eBook of the Month Archive

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November, 2013 A Memoir on Ireland, Native and Saxon by Daniel O'Connell
October 2013 Registers of the Non-Conformist Churches by Thomas Philip Le Fanu
September, 2013 The Struggle of the Irish People by Dáil Éireann
August, 2013 - Our Friend Lilian Boole / Voynich by Evgeniya Taratuta translated by Séamus Ó'Coigligh
July, 2013 - Memorable Dublin Houses by Wilmot Harrison
June, 2013 - Fairbairn's Crests of the Leading Families of Great Britain and Ireland by James Fairbairn
May, 2013 - Report of the O'Connell Monument Committee by Very Rev. John Canon O'Hanlon, P.P.
April, 2013 - Pedigree of the Magennis (Guinness) Family of New Zealand, and of Dublin, Ireland by Richard Linn
March, 2013 - The McCarthys in Early American History - by Michael J. O'Brien
February, 2013 - Thom's Irish Who's Who - 1923
January, 2013 - The Genealogy of the Darcies by Darcy Burke, D.D.

December, 2012 - Life in the West of Ireland drawn and painted by Jack B. Yeats
November, 2012 - PRONI - Your Family Tree Series - 28 guides
October, 2012 - Biographical History of the American Irish in Chicago by Charles ffrench
September, 2012 - Traders' Tokens of the Seventeenth Century by George C. Williamson
August, 2012 - Rambles in Ireland by Robert Lynd, illustrations by Jack B. Yeats
July, 2012 - Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland, 1912
June, 2012 - Varieties and Synonymes of Surnames and Christian Names in Ireland by Robert E. Matheson
May, 2012 - Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook. Easter, 1916 by the 'Weekly Irish Times'
April, 2012 The Last Resting Places of Notable Irishmen by J. J. Bourke
March, 2012 - A History of the Descendants of David McKee of Anahilt by Prof. James Y McKee
February, 2012 - Irish Pedigrees by John O'Hart
January, 2012 - The Irish Catholic Directory and Almanac for 1920

December, 2011 - One Hundred Thirty-eight Generations From Adam by George Edward Congdon
November, 2011 - Chronicles of the County Wexford by George Griffiths
October, 2011 - Stephen Moylan, Muster-Master General by Martin I. J. Griffin

Just click a title to read the book on-line.

November, 2013

By Daniel O'Connell, M.P. (New York, 1843) - Open Library

Daniel O'Connell is known for the eloquence of his public speaking and for his achievement of Catholic Emancipation in 1829 for which feat he became known as 'The Liberator'. His methods were peaceful although a glance at this book will confirm that his writings were virulent and uncompromising. Here is an example from the Preface to the book:
   "...the Sovereign... should be intimately acquainted with the confiscations, the plunder, the robbery, the domestic treachery, the violation of all public faith, and of the sanctity of treaties, the wholesale slaughters, the planned murders, the concerted massacres, which have been inflicted upon the Irish people by the English Government."

Beginning in 1172, O'Connell catalogues England's crimes against Ireland and its people up to 1840 and calls for repeal of the Acts of Union or, alternatively, total reform of Parliament. He also calls for the abolition of tithes. He then produces Observations, Proofs and Illustrations.... for his allegations for the years 1172 - 1612. This presumably continues in Vol II but that has not been found online.

The book must have been very popular in its time as it went into several editions and was reprinted in New York - this is the edition linked here as it is complete with footnotes unlike some others.

This book is listed in Free Irish History eBooks - Read the French version: Mémoire Sur L'Irlande Indigene et Saxonne (Paris, 1845) - Open Library


October, 2013

Lucy Lane and Peter Street, Dublin
Ed. by Thomas Philip Le Fanu (Aberdeen, 1901) - Family History Books

In French but with an English introduction this book is of interest to those with Huguenot ancestors or connections. We are told that an Act was passed in 1692 'for encouraging Protestant strangers to settle and plant in Ireland'. They were to be allowed the liberty of meeting together publickly for the worship of God... in their own...rites. The introduction gives a short history of Huguenot congregations in Ireland.

The first volume of the Registers contain Baptisms from 1701 to 1731, Burials from 1702 to 1731, Marriages from 1702 to 1728 and Reconnaissances from 1716 to 1730; the second volume has burials from 1771 to 1831.

In 1771 some 'rogues' broke into the Vestry-room of the French Church in Peter Street and, not finding anything of value, burned the Register of Marriages, Christenings and Burials. The surviving registers, minute books and other documents were deposited in the Public Record Office of Ireland in 1895 and so were presumably destroyed in the fire and explosion in 1922. Consequently the transcriptions in this book are of even greater value to the researcher than would otherwise be the case.

Printed for the Huguenot Society of London, only 450 copies of this publication were made.

This book is listed in Church - Records
September, 2013

Address to the Congress of the United States
Adopted by Dáil Éireann 1921
Government Printing Office (Washington, 1921) - OL (31 pages)

Following the 1918 general election republicans (Sinn Féin) secured 72 seats of the 101 available with 6 more for the Irish Parliamentary Party and withdrew from Westminster to form the first Dáil. Their declaration of independence on 21st January 1919 was quickly followed by ambushes, skirmishes and retaliation and developed into what is called the Irish War of Independence or Anglo-Irish War.

Designed to raise awareness of Ireland's desperate state and to counter false news reporting the pamphlet begins with a letter to elected representatives of the people of the United States, signed by Éamon de Valera as President of Dáil Éireann and a long list of deputies. It describes the tyranny of British rule in Ireland over the centuries, the mandate from the people won at the recent election, the total lack of restraint by the British Government in their attempt to suppress the Republic.

