Hayes Manuscript now Online at the National Library of Ireland

Anyone who does Irish research ought to examine Hayes Manuscripts. These books are the result of a massive indexing project. Richard J. Hayes was the National Library Director who started the project in 1941.

Hayes wanted the library to catalogue all the data relating to Ireland or the Irish for all periods around the world. The final project was called “Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation”. It was completed in 1965 and there was a supplement in 1975. According to the National Library of Ireland’s website this resulted in “23 substantial volumes, containing over 17,000 pages of records.”

To use these indexes you had to go to a national, university or very large library. In the Toronto area I know there is a copy at Robart’s Library in the University of Toronto.

The earliest record in these indexes is 1785 and the records cover about 200 years. The digitization project started in late 2007 and it is now available online for free.

What exactly can you find in Sources? According to the National Library of Ireland’s website it is the following:

“All of the National Library’s manuscripts catalogued up to the 1980s; Irish manuscripts held in other libraries and archives in Ireland and worldwide, listed between the 1940s and the 1970s; articles, reviews and other content that appeared in over 150 Irish periodicals up to 1969.” There is also a link to download a list of the journals that are included in the collection.

If you find an article you would like a copy of you can order it through the library’s Copying Services. You can contact the Reprographics Department to find out the cost of the copying.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

Bourne Family Research

My Bourne family has left a lot of really good records behind. I have been lucky for the most part with my research into this family. Walter Bourne and his son Walter were solicitors in Dublin and both held the post of Clerk of the Crown for the Queen’s Bench and Deputy Clerk of the Crown for the northeast circuit. Walter junior took on the job after his father retired.

The family lived in Taney parish, Dundrum, Dublin County. They also lived and worked in Harcourt Street Dublin.

A very good book was researched by Mary A. Strange and Elizabeth B. Fitzgerald and written by Mary A. Strange in 1970 called “The Bourne(s) Families of Ireland” I had the great privilege of getting to know her and she sent me a copy of her book. Mary’s book covers the research of her Bourne(s) family as well as others that she believed were connected but she had not been able to make that connection yet.

The book is divided into three parts one on the different locations where the Bourne ancestors of Hannah Maria (Maxwell) Bourne lived and the other relating to Hannah Maria (Maxwell) Bourne and her descendents. Mary and Elizabeth were connected to Hannah Maria (Maxwell) Bourne. The last part is related to the pedigrees of Dr. Lorton Wilson. My Bourne family was included in the last part of the book.

No connection has yet been made between my Bourne line and Mary’s but I am still researching. New records come up every day. I am researching parish registers and writing down all names that may relate to Bourne. So far I have come up with Bourne, Bourn, Bourns, Bournes, Byrne, Burne, Burn, Bryn and Bowrn. I believe this wall can be broken down it will just take a little time and perseverance.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

The Toomey Name Game

My Toomey family has not made research into this line very easy. The first known ancestor is Anthony Toomey; his son is Mark and the next generation is where all the trouble begins. Mark named two of his sons Mark and Mark Anthony and both of these boys lived into adulthood.

Mark Toomey’s grandchildren include three Mark Anthony Toomey’s and one Mark Toomey. There are several other Mark Anthony’s but these come from Mark’s daughters so they have different surnames. The next generation has two Mark Anthony Toomey’s and two Mark Toomey’s and so the naming practice goes. In my database I have five Mark and nine Mark Anthony Toomey’s and most of them were born in the mid to late 19th century.

At least I know that if I come across a Mark or Mark Anthony Toomey the chances that they are connected to my family is good. The problem comes in differentiating between them in the records such as city directories. This is where the next family link comes into play. A lot of the Toomey men were solicitors. So it is not that easy to figure out which Mark Anthony Toomey Solicitor is the one I am researching in the city directory.

Now I sit with my list of Mark and Mark Anthony Toomey’s with their dates of birth and death and their address, if the address can be found on civil registration records and directly linked to them. Every one is noted and I try to see if they can fit into any of the information currently relating to them.

This problem is one that keeps growing but it not insurmountable. It just takes a little patience and a lot of detail work to make sure the information is connected to the right Mark or Mark Anthony Toomey. Thank goodness the family did not start using Anthony or Anthony Mark as names or we could be in a lot more trouble.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

1939 National Register England, Scotland and Northern Ireland vs 1940 National Register Canada

Recently in England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, through a Freedom of Information request, the 1939 National Register has become available to researchers. You can only get it for people who are deceased and you need a name and address to request the information.

The information gathered was to provide everyone with their National Identity Card and with the evacuations and mobilization it needed to be done quickly. The date was 29 September 1939.

The questions asked were name, address, gender, birth date, marital status, occupation and whether you had any membership in any kind of military forces which included Civil Defense Services and a like.

In England the fee to get this information is 43 GBP. In Scotland you would pay 13 GBP.

Since the register entries became available in England and Scotland, Northern Ireland has also started to release their information. It is not as easy to get the information yet, mainly because of the large amount of files and the fact that the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland is getting ready for a big move and will be closed from September 2010 to May 2011. You can read a description of how to order the registration from Northern Ireland at the Scottish Genealogy News and Events blog. I would recommend reading this blog regularly if you have Scottish ancestors.

Remember one thing – this is only for Northern Ireland. The war was after Home Rule and the South of Ireland was not officially involved in the Second World War.

