1750 there were 150 Irish Quaker meetings.  Irish Quakers records of vital events, letters of introduction to a new meeting when a family migrated, and notes of the injustices they suffered for their faith began in 1655.  Learn about their history and the records they left behind.

Shellee A. Morehead

Shellee Morehead, PhD, CG, is an assistant professor in the Biological Sciences at NEIT.  She is a professional genealogist specializing in research and lecturing on Rhode Island, Italian, and French-Canadian research and genetic genealogy.  She is a member of the APG and BCG.


William Hamilton's Alien Origins: An Autosomal DNA Case Study

No, William Hamilton doesn't really have alien DNA, but he seems to have been dropped by aliens into Ohio in 1848.  Using autosomal DNA analyses, I propose an origin in Ireland for this immigrant ancestor and describe some methods for identifying Irish immigrant origins.  We will also discuss Irish DNA generally, including endogamy and the generational limitations of DNA.

Chris Paton

Northern Irish born Chris Paton lives in Scotland, where he works as a professional genealogist.  A holder of a Postgraduate Diploma in Genealogical Studies from the University of Strathclyde, Chris is an author, tutor, and lecturer specializing in Irish and Scottish research, and blogs daily at Scottish GENES.


Genealogy Without Borders

An ancestral story can be compiled from many different sources, each of which can fundamentally change the very sense of family that we have.  In this talk, genealogist Chris Paton examines how a person's whole identity may not be exclusively confined to the country within which he or she was raised, and why the pursuit of the extended family around the world, their stories and their resources, can be particularly fruitful for family history research.

Scottish Marriage-Instantly Buckled for Life

"Suppose that young Jock and Jenny, say we two are husband and wife, the witnesses needn't be many, they're instantly buckled for life".  Beyond church and civil marriages, historically there were many other 'irregular' ways that you could be legally married in Scotland that were not found elsewhere in the UK.  For all of them, a celebrant was not required.  If you cannot find a marriage in the records, this may help explain why.

Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis

Often in family history research our ancestors' lives were best documented when the chips were truly down.  We may have had ancestors in poverty or in debt, with mental health issues or illnesses, who were the victims of crime, or who were criminals themselves, those who were engaged in insurgency, or who were punished by the state or the Kirk.  No matter the crisis, a quill and ink were always in close proximity.  In this talk Chris Paton explores some of the areas of ancestral hardship in Scotland and the records available.

Paula Stuart-Warren

A genealogical educator, researcher, and consultant focusing on unusual resources, manuscripts, methodology, analyzing records, Native American research, the WPA, and railroad records.  Her Celtic paper trail connections involve Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, and DNA agrees!  She has researched in-person at the local, state, and national levels across the U.S.


Celtic Worker Immigration: U.S. Records and History

Someone in the family involved in the U.S. railroad, river, canal, or mining industries?  Many Celtic ancestors were heavily recruited by U.S. companies to immigrate for these jobs.  If your worker survived the tough early work and continued their employment, there may be a goldmine of information in company and other records for them and their families.

Fiona Brooker

As an addicted family historian for over 35 years, Fiona is now breaking through brick walls with DNA and making new connections.  Through Memories in Time, she loves to teach and help people kickstart their research, understand their DNA results and most importantly share their research with family.


Scattered Leaves

When our families scattered across the globe, they often left close family behind.  The family connections were lost over the subsequent generations.   Now, through family history research and DNA, we are reconnecting with the branches of our family tree as shown in these case studies.

Fiona Fitzsimons

Fiona Fitzsimons is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, a historical expert and entrepreneur.  Since 1996 she's developed our historical research department, setting high standards for all our research work.  From 2005 to the present, Fiona and her team have provided research and historical consultancy for television and film production, including WDYTYA, Faces of America, Finding our Roots, and Ancestors in the Famine.  Fiona has carved out a role as a writer and educator in Irish Public History, and has taught at the Innovation Academy, Trinity College Dublin; Ancestral Connections Summer School in N.U.I. Cork, the British Institute, and SLC.  Fiona hosts the popular Summer Talks series in the National Library of Ireland, and in 2014, she established the monthly Expert Workshop @NLIreland series.  Fiona writes a column, "Kindred Lines", in History Ireland and is a feature writer for the online magazine Irish Lives Remembered.   Fiona contributes regularly to specialist journals, and popular magazines and newspapers.