The list of appendices gives a clear idea of the content:
   - Democratic Foundation of the Republic [following the 1918 election victory]
   - Depopulation of Ireland
   - Destruction of Wealth and Financial Robbery
   - Table showing the intensification of British Aggression in Ireland during four years (including a lengthy list of towns and villages 'ravaged by English troops')
   - List of 270 Irish citizens murdered by the English forces in Ireland during the period Jan 1 1920 to Feb 28 1921
   - Copy of Letter from President de Valera to each member of the coalition in the English House of Commons Feb 12 1921

This book is listed in History of Ireland
See also Irish War of Independence in: Wikipedia

August, 2013

By Evgeniya Taratuta (Moscow, 1957)
Translated by Séamus Ó'Coigligh (Cork, 2008) - Cork City Libraries

The famous book 'The Gadfly' was a romance set in revolutionary Italy. It sold millions of copies in Soviet Russia in 22 languages and is popular in the People's Republic of China. It has been dramatised for the stage, the opera and the ballet and several film versions have been made, one with music by Shostakovich.

The author was Ethel Lilian Voynich née Boole who was born in Cork in 1864, her father being the famous George Boole who was professor at Queen's College, Cork at that time and whose Boolean Algebra helps to power search engines on the internet. Her mother, Mary Everest was a noted feminist and also a mathematician. Mount Everest is named after her Uncle George.
Ethel, or 'Lily' as she was known to friends and family, was married to  Wilfrid Michael Voynich a Polish revolutionary and antiquarian who is remembered for the curiosity known as the 'Voynich Manuscript'.
She died in New York City in 1960 aged 96.

Watch a newsreel of her 95th birthday in her apartment in New York in 1959.

The eBook of the month for August, 2013 is 'Our Friend Ethel Lilian Boole/Voynich' by Evgeniya Taratuta, originally written as a special supplement to the Russian magazine 'Ogonyek' in 1957. This book is listed in Free Irish Biography eBooks


July, 2013 eBook of the Month

37 Illustrations
A Handy and Descriptive Guide
By Wilmot Harrison (Dublin, 1909) - Open Library

Get your tablet or eReader ready! Open this book and walk around one of the 4 walking routes given in this early 20th century guidebook to the landmark houses of Dublin city centre. A further chapter is given of suburban houses. Visit the places where famous Irish people were born or lived, Robert Emmet, United Irishman, (arrested at Mount Drummond Avenue), Henry Grattan, parliamentarian (Rathmines Road), Daniel O'Connell, 'The Liberator', (58, Merrion Square) or the genealogist and scholar John O'Donovan (36, Upper Buckingham Street), to mention just a few. Some of the buildings mentioned have been lost but many remain. People who were famous in 1909 may be less familiar today but the book gives a short biography of the 114 people listed explaining why they are listed. There is also a helpful index of streets.

The illustration of Mornington House, 24 Upper Merrion Street, Dublin - the birthplace of Arthur Wellesley, Duke of Wellington and a Google Street View showing very little change to the façade after more than 100 years (note the side additions which now seem to house a cafe or restaurant)


June, 2013 eBook of the Month
of Great Britain and Ireland
and their kindred in other lands
Compiled from the best authorities by James Fairbairn; Revised by Laurence Butters; Edited by Joseph MacLaren (Two Volumes in One, New York 1911) - Open Library

This is the 1911 American edition of what was previously known as Fairbairn's Book of Crests, first published in London in 1859 and revised several times. The introduction to the 1905 edition gives a flavour of its importance:

"The book had long ago established itself as a recognised work of reference, and as an indispensable adjunct to every library; and being suitable to the needs and purposes of jewellers and engravers it had also from its first publication been adopted and accepted as the standard work of reference for business and trade purposes. By far the larger proportion of armorial orders placed in the hands of tradesmen for execution are carried out with the assistance of 'Fairbairn'."

Heraldry is notable for its special language, its mottoes which are often in Latin or French but most of all heraldry is noted for its symbolism. Of the several entries for 'Bellew', for instance, we find this:

     Bellew, Sir Patrick, Bart., Iri, an arm, in
     armour, embowed, in hand a sword, ppr.
     Tout d'en haut. Pl.2, cr. 8

Briefly, we can tell it is an Irish crest from the abbreviation 'Iri'.  Next look up Plate 2 Crest 8 at the beginning of the book - we find it looks like this:

Then we check the list of mottoes at the end of the book and find it translates 'All from above'. Now we know what it looks like and what the motto means so we can begin to work out the symbolism.

Heraldry has a use in genealogy - in particular to link individuals or families who use the same or similar crests. In Ireland, if an Anglo-Norman family found that an English family of the same surname had a similar crest, it could be an indication of a common ancestor.

This book is listed in Free Irish Genealogy eBooks - Nobility and Landed Gentry - Heraldry
Heraldry in: Wikipedia


May, 2013 eBook of the Month

Click image to open the book
Report of the O'Connell Monument Committee
by Very Rev. John Canon O'Hanlon, P.P. (Dublin, 1888) - Open Library

'The Liberator' otherwise Daniel O'Connell (b. Carhan, Cahirsiveen, County Kerry, 1775 - d. Genoa, Italy, 1847) was a barrister and Member of Parliament who campaigned successfully for Catholic emancipation - the right of Roman Catholics to sit in the British House of Commons. He also campaigned unsuccessfully for the repeal of the Acts of Union (1800) which abolished the Kingdom of Ireland and amalgamated it with that of Great Britain to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Given his stature as a giant of political life in the 19th century, it is somewhat surprising that the first meeting to erect a monument in his honour in central Dublin did not take place until 1862 the unveiling of which in O'Connell Street, took place twenty years later in 1882 to enormous crowds. The commission was given to Irish born sculptor John Henry Foley who also designed the statue of Prince Albert for the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens, London.