What I find very interesting is that this information is only coming to light now in the United Kingdom. In Canada we had a similar national registration but ours is called the 1940 National Registration. The public have been able to order copies of this registration for a long time. You need to prove the person is deceased twenty years and a newspaper death notice is accepted. You also need to provide as much identifying information as possible. The fee is $47.25, which includes the GST, and will not be refunded if the search is negative. You can find details for ordering a copy at the Canadian Genealogy Centre.

I have ordered this information several times and it provides much more information than the 1939 National Registration. The information includes: name, address, age, date of birth, marital status, number of dependents, place and country of birth of individual and his or her parents, nationality, year of entry into Canada (if an immigrant), racial origin, languages, education, general health, occupation, employment status, farming or mechanical skills and previous military service.

There are two forms one for men and one for women. Copies of these can be found on the website. Every man and women 16 years of age and over had to complete these forms except for members of the armed forces, religious orders or those confined to an institution. If they died between 1940 and 1946 then it is possible that the form was destroyed. Try anyway because I know of some instances when this was not the case. It can also take upwards of three months to get the registration.

The information I received when I got the 1940 National Registration form was an abstract of basic information like name, place, age, etc, then a copy of the form that had been transcribed and a copy of the original form. I was very glad they sent the original because where the transcriber was not able to decipher the writing I could decipher it. The copy of the original is not very good but careful study can provide more accurate information.

If you are researching someone who was alive during this time period in Canada I would recommend getting a copy of their 1940 National Registration. It could prove to be very enlightening.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

A Toppin Family Story

Toppin is one of my family lines in Ireland. My Toppin family was located in Buffanagh (Buffana) Fethard Tipperary. They have been a bit of an anomaly for me. Not much information had been found on the family and most of what I had was family stories and information.

Aunt Girlie, aka Sarah Agnew Toppin, gathered a bit of information about the family. Her father left Buffanagh at the age of majority. He married in Kilkeel County Down and raised his family in Limerick. Aunt Girlie thought her Grandfather’s name might have been Mathew.

The Governor did not speak much about his family. The Governor was the family name for Sarah’s father Philip Rawlins Toppin. The fact that he did not speak about his family caused a bit of a red flag for me. Had something happened that Philip did not want to be reminded of his early life?

In preparation for a trip to Dublin in 2003 I was gathering up all the information already known about the family and started a cluster research project for my Toppin family. The first step was to gather all the birth, marriage and death records for the name Toppin, Tappen, Toppen, Topham, Topping and Tapping in the area surrounding the family home of Buffanagh.

I was ordering a lot of certificates from Ireland and this was getting expensive. To ease the expense I began ordering photocopies of the registrations from the Mormon Family History Centre in Salt Lake City. Only the earlier years of registration are available but any little bit helped.

One of the copies of the death registrations came back with three entries on one page. Mathew Toppin, William Toppin and Richard Toppin all died within a couple of weeks of each other in 1869. This was around the time that The Governor left Buffanagh. Could this have been the reason?

A closer look at the causes of death provided an even more incredible story. Mathew had died of respiratory problems and he was well on in years. William was but 20 and died of Tuberculosis. Richard was middle age and had been murdered. Yes, murdered!

Thankfully this information was found before leaving for Ireland so I was able to concentrate on finding out more about the murder while in Dublin. This was something that would have been extremely difficult to do from Canada. I also remembered that a long time ago on a mailing list someone had mentioned a murder and the Toppin family but no one knew any details.

My first stop was the National Archives of Ireland. When I first approached the Archivist about finding information he said the murder must have been about land. He said that most murders in Ireland had to do with land during that time period. There were no coroner’s records so the only other recourse was newspapers.

I had a date of death so that helped narrow down the search. The Irish Times and Cork Examiner were the two big papers for the area in that time period so the search began.

The National Library of Ireland has a great resource online called Newsplan. You can search for available newspapers by title, town or county. You can even include titles from the Newsplan project that are not held by the National Library of Ireland.

The search provided lists of publication dates and what was available on microfilm and hard copy. It also provided the different incarnations that the newspaper had during its publication.

So into the dark microfilm reading room at the National Library of Ireland I went. Several entries of the inquest were found. The description of the body was so detailed I could not read it all. It looked like the murder was a result of land. Three Fitzgerald cousins of the wife of Richard Toppin were arrested for the murder with the reason being a disagreement over a piece of land they felt should have gone to them.

New family information was also gleaned from these reports. The reports provided the names of his wife and children as well as the fact that his wife and children practiced the Catholic faith and Richard was Protestant. Information on other family and neighbours was also provided in the newspaper accounts. These accounts were published about a week or so after the murder.

In the end the three men arrested were not charged because there was not enough evidence to convict them. By the sounds of it the murder was never solved.

While searching for the coroners records at the National Archives of Ireland the Archivist mentioned another resource that really helped me with my Toppin research. It turns out they had copies on microfilm of the parish registers of the local Church of Ireland in Fethard. By searching these I was able to develop family groups and go back three more generations. The Governor’s father was John Philip Toppin. Mathew Toppin, who died at the same time as Richard, was his uncle. Richard Toppin and William Toppin were his cousins.

No one will ever know for sure but all these things happening at once as well as the possibility that The Governor did not want to be a farmer could have resulted in him leaving Fethard and not wanting to talk about his family.

©2010 – Blair Archival Research

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