Evidence in Death for Irish Family History

In our lifetime, most of us leave a very light "paper trail".  Ironically, we probably leave the greatest amount of evidence in death.  In 19th and 20th Century Ireland, death was one of the busiest times of life, with its own ceremonies and rituals, involving the deceased person's family and community.  All these activities created a record or artefacts that may survive today.

Irish Church Records (RC and Church of Ireland)

Church records are 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.

Evidence in Folklore for Irish Family History

The Irish Folklore Commission Collection 1935-1970 is one of the largest collections of its kind, and has been recognized for its "world significance".  It's a treasure-house of traditional beliefs, customs and stories, passed down through the generations.  These traditions are the background of Irish history.  As a source, folklore requires a careful method to interpret.  However, used carefully, it can provide an insight into ordinary lives not usually documented in the history books.  In this talk, we explore the collection, showing how to use it in writing and researching your family history narrative.

Pamela Guye Holland

Pamela Guye Holland, a professional genealogist, specializes in Irish research and genetic genealogy.  She lectures, serves on various society boards, and works for NEHGS and Your Irish Heritage.


Exploring Irish Lives Through Immigration and Work

This case study follows a family's multi-generational movements from Ireland to Scotland and England in the mid-1800s, and then to America in the late-1800s.  Learn about the types of work that propelled family members to leave one country for another.  Discover the types of records used to trace the family over the generations.

Going Beyond Griffith's Valuation: Tracing Irish Families in Revision Land Books

Learn how these records may hold clues to death and immigration dates.  Discover who later occupied the land and track families forward to modern times.

Irish Chain Migration to North America

Our Irish ancestors did not immigrate on a whim.  They often followed in the footsteps 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.

Paul Milner

Paul Milner, a native of northern England, is a professional genealogist and international lecturer.  He teaches English and Scottish research tracks at SLIG, IGHR, and the British Institute.  He is the author of six publications providing how-to guidance for English and Scottish researchers.


Maps and Gazetteers for Scottish Research

Learn what maps and gazetteers are available for use in Irish research to clearly identify the correct place.  Identify what maps are available online, and where to seek alternatives.  Covers the seventeenth century to the present and explains how, when, and why place names became standardized.

Scottish Emigration to North America

Examines migration patterns from Scotland to the US and Canada, looking at the push and pull factors.  Understanding the process and history can potentially help in finding place of origin in Scotland.

Welsh Emigration to North America

Examine migration patterns from Wales to the US and Canada, looking at the push and pull factors.  An understanding of the group migration and historical processes can help in determining place of origin.

Stephanie O'Connell

Stephanie O'Connell, CG®, is married to a descendant of the Great Liberator, Daniel O'Connell.  That is what the family thought, anyway, until she discovered their true heritage in 2010.  Since then, she has focused on Irish research, with a special emphasis on history and the lived experience of our ancestors.


Reconstructing the Lives of Female Irish Ancestors

Researching our female Irish ancestors can be especially challenging.  Creative research methods and sources that provide context can be used to discover their stories.  Using social history adds context to our ancestor's life and it leads to additional records.  This presentation examines the lives of two Catholic, Dublin women through a narrative lineage through the mid to late 1800s.

David Rencher

David E. Rencher, AG®, CG®, FUGA, FIGRS, is employed as the Director, Family History Library and Chief Genealogical Officer for FamilySearch.  A professional genealogist since 1977, he is one of the rare few who have earned both credentials: Accredited Genealogist® with ICAPGen in Ireland research and Certified Genealogist® with the Board for Certification of Genealogists.  He is a past-president of the Federation of Genealogical Societies.


Chasing the Poor and the Landless

Defining the landless and alternate record sources is crucial for identifying the poorest of the poor.  The records of the Irish poor are voluminous but scattered throughout the country.  This session helps you understand where and how to approach this problem.

Introduction to Irish Land Records

This session outlines the Irish land law pre-12th century to the separation of the Irish Free State in 1921.  The timeline covers the plantation schemes, the relevant Irish land statutes, the Irish Land Commission, and the records of the Quit Rent Office.  It will also lay out the difference of the Land Registry versus the Registry of Deeds and the Landed Estates Court.

Irish Estate, Land & Property Records

Prior to parish registers, estate, land, and property records are the next best record to identify generational links and family information for landowners and tenants.  This session arms participants with the tools necessary to examine these invaluable records.