Of great interest to genealogists, the book not only gives a history and documentation relating to the construction of the monument but also an official list of subscribers - a list of about 10,000 names given in chronological order - beginning with John Fetherstone of 5 Crampton Quay who gave one shilling on 27th September 1862 up to Rev. Sylvester Bourke, C.C. who gave £1 on 23rd July, 1880. The total fund was £12,806 15 shillings and 2 pence. Most of the names are Catholics from Ireland as one would expect. However, subscriptions also came from overseas, particularly from Australia - the Victoria Subscriptions (forwarded by the Hon. Charles Gavan Duffy) totalled £1,000 and Sydney being £400 in 1864; Subscriptions also came from Tasmania and South America - Buenos Ayres, Argentina, while Pat O'Brien of  Peru gave a shilling. 'An Honest Protestant' also gave a shilling while Justice Fitzgerald of Trinidad gave 5 guineas. With so many names the book falls into the category of 'Census substitute'.

The almost complete absence of subscriptions from the United States is explained thus: "A direful civil war was being waged between the Northern and Southern States; the whole country was convulsed by the struggle of contending forces; while the feelings and sympathies of the Irish people, at home and abroad, were deeply engaged on that issue, which so fortunately resulted in the restoration of peace and order, as also in the renewed strength and prosperity of the Great Republic."

This book is listed in Free Irish Genealogy eBooks - Irish Genealogy Resources - Census (including Census Substitutes)
See also:
Daniel O'Connell in: Free Irish Genealogy eBooks - Biography - Find A Grave - Irish Graves - Wikipedia
Catholic Emancipation in: Free Irish History eBooks - History of Ireland  - Wikipedia
John Henry Foley in: Free Irish Genealogy eBooks - Biography - Irish Graves (St. Paul's Cathedral, London) - Wikipedia
Charles Gavan Duffy in: Irish Graves - Wikipedia

April, 2013 eBook of the Month

Click the image to open the book

Pedigree of the Magennis (Guinness) Family
of New Zealand, and of Dublin, Ireland
By Richard Linn (Christchurch, New Zealand, 1897) - Family History Books

Often thought of as an Anglo-Irish family, the Guinnesses actually descend in the male line from Magennisses of the territory of Iveagh in County Down named for the son of ancestor Number 1. in the table i.e. Eathach Cobha who lived there in the 3rd century. Forty generations later we get Arthur Guinness, the founder of the brewing empire. Drawing on 'Burke's Peerage', O'Hart's 'Irish Pedigrees' and papers of the family in New Zealand we are given much historical background as well as family history and miscellanea.

In this short book (60 pages) we learn about Francis Hart Vicesimus Guinness, b. 1819, grandson of Arthur Guinness, went first to India and later became the first of the family to reside in the Colony of New Zealand - he became a Resident Magistrate. His son Arthur Robert Guinness, b. Banipoor, India, 1846, was a member of the House of Representatives, N.Z.

Table showing the change of name from Magennis to Guinness (39 - 40); Arthur Guinness (41), founder of the brewing empire; the New Zealand branch of the family (43 - 44) descended from his eldest son Hosea Guinness; and the ennoblement of two members of the Irish family (43 - 44) descended from a younger son, Arthur Guinness, D.L..

See also Guinness family in: Wikipedia
Arthur Guinness in: Find A Grave - Irish Graves - Wikipedia
Arthur Guinness II (1768 - 1855) - 14 members of the family in: Mount Jerome Cemetery
Did your ancestor work at the Guinness brewery? Search the Guinness Archives 


March, 2013 eBook of the Month

  The McCarthys in Early American History
By Michael J. O'Brien (New York, 1921) - OL

This book was written to correct a common misunderstanding i.e. that all the early Irish settlers in America were Scotch-Irish. Charles and Owen McCartie who were probably brothers sailed from London as early as 1635 to Newport News, Virginia on the Plaine JoaneThe author also laments, in a somewhat angry Introduction, the lack of books of American history from an Irish-American point of view and also the lack of biographies of notable Irish-Americans.

The tangled web of early MacCarthy/McCarthy genealogy is explained as follows:

The pedigree of the family as traced by the Irish antiquarians shows that they were a numerous Sept, and for several centuries they were divided into three great stems, each subdivided into several minor, and dependent, but still powerful branches. The main line was that of MacCarthy Mór, the second MacCarthy Reagh, and the third MacCarthy of Muskerry. For several generations the descendants in the main line were known chiefly as Kings of Desmond, The MacCarthy Reaghs as Princes of Carbery and the third branch as Lords of Muskerry.

The McCarthys lost most if not all of their power, wealth and titles as Ireland became more and more dominated by English rule. Many of their leaders fled to the continent of Europe but some also went to America - the main subject of this book. The scope of the book is wide covering McCarty/McCarthy settlers in almost every eastern state of the United States.

This book is listed in Irish-American Family Histories I - M

February, 2013 eBook of the Month

 Thom's Irish Who's Who - 1923
Published by Alexander Thom and Co. Ltd. (Dublin, London, 1923) - OL

'We respectfully present this Volume as a chapter in the contemporary history of the Irish Nation. Most books of reference become obsolete by flux of time. This volume will become enhanced in value as the years pass. Ireland is emerging from the throes of revolution, the ultimate effects of which none can appreciate or forecast. When the historian of the future undertakes to chronicle the stirring events of which the passing generation is witness, we venture to suggest that the name and history of the outstanding personalities of 1922 will be of priceless value.'

This extract from the Preface to the First Edition of 'Thom's Irish Who's Who' for 1923 correctly predicts its value to future historians and also, I might add, to genealogists. We find sketches  of 2,500 people who were active at this time of upheaval and change. Although partition was now a fact - the creation of the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland - the book covers both jurisdictions. A large number of military men are listed - but that is not so surprising when one considers that the 'Great War' had only finished a few years earlier. To some extent this book is still in the tradition of a directory of nobility and gentry but members of the Free State government are now included.

