National Genealogical Society 2017 Family History Conference

Last week I was fortunate to be able to attend the National Genealogical Society 2017 Family History Conference. It was held in Raleigh this year, so it was only 15 minutes from my house. Very convenient!

Most of the speakers were experts in their field, and some were the expert in their field.  I mostly concentrated on the DNA, Scots Irish, and the international connections sessions with a few other subjects thrown in.

Luckily for our library, we have a tireless local genealogical society and they were generous enough to buy us many books from the vendors in the exhibit hall.

I recommend anyone with a passion for genealogy to attend one of these conferences. It will add to your skill set and take your craft to higher level. Also, nice people, food, and coffee.

The indomitable Betty Bachelor.

Victorian calling cards for sale.

Exhibit hall

A packed session.

Irish Genealogy Presentation



Betty McCain and Carol Arthur prepare for an hour filled with the dulcet tones of my voice.

Last Tuesday I did my Irish Genealogy presentation in front of about 34 people, which is a lot to be smooshed into the local history room.  Some came in from Wake County, which was nice of them to drive that far. We also had a special guest: Betty McCain, the former Secretary of the Department of Cultural Resources 1993-2001.  It is always a joy to see her. Everyone appeared to be entertained by the presentation and there were some great questions at the end. One person even came back the next day and broke down some brick walls with the databases and resources I highlighted in the talk.  So I would call it successful!

Researching Genealogy in Ireland Part 1


The entrance to the NLI                     Author’s photo



The Reading Room                                  Image from the NLI

For the past two weeks I have been in Ireland seeing the sights, enjoying the craic and doing some research on my great grandmother’s family.  Genealogical research in Ireland can be difficult due to record loss during the Irish Civil war in 1922 when the Public Records Office exploded and burned after being bombarded.  Although many wills, census records and parish registers were destroyed, there were a large number of records that survived because they weren’t housed in the office but in the counties and parishes throughout the country.

If you happen to be in Ireland, a great place to start is the magnificent National Library of Ireland in Dublin, and that is where I went first. The NLI offers the free Genealogy Advisory Service, which is a great help to get yourself oriented and there is no appointment necessary.  I was looking for a specific book, Infanticide in the Irish Crown Files at Assizes, 1883-1900 by Elaine Farrell, and I already knew it was in their  collection and as soon as I filled out a request card they were able to retrieve the monograph for me to peruse at my leisure in their soaring, domed reading room (see picture).  The library allows photography so I was able to take pictures with my phone of what I needed.  I didn’t do anymore research at the NLI because  the Irish Catholic Parish records had been recently digitized and placed online, so I already knew where to look next in County Roscommon.


The author looking jet-lagged



Book Bonanza

books! books!!

Just put on the shelf some great new genealogical titles that were generously donated from the Wilson County Genealogical Society. In case you can’t read the pics, here’s their titles:

  1. Marriages of Some Virginia Residents, 1607-1800, Vols. A-Z
  2. Without Indentures: Index to White Slave Children in Colonial Records
  3. Jamestowne Ancestors, 1607-1699
  4. Surry County, VA Tithables, 1668-1703
  5. Surry County, VA Wills and Administrations
  6. Early Virginia Families Along the James River, vol. III
  7. Indexes to Irish Wills
  8. Spotsylvania, VA Records, 1722-1838
  9. Marriages and Death Notices from Camden, SC Newspapers, 1816-1865
  10. Deeds of Gates County, NC 1819-1828
  11. Deeds of Gates County, NC 1828-1833
  12. The Register of Albemarle County, Surry and Sussex Counties, VA, 1739-1778
  13. Virginia Tithables from Burned Record Counties
  14. Some Marriages in the Burned Record Counties of Virginia
  15. Virginia Revolutionary War State Pensions
  16. Emigration from Southside Virginia

Irish Genealogy


My mother, Katherine Robinson with her namesake, grandmother and Irish immigrant Katherine Quigley. She was in her 90’s in this picture.

If you are interested in Irish Genealogy then next month will be reason to celebrate, because Ancestry is adding the searchable Irish Catholic Parish Registers to its database.

This is going to blow down many brick walls for a lot of descendants of the great Irish diaspora, of which I count myself among.  Most of my ancestors were Protestant Ulster Scots who came to America in the mid 1700’s from Ireland and this is not going to help in my search for them….but my great-grandmother, Katherine Quigley, emigrated from County Roscommon, Ireland in 1893 to Philadelphia.  She was Catholic and would have been included in the Catholic parish records.

On a related note, I am traveling to Ireland at the end of May to stay with some friends in Dublin and then meet my extended family in Roscommon, where I can peruse the actual records if I wish.  But I will probably be too busy dowsing for gold hoards, scuba diving for bog mummies and inspecting tapestries.

Actually, I might look at some records, but mostly I will be concentrating on oral histories from my kinfolks that I am very excited to meet.

Reference: Genealogy Insider


Kate Quigley on the ship she immigrated to America on in 1893, the Lord Clive. It says that she is traveling to Philadelphia and staying with her sister Mary. It even lists Mary’s address, which according to Google Maps is now just warehouses.  The record also state that she left form Queenstown, a city that has now reverted back to its original Irish name of Cork.