Registry of Deeds and the Land Registry Offices

The establishment of the Registry of Deeds of Ireland in 1708 changed the face of land research in Ireland.  Ireland benefits from the consistency of a central volunteer registry of land instruments from the 18th century and the post-1922 establishment of the Land Registry Offices in Dublin and Belfast.

Penny Walters

Dr. Penny Walters has been a university lecturer for 30 years.  Penny's interest in genealogy started after having her first child and then wondering about her biological parents, as she was adopted.  Penny lectures internationally in-person, writes articles, and is sought after for a wide range of webinar topics.   Penny has authored the books Ethical Dilemmas in Genealogy and The Psychology of Searching.  Visit her website.


Celtic Conundrums

"I'm just compiling our family tree, what can go wrong?"  This session will discuss what ethics and morality mean, and what these have to do with genealogy.  Ethical dilemmas in genealogy came to the forefront since law enforcement utilised information from GEDMatch to apprehend a suspected serial killer.  These issues include exposing secrets and lies, and unexpected DNA results.  Many people have to struggle through ethical dilemmas on their own, so attendees at this session will benefit from considering ethical issues with more empathy and sensitivity.

How Can I Find My Ancestors from Wales?

This session will look at why Welsh ancestors emigrated from Wales.  Steady heavy industrialisation of the beautiful rural countryside transformed into coal mining.   Emigration posters reveal the call to build a new and better life abroad.  The crucial role of DNA testing and surname distribution will be revealed, as will language, translation tools and scripts.  Censuses in Welsh will be analysed and compared to English language censuses.  Connectedness, diaspora, homelands will be explored.

Sara E. Campbell

Sara E. Campbell is an educator, blogger, author, and editor with family roots in northwest County Mayo.  She brings her engineering training to her genealogical pursuits, and specializes in Massachusetts and New York research.


Assisted Emigration from Western Ireland to New England

Studying history, or family history, is often enriched by locating obscure sources of information.  Sara Campbell will lead us through records surrounding the families who came from the northwest of Ireland in the 1880s under the sponsorship of James Tuke, an English Quaker.  This session will explore available records that trace emigrants from the West to Eastern Canada and New England, and beyond.  We will discuss the impacts of the 1879 famine, factors that brought families to participate in the scheme, and what happened to them after arriving on the East Coast.

Margaret R. Fortier

Margaret Rose Fortier is a Board-certified genealogical researcher, writer, and lecturer.  Named for her grandmothers, she has been researching for 20 years, and specializes in immigrant ancestors in New England.  A graduate of Boston College and Bentley University, she holds a Certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University.  Margaret serves on the board of the Association of Professional Genealogists.


"Take Care of the Immigrant Girls"

The Mission for the Protection of Irish Immigrant Girls came about to assist the many young Irishwomen emigrating to New York in the late 19C.  The Mission, staffed by Catholic priests, connected immigrants with families, offered guidance, and helped those who had no one to meet then.  The Mission records are a little-known source of information for female Irish immigrants.

Who Was William Kenney? An Identity Case Study

William used two surnames but which was he born with? Follow the trail to learn his true identity.

John Grenham

John Grenham was project manager with the Irish Genealogical Project from 1991 to 1995 and later went on to develop and market his own genealogical software, "Grenham's Irish Recordfinder".  In 2005, he was the first Genealogist-in-Residence at Dublin City Library.  He was awarded a fellowship of The Irish Genealogical Research Society in 2007 and of the Genealogical Society of Ireland in 2010.  He is the author of Tracing your Irish Ancestors (the standard reference guide for Irish genealogy), The Atlantic Coast of Ireland (2014), Clans and Families of Ireland (1995), and An Illustrated History of Ireland (1997).  He wrote the "Irish Roots" column in The Irish Times from 2009 to 2016, develops heritage databases, and ran the Irish Ancestors website in conjunction with The Irish Times until 2016.  He now runs the successor website.


100 Years Ago: Destruction of the Public Record Office in Dublin

The central event for anyone researching Irish history or genealogy is the destruction of the Irish Public Record Office a hundred years ago, on June 30 1922.  For the previous century-and-a-half, Ireland had been methodically measured, counted, and recorded unlike anywhere else in the then United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.   We had the first censuses, the earliest systematic maps, the first centralized police force, the first uniform property taxes.  This talk outlines what led up to June 30 and the sequence of events on the day itself, as well as the main records lost and current efforts to replace and substitute them.