This book is listed in: Almanacs and Directories - Ireland. Thom's Irish Almanac and Official Directory for 1850 and 1857 can also be found there and a link to a transcription of the 1862 edition.
Alexander Thom (almanac editor) in: Wikipedia

January, 2013 eBook of the Month

  The Genealogy of the Darcies of Clonuane, in the county Clare, and Kiltolla, in the county of Galway
By Darcy Burke, D.D. (Dublin, 1796) - FHB

Published in 1796 but written in 1752, this is an early example of a family history of Anglo-Norman landed gentry in Ireland written in English. Despite the quaint plural 'Darcies' in the title of the book, this is the family history of Darcy or D'Arcy, a summary of which is helpfully given in the title page (above).

Just 50 pages long, a good deal of the narrative describes the Norman origins and the English branch of the family - with a side trip to the Maid of Orleans - Joanna D'Arcy whom we know as Joan of Arc - make of that what you will. Eventually on page 19 we get to 'The Darcies of Ireland descending from Sir John Darcy and his second wife' Joanna de Burgo of Maynooth, countess dowager of Kildare who married in 1329. Here the author takes another side trip, or 'digression' as he calls it, into the extraordinary de Burgo ancestry with sections 'How the kings of England and Prussia descend from William de Burgo, earl of Ulster, and lord of Connaught''How the Emperor of the Romans descends from William de Burgo...' and 'How the kings of France, Spain, and Sardinia, descend from William de Burgo...'. Finally, on page 26 we get to the descent from Sir John Darcy and Joanna de Burgo, their son being William Darcy, b. Maynooth, Co. Kildare, 1330 who mar. Catherine Fitzgerald, dau. of Sir Robert Fitzgerald of Allen, Co. Kildare. Thus begins the history of the Darcy families in Ireland down to 1752 by which time many of the family members were marrying into merchant or professional families as well as landed gentry.

Related families include: Lynch, French, Donellan, Blake, Kirwan, Browne, Coghlan, Burke, Daly, Shea, Martin, O'Brien, Dillon, etc.

This book is listed in Irish Family Histories A - H
John Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy de Knayth in: Wikipedia
Darcy (disambiguation) in: Wikipedia
D'arcy in: Wikipedia

In the fictional work 'Pride and Prejudice' by Jane Austen the principal male character is a Mr. Darcy who had a 'peculiar' engagement to Anne, daughter of his aunt - Lady Catherine de Bourgh. See also 'Lefroy' in 'Legal' for another link to the novel.

December 2012 eBook of the Month

 Life in the West of Ireland
Drawn and Painted by Jack B. Yeats (Dublin, London, 1912) - OL

Writing in the 'Irish Times' recently, Fintan O'Toole described Jack B. Yeats as 'Ireland's greatest painter'. I'm not in a position to judge the accuracy of that, but I do know that he remains very popular with collectors and the public. O'Toole also reveals that Yeats had a secret career as a cartoonist with 'Punch' - the humorous and satirical London magazine - under the pseudonym of 'W Bird'.

Published 100 years ago this year, 'Life in the West of Ireland' has no text (apart from captions) but instead consists of a collection of 8 colour prints, 32 line drawings and 16 reproductions of paintings (monochrome). The topics are scenes which the artist must have considered to be typical of what any visitor might have seen on a trip to the west - race meetings, fairs and circuses, a 'tinker', even 'a man with a broken head'. However, three capped but barefoot boys playing with a Japanese toy in Mayo comes as a surprise - not because they are barefoot or capped, but because one is left wondering how such an import could have arrived in Mayo in 1912? The 'metal man' in Tramore, Co. Waterford is a well known warning to shipping but where is or was the giant metal man of the west of Ireland?

Fans of Yeats and those looking for a flavour of life in the west of Ireland before WWI will, I am sure, enjoy this collection.

This book is listed in: Guidebooks - Travel
For more Jack B. Yeats, see also the August 2012 eBook of the Month 'Rambles in Ireland'

November 2012 eBook of the Month

 Your Family Tree Series
By Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) (Belfast, 2007 - 2011) - official website

   - 4 - Valuation Records
   - 5 - Census Records - Nineteenth Century
   - 6 - Census Substitutes 18th and 19th Century
   - 7 - Wills and Testamentary Records
   - 8 - Landed Estate Records
   - 9 - Street Directories
   - 10 - Voters' Poll and Freeholders' Records
   - 11 - Emigration Records
   - 12 - Militia, Yeomanry Lists and Muster Rolls
   - 13 - Poor Law Records
   - 14 - Seventeenth Century Census Substitutes
   - 15 - Pedigrees and Genealogical Papers
   - 16 - Encumbered Estates
   - 17 - Registry of Deeds, Dublin
   - 18 - Business Records
   - 19 - Grand Jury Records
   - 20 - How to Use Griffith's Valuation
   - 21 - A Guide to Gravestone Inscriptions
   - 22 - Understanding the Stones
   - 23 - Tithe Records 
   - 24 - A Simple Guide to Ireland
   - 25 - General Register Office of Northern Ireland
   - 26 - Tracing Your Family Tree At PRONI - Useful Sources
   - 27 - Cemetery Records
   - 28 - Chart for Tracing your family tree at PRONI

This series of guides is listed in: Guidebooks - Genealogy
For more PRONI publications see Other Resources - Libraries


October 2012 eBook of the Month      

 Biographical History of the American Irish in Chicago
with Steel and other Illustrations
Edited by Charles ffrench (Chicago, 1897) - OL

'To living Irishmen [this collection of biographies] may not seem of as much importance as it will to their children and grandchildren, who will, because of it, be better enabled to appreciate what the men of to-day are doing and have done.'

This book is a collection of biographies of just over 300 American Irish living in Chicago at the end of the nineteenth century.   All are notable for their achievements.   Many have reached high position from very lowly beginnings in Ireland or as first generation Americans.   For them America was surely the 'Land of Opportunity'.

Francis O'Neill was born near Bantry, Co. Cork, in 1849 son of John O'Neill and Catherine O'Mahoney.   Leaving school at 16 he travelled the world and had many adventures before ending up joining the police force in Chicago at Harrison Street Station. 'He belongs to no secret societies... his student mind and delight in reading have found an outcome in a well-stored library, in which are quite five hundred volumes devoted to Ireland and Irish subjects, many of them being extremely rare and valuable editions.'   He married Miss Anna Rogers who was 'descended from the O'Briens of Thomond', 4 daughters, 1 son.   O'Neill was later to become Chief of Police in Chicago and after his retirement he was a noted Irish music publisher, recording performances of Irish music on wax cylinders which are still available today in digital format.

This book is listed in: Irish Diaspora - North America - United States - Illinois

September 2012 eBook of the Month      

 Traders' Tokens of the Seventeenth Century
Extract from 'Trade Tokens issued in the Seventeenth Century in England, Wales and Ireland - Vol II'
by George C. Williamson, F.R.S.L. (London, 1891) - OL

Were any of your Irish ancestors merchants?   If so, they may have issued their own money in the form of trade tokens!   As can be seen from the sample pages above, the issuing of tokens was not confined to the larger commercial centres of Dublin, Cork, Galway, etc. The lack of an adequate supply of coinage in circulation meant that many traders felt it worthwhile to issue their own tokens which had the added benefit of being a form of advertising. Some issuers used visual puns - a man with the surname Fisher might well have a picture of a fish for instance - even the many illiterate locals would know whose coin that was. It is also interesting to see old spellings for place names - Downpathricke for Downpatrick for instance.   Some places I have never heard of - Castlechichester, Co. Antrim? Until I looked through this book I never knew that Dame Street in Dublin (where I started work - many years ago) was originally Damask Street named presumably for the cloth which in turn takes its name from the capital of Syria, Damascus.

Irish genealogy has to be creative for reasons that have been well ventilated, so using trade directories is commonplace. Here we have a listing of 779 trade tokens from all over the country - in some cases with biographical notes on the issuer - see especially Cashel, Kilkenny, Limerick, Youghal.

For another list of Irish Tokens from George III to 1838 see here

This book is listed in: Commerce and Industry - Other Resources
Note: The reproduction of some pages is poor

Key: O = Obverse, R = Reverse, text sometimes runs over from O to R, 1d = a penny

August 2012 eBook of the Month

 Rambles in Ireland
by Robert Lynd with 25 photographs and
5 colour illustrations by Jack B. Yeats (Mills and Boon, London, 1912) - OL

Starting at the Galway races, the author travels down the west coast to Bantry, then to Cork city, Cashel and on to Dublin all the while filling in the narrative with travellers tales and slices of local history. Today's visitor would probably not have to travel up the Shannon in a steamer full of smelly, squalling pigs "I did not touch bacon for ---well, two days". Another steamer to Cong didn't leave at all as the captain was at the Galway races! Lynd is generally sympathic to Ireland and rejects outright the statement in the 1691 journal of Rev. Richard Allyn, chaplain of H.M.S. Centurion, that 'The Town of Kinsale is a large, stinking, filthy hole'. Lynn counters with - 'I deny upon oath that it is or ever was a vile place. Kinsale is one of those quaint and still southern towns which look almost as though they had been forgotten at the bottom of a motionless sea of air'.

At the time of writing, Dublin was a capital city with no parliament - 'Its leisurely crowds not yet slaves to the tailor, and its knots of talkative and good-humoured persons among whom the great policemen move, seems to me still to retain some of the old vitality that made Dublin famous for gaiety and wit. It will seem a sad city to those who like to see the streets crowded with lorries of merchandise and busy with the rush of men with narrow money-making faces. For Dublin is no city of quick fortunes and quick lunches'.  Wow! Independence has definitely changed Dublin!

The photographs and illustrations add greatly to this charming, informative and amusing travel book - you should definitely read it if you are planning a trip to Ireland for 'The Gathering' in 2013 and visiting the areas covered in the book.

The author, Robert Wilson Lynd, was a Belfast man with a Presbyterian background who moved in literary circles in London and was a Sinn Fein activist and fluent Irish speaker. 

The artist, Jack B. Yeats, won a silver medal at the 1924 Paris Olympics for his painting 'The Liffey Swim'. His popularity continues to this day - his painting 'The Wild Ones' sold for more than £1.2m in 1999 according to a BBC report.

The publishers Mills and Boon are better known today for a certain kind of romantic fiction but, as the catalogue at the end of the book reveals, they once published a wide range of books including the "Rambles Series" which included 'Rambles in Florence''Rambles in Norway' and 'Rambles in Ireland' - our eBook of the Month.

This book is listed in: Guidebooks - Travel
July 2012 eBook of the Month:

 A Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry of Ireland
By Sir Bernard Burke, C.B., LL.D., Ulster King of Arms
Revised by A. C. Fox-Davies, Barrister-at Law (London, 1912) - IA

This is another standard resource for genealogists - 785 pages packed with Irish pedigrees and official coat-of-arms. Its name implies that those included were large landowners but in fact Ireland was going through a period of land redistribution at the time, as the introduction states "...one is now confronted with the problem whether there still remains a Landed Gentry at all in that country, so great has been the compulsory alienation of land in Ireland during the last decade". In justifying the inclusion of those who had lost their large estates the editor continues "...the interest of the public, it seems to me, lies in the families themselves rather than in the extent of their ownership of land". Certainly the genealogist would agree with that statement.

With an estimated 80,000 names included in the pedigrees it is worth trying the 'Search inside' facility for surnames of interest to a researcher as some members of these families married outside of the landowning classes e.g. to clergymen, military, civil servants, merchants, etc.

Burke's Landed Gentry of Ireland became a separate book in 1899, Irish entries having been previously included in the Landed Gentry of Great Britain and Ireland and prior to that in Burke's Commoners being a directory of those 'enjoying territorial possessions or high official rank, but uninvested with heritable honours'. Irish families who did have titles continued to appear in Burke's Peerage.