The Irish Valuation Office

The Valuation Office has been in existence in Dublin for almost two centuries and still does what it was designed for: produce property valuations as a basis for local taxation.  Its best-known production was the Primary ("Griffith's") Valuation (1847-1864), but its manuscript archives contain much, much more.  This talk provides an overview of the types of records in the archives, which parts are online, and where they are offline.

What Happened To Me? Confessions of an Irish Genealogist

One of the most common questions asked of any professional in family history is "How did you become a genealogist?"  I usually respond that I was cursed in my cradle by an evil fairy.  This talk expands on that answer and in the process provides a painless overview of the main developments in Irish genealogy over the past 30 years.

Where the Bodies are Buried

John is a popular jumping-off point for Irish genealogical research.  It has been almost 30 years in the making.  This talk lays out its development, structure, and most recent developments, and in the process provides a guide to all the nooks and crannies and a repertoire of tips and tricks to get the best out of the site.  A 50% discount off a subscription to the site will be available to all conference attendees.

Donna Moughty

Donna Moughty has been conducting family research for over 25 years.  She teaches and lectures on the Internet, Irish research, methodology and computer topics locally and at national and regional conferences and institutes.  In addition, she provides consultations, research assistance and training.  Donna takes groups to Ireland each year to research and is the author of the Quick Reference Guides for Irish Research. Visit her blog here.


Irish Research: What's Next After the Basics?

After researching the basic Irish records, focus on the specific locality resources to better understand the life of your ancestor.

Map It Out! Using Maps to Locate Your Irish Ancestors

Learn how maps can help identify your ancestors as well as possible relatives.

Researching in Ireland: Your Guided Tour

Preparation is the key to any successful research trip.  This lecture will help you prepare for your trip to Ireland by providing information on major Irish repositories, as well as collections that can be used prior to your departure.

Strategies for Finding Your Irish Ancestors

Success in Irish research is dependent on discovering the exact location in Ireland of one's ancestors.  Learn strategies for finding the information in U.S. records.

Susan O'Connor

Susan O'Connor teaches and coaches genealogy and family research in addition to her client work.   She has over 25 years' experience developing and teaching computer training programs.  She is a certificate holder from BU's Genealogy Research Program and is a member of multiple genealogical associations.


Finding Ancestors Under the Southern Cross

From convicts to miners to refugees from famine and wars, Australia is a land of immigrants.  This session takes an in-depth look at Australian records and repositories for genealogical research both online and in Australia.

David Ryan

David Ryan (MA DIPGEN) is a professional genealogist and oral historian based just outside of Cork city, Ireland.  David is a graduate of University College Cork.  He holds an MA in Medieval History and a Diploma in Genealogy.


"For Their Country": Finding Your Irish Military Ancestors

The Irish have a long tradition of military service, both at home and as emigrants in their adopted countries. The goal of this talk is to examine Irish military service from the American Civil War (1861-1865) to the beginnings of the Irish Free State in the 1920s.

Tracing Your Cork Ancestors

Cork is the largest Irish county in Ireland and home to it's second largest city.  To this day many around the world can trace their ancestry back to this part of Ireland.  This talk will examine some of the sources available for researching Cork ancestry.

Uncovering Local Sources For Your Irish Research

Where do we go when we have seemingly exhausted the records contained on the big genealogy websites?  This lecture will examine the often overlooked treasures found in local Irish repositories.

Planning Your Irish Research Trip

With the world gradually reopening after lockdown, it may be the perfect time to plan that research trip to Ireland and walk in the footsteps of your Irish ancestors.   But before you start booking flights and accommodations, what are some practical steps you should be aware of?  Where should you begin your research?  Should you rent a car or rely on public transport?  This talk will also examine some of the main repositories for Irish research and how best to use them.

Christine Woodcock

Christine Woodcock is a genealogy educator who enjoys sharing knowledge and opportunities with others to assist them in their quest to find their Scottish ancestors.   Being a Scottish emigrant, she is fascinated by the stories of others who left their homeland for opportunities in other lands.


Emigration from Scotland

Scots have been leaving their homeland and coming to North America since the mid-1600s.

Researching Hudson Bay Company (HBC) Ancestors

In 1670, the Crown issued a Charter to the Hudson's Bay Company which gave it exclusive hunting, fishing, and trade rights over the vast area known as Rupert's Land.  This was a land mass that was one third the size of Canada, and included what is now Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota.

The Colonizers of Canada

Canada was once a vast wilderness which, after 1763, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris, belonged to the British Crown.