This book is listed in: Nobility and Landed Gentry - Directories where many other 'Burke' titles can be found.


June 2012 eBook of the Month:

 Varieties and Synonymes of Surnames and Christian Names in Ireland
By Robert E. Matheson Registrar-General (Dublin, 1901) - OL

Ever had difficulty finding a name on a list of births, marriages or deaths even though you know they should be there?  Registration Officers had the same problem 100 or more years ago - the purpose of this official handbook was to assist 'Registration Officers and the Public searching the Indexes of Births, Deaths, and Marriages by collating the varieties in the form and spelling of names... and also those names differing altogether in form... used interchangeably'. The method used to collect the data was a circular sent to Registrars around the country in their Districts asking for information.

The main Table is an 'Alphabetical List of Surnames with their Varieties and Synonymes' listing variants for more than 2,000 names, the name 'Tumelty' has 6 variants for instance. Many variations were of spelling - Beattie or Beatty. In Ireland Colclough was pronounced and sometime spelt Coakley. Some names were used interchangeably - one member of a family might write 'FitzHenry' while another would use 'Fitzharris'. A person calling themselves Bird might originally have been known as Heany (Irish 'ean' = a bird). It is not always as simple as dropping the Mc of McGuinness to make Guinness - the prefix could be incorporated to make Maginnis instead.

This little book is a most valuable tool for family history research.

This book is listed in: Other Resources - Surnames
[Note: for some unknown reason a second book 'Authorship and Publication' is attached]

May 2012 eBook of the Month:

 Sinn Fein Rebellion Handbook
Compiled by the "Weekly Irish Times" (Dublin, 1917) - OL

Originally called the 'Sinn Fein' Rebellion, the 1916 Rising was a military failure but a key turning point in Irish history nevertheless. It was the end of the 'Home Rule' movement of John Redmond's Irish Party and the beginning of the war of independence leading to the Treaty, the creation of the Irish Free State and Northern Ireland and the civil war.

The Darkest Week in the History of Dublin - An Orgie of Fire and Slaughter - runs the headline of this handbook produced by the pro-Union weekly edition of The Irish Times. It then proceeds to give an account of the fighting on a street by street basis, listing the houses destroyed, official reports and statements, the proclamations of the rebels and photographs of those executed for their part in the rebellion. There are official lists of casualties for the army, the police, volunteer training corps; lists of the 250 bodies interred at Glasnevin cemetery, 24 in Mount Jerome, 49 in Dean's Grange and a list of rebels killed while fighting. This is followed by the fate of the rebels - those executed and those deported to England and Scotland and imprisoned there.   The total number of prisoners who passed through Richmond Barracks was 3,226. The handbook lists the honours and awards for services by members of the army and police and the King's message of thanks to them. The trial, degradation (name erased from the Order of St. Michael and St. George) and the execution of Sir Roger Casement.

After the rising there was a Royal Commission of Inquiry which is covered in depth - some of its conclusions are startling - The Lord Lieutenant for Ireland is a ceremonial position with the Chief Secretary having the power of the British government in Ireland - but as he is in the cabinet he has to attend cabinet meetings in London and spends very little time in Ireland!  The Report concludes: "if the Irish system of government be regarded as a whole it is anomalous in quiet times, and almost unworkable in times of crisis" (!)   The Lord Lieutenant, the Chief Secretary and the Under Secretary all resigned. 

The handbook lists Red Cross and hospital workers involved in the care of the wounded, those compensated for loss, a Who's Who in this Handbook and a general index. There is a discussion on proposals for partition showing a map which foretold the eventual arrangement.

"The Weekly Irish Times gives outlines of Irish and general news - It is the paper for your friends residing anywhere out of Ireland".   People who bought the Weekly edition posted it to their friends and relatives overseas so that they could keep up with the news from Ireland.  This might explain how this handbook became a collectors' item.   A facsimile edition of this extraordinary journalistic achievement was produced by The Irish Times in 1988.

This book is listed in: Free Irish History eBooks - History of Ireland - The Rise of Sinn Fein and the 1916 Rebellion

April 2012 eBook of the Month:

(With Biographical Notes and other Interesting Particulars)
By J. J. Bourke, M.R.S.A.I., etc. (London, aft. 1939)

With just 32 pages this is more a booklet than a book but it still contains some surprising and interesting entries -
James Barry, artist, d. 1806, bur. St. Paul's Cathedral, London
Robert Boyle, scientist, d. 1627, bur. St. Martin's in the Fields, London
Isaac Butt, father of 'Home Rule', d. 1879, bur. Stranorlar, Co. Donegal
Michael Davitt, founder of the 'Land League, d. 1906, bur. Straide, Co. Mayo
Michael Dwyer, 1798 insurgent, later High Constable in Sydney, Australia, bur. Waverley Cemetery, Sydney
John Field, musician, 'inventor' of the nocturne, d. 1837, bur. Public Cemetery, Moscow, Russia
Henry Grattan, statesman, orator, d, 1820, bur. Westminster Abbey, London
Thomas Clarke Luby, Fenian, d. 1901, bur. Bay View Cemetery, Jersey City, U.S.A.
John Mitchell, of the 'Young Ireland' movement, d. 1875, bur. Unitarian Cemetery, Newry
John O'Donovan, scholar, translator of 'Annals of the Four Masters', d. 1861, bur. Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin
John O'Hart, compiler of 'Irish Pedigrees', d. 1870, bur. Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin
Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin, satirist, etc., d. 1745, bur. St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin

Some of the 'notable' people listed are probably unknown to the present day reader. Other entries are a little bewildering - Sir Charles Barry, architect of the Houses of Parliament, London - does not have any Irish connections as far as I can see. Oscar Wilde's is probably one of the most visited of Irish graves (Pere Lachaise, Paris) but doesn't get a mention.   As to William Butler Yeats, poet, playwright, d. 1939, his burial place is given as  Ro(e)quebrune Cemetery, France which someone has crossed out - apparently Yeats' body was moved, first to an ossuary at Roquebrune, later in 1948 to Drumcliffe, Co. Sligo giving rise to some uncertainty about the identity of the remains (Wikipedia).

The booklet is delightful in its own way but leaves you wanting more.   Here is another opportunity for someone to update the booklet, add photographs and the text of the memorials and greatly increase it in size and scope... maybe even add some 'notable Irishwomen'!

This book is listed in: Other Resources - Graves


March 2012 eBook of the Month:

With a General Sketch of the Early McKees
By Prof. James Y. McKee (Philadelphia, 1892) - OL

We are fortunate that so many Irish-Americans have taken the trouble to write up their family histories and have them published. However, a great number of these give sparse detail of their Irish ancestors. This may be due to the lack of information passed down through the generations. Often all that is said is that the earliest settler in the United States was 'from Ireland', was 'Scotch-Irish' or from an 'ancient Irish family'. Sometimes a County of origin, or port of departure is mentioned but little else.

Our eBook of the Month for March is different in that there is a wealth of detail of the McKee family before departure for America and even some information on those who remained behind.

We get some idea of the author's intention from the Dedication: To the Descendants of David McKee and Rebecca Irvine, Scattered in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and America, This Pamphlet is Sent Forth With a View to THEIR BETTER ACQUAINTANCE.

Four McKee brothers left Scotland for 'bonnie England' and came to Ireland with William of Orange in 1690. One returned with the army, Hugh (?) settled in Lisban (Lisbane), near Saintfield, County Down. The other two settled in Ards and Antrim. This Hugh (?) had 4 sons: James of Tullywest, Hugh of Craigy, David of Anahilt (the main subject of the book), and John. There is minute detail of townlands, farms and characters such as "Big Davie (McKee) of the Temple" (a village near Saintfield) who "dealt in cattle, going up the country and buying a drove which he would take to Scotland and sell... no one was willing to meet him in a pugilistic encounter". John, a brother of "Big Davie" was the proprietor of the "Price's Arms" in Saintfield and Master of the Masonic Lodge there, but returned to farming late in life "and cut himself off entirely from all undesirable associates and habits belonging to his hotel life, scarcely ever going down to the village though only about a mile distant". John's son James, an active worker in the building of the Second Saintfield (Presbyterian) Church (1797), engaged in the Rebellion of 1798 and left for America in 1812 settling in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. Many of the descendants of David McKee and Rebecca Irvine settled in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Thankfully the author has included a small pedigree chart to sort out the various branches, a map of County Down and an index of surnames at the end of the book.


February 2012 eBook of the Month:

   or The Origin and Stem of the Irish Nation
   By John O'Hart (Limited American Edition, New York, 1915)

O'Hart's Irish Pedigrees is a standard work of reference for anyone engaged in Irish genealogy - no library should be without a copy. It was first published in Dublin in 1878 at a time I always thought of as the Celtic Twilight but which Wikipedia tells us was the Irish Literary Revival. This was a time when there was a flowering of work by playwrights, poets and scholars keen to reveal Ireland's Celtic past to an audience who were giving up the Irish language and had forgotten or never knew of Ireland's rich heritage. The work must therefore be seen in that context.

Today a genealogical work which starts with the Creation and giving a pedigree from Adam and Eve would generally not inspire great confidence. O'Hart, quoting many ancient texts does exactly that - stating that the Celtic race descends from Milesius of Spain, his 3 sons and his uncle. The format for the first volume therefore is divided into 4 sections: Families descended from Heber, Ithe, Ir and Heremon staring with the families of Brady, Brenan, Carroll, Casey, Clancy, Coghlan, etc. and ending with Scanlan, Sheane, Spillane, Sweeny, Tatly, Tierney and Tully. At the end of Vol I O'Hart has included colour images of Coats of Arms.

The second Vol. gives families who were of Danish, Anglo-Norman, English, Welsh, Scottish, Huguenot and Palatine extraction. A General Index of both vols. is to be found at the end of Vol II together with a most valuable Index of Sirnames (surnames). Also given is a section Opinions of the Press quoting extracts of reviews of the book in 78 newspapers and periodicals! One of which,The Philadelphia Inquirer, said:

... We have in our midst so many descendants of the old families of Ireland, that this volume will be deeply interesting and valuable to those who take pleasure in genealogical researches. Mr. O'Hart has shown industry, perseverance and zeal in preserving from loss the records of so many years for the use of our New World.

This book is listed in: Irish Pedigrees. Earlier Dublin editions are also available there.


January 2012 eBook of the Month:

with Complete Directory in English
Permissu Superiorum (Dublin, 1920) - OL

Many people around the world will be starting a new diary or calendar this month. In January, 1920 the clergy and many members of the public In Ireland would have got hold of the Irish Catholic Directory which contained many of the things one would expect - a calendar, eclipses, religious feast days etc. But this publication also contained lists of Catholic Peers, Members of Parliament, Nobility and Judges, lists of the Hierarchy, Clergy, Brothers as well as Clerical Obituaries. In all, several thousand names of individuals are mentioned - even Brothers working abroad are listed - however only the Superioresses of convents are given. Of great interest to genealogists is a special section on the Census of Ireland, 1911 with tables on various topics such as Education, Irish Language and Literacy. I have included some of the tables on Emigration in the sections on the Diaspora and Irish American and Irish Canadian Family Histories. The Almanac also has an Index of Irish Dioceses and an Index of Parishes and Post Towns. There are numerous listings and advertisements for schools, colleges and religious houses of various types. The Magdalen Asylum in Lower Gloucester Street, Dublin, run by the sisters of Our Lady of Charity of Refuge contained 120 "penitents" while in Drumcondra their Reformatory for girls had 32 "inmates" and the Magdalen Asylum there had 218 "penitents".

This book is listed in: Free Irish History eBooks - Irish Church History - Roman Catholic.

December 2011 eBook of the Month:

Being a Pedigree traced from Adam to the Present Day
By George Edward Congdon (Hiawatha, Kansas, 1910) - OL

Genealogists are usually satisfied if they can trace a family tree back to Charlemagne but this author goes much further back - to Adam (and Eve) in fact! In an earlier book he had traced his pedigree back to Kenneth I of Scotland. He now uses a pedigree found in O'Hart's "Irish Pedigrees"  ...diligently compared with and enlarged from the histories of Ireland written by the Four Masters and by Keating, and also similar ancient histories of Scotland... and so was able to connect his family back to Adam and Eve - the mother of all living (Gen. 3:20).   The Pedigree starts therefore with 1. Adam. 2. Seth. 3. Enos. 4. Cainan. 5. Mahalaleel etc. (from Genesis).   From 13. Baath (from an ancient record) came Fenius Farsaidh the ancestor of 16, Gaedheal who was born in Egypt. 25. Eibhear Gluinfhionn, King of Getulia. 33. Bratha landed in Spain. 36 Galamh or Milidh landed in Ireland and so on to 90. Fergus Mor Mac Earca who crossed over to Scotland. 110. Matilda of Scotland married Henry I of England. 129 John Whitney emigrated to America in 1635 and so to the author.
Readers will also find Life and Times of James Ussher, Archbishop of Armagh. It was he who suggested in his Annals of the World (1658) that the first day of creation began at nightfall preceding Sunday, October 23rd, 4,004 BC (Julian calendar). Our eBook of the month however calculates the beginning at 5,200 BC quoting Keating, O'Donovan, O'Hart etc. Curiously Usshers' Genealogical Memoirs traces his earliest ancestor to Arland Ussher, Mayor of Dublin in 1470 AD but his line can be traced back further to John Le Uscher who was employed in Dublin Castle in 1302 according to Jemma Ussher in The Family Historian Dec 1988. An uncorroborated tradition states that Ussher descended from John Nevil who accompanied Prince John in 1185 to Ireland as the Usher of the Court and who adopted the name Usher or Ussher.
Before anyone takes my ebook of the month too seriously, I should draw their attention to its Preface: I have presented this simply as a matter of curiosity and would have no one suppose that I put any faith in it.

This book is listed in: Irish Pedigrees.

November 2011 eBook of the Month:

By George Griffiths (Enniscorthy, 1890) - OL

This delightful book has many of the things you would expect from a list of the Chronicles of County Wexford, such as Camden's account of the County Wexford in 1586, the Cromwellian Settlement of Wexford town and so on, but it also has some very quirky items - Seven Sisters at a Birth, an account of the septuplets of Ballybrennan and the story of Fr. Ned Redmond of Ferns parish who saved Napoleon Bonaparte from drowning! The Changes in One Hundred Years compares 1777 with 1877, for example, ...now there are thirteen Telegraph Stations in the county... and we can communicate with all parts of the world in a couple of hours. A calendar of each day of the year tells what happened in past centuries on that day, to take a day at random 24th of January: Nicholas White, Master of the Rolls, reports to the Government of England, that the County of Wexford was now peaceable, 1570.   The self deprecating writer George Griffiths ...does not in the least presume to be considered an Author...I now lay before the Public a Record of Events which I have collected from time to time during my leisure hours... Anyone with County Wexford roots would do well to search through this book for traces of their ancestors as there are as many references to tenant farmers and peasants as there are to nobility and gentry.
A new edition brought up-to-date (with a contents list and an index!) would be sure to be a best-seller if anyone would care to take on the challenge!

This book is listed in: Free Irish History eBooks - Irish Local History.


October 2011 eBook of the Month:

Muster-Master General
Secretary and Aide-de-Camp to Washington
Quartermaster General
Colonel of Fourth Pennsylvania Light Dragoons and
Brigadier-General of the War for American Independence
by Martin I. J. Griffin (Philadelphia, 1909) - OL

Stephen Moylan was born in 1737 at Cork, Ireland, one of eight children of John Moylan and the Countess of Limerick. John was a merchant extensively engaged in mercantile pursuits and died (probably in Dublin) in 1799. Stephen's brother, Francis Moylan, became Roman Catholic Bishop of Cork. Stephen emigrated to Philadelphia in 1768. He became the first President of the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick in 1771. Washington accepted Moylan into the American Army in 1775 making him Commissary-General of Musters. The book deals extensively with his military career and to some extent with his ancestors, siblings and descendants. He died 1811 in the 74th year of his age and was buried at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Philadelphia

I picked this book to be my first eBook of the Month following a posting I saw on the Irish Genealogy Group on Facebook. I don't know whether Stephen Moylan is well known in America but I had certainly never heard of him before and was amazed at his close relationship with George Washington.

This book is listed in: Free Irish History eBooks - Irish Military History - Leaders

AAI = Ask About Ireland

CCL = Clare County Library (read online only)
FHB = Family History Books
GB = Google Books
HT = HathiTrust Digital Library (read online only, login to visitor account may be required)
IA = Internet Archive
LCC = Limerick City Council - Local Studies
OL = Open Library
PG = Project Gutenberg
UCC = University College Cork Multitext Project in Irish History

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Go Back Further!
with Clarke's Kingdom of Ireland:

Now available at Amazon Kindle Bookstore!

Clarke's Kingdom of Ireland 
An Irish Genealogy Resource, 1542 - 1800

Vol. I - Surnames beginning with 'A'
Vol II Surnames beginning with 'B'
Vol. III Surnames beginning with 'C'
Vol. IV - Surnames beginning with 'D', 'E' & 'F'
Vol. V - Surnames beginning with 'G', 'H' & 'I'

In preparation: Vol. VI - Surnames beginning with 'J...'