Celtic Connections Conference


2020 presentation topics included:

Researching Irish and Scottish Ancestors
Reviews of Genealogy Websites
Irish Emigration and Immigration Patterns
Scottish Research Resources

Tracing Your Presbyterian Ancestors

with Tina Beaird

The Presbyterian Church has been the center of the Scottish community for centuries; from birth to death, the Church oversaw private and public life, including moral character, sacramental records, alms, subscriptions, and transfers between churches. This level of records retention carried down through the American centuries to benefit researchers today.

To Find My Soul a Home: Evidence in Marriage for Irish Family History

with Fiona Fitzsimons

This talk explores how marriages were made in Ireland, from courtship, to reading the banns, negotiating the dowry, the marriage ceremony and consummation. If any step was omitted, it undermined the legal basis of the marriage. What evidence survives, and what does it tell us about love and marriage in the past? Focus on Irish and Ulster-Scots.

Land Tax Records, the ‘Ultimate’ Census Substitute for Irish Research 1830 -1980s

with Fiona Fitzsimons

Irish archival disasters compel family historians to use census substitutes. The records of the Valuation Office, 1830 to 1980. are the backbone of Irish family history research. In this talk, we look at the different complementary records sets made by this agency over 150 years. We show how to interpret the evidence to trace ancestors and living family descended from those that remained in Ireland. Focus on Irish and Ulster-Scots.

Evidence in Death for Irish Family History

with Fiona Fitzsimons

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. The amount of records made in death indicates it was one of the busiest times in life. Focus on Irish and Ulster-Scots.

Handy Tools to Use With Your DNA

with Maurice Gleeson

The last few years have seen major improvements in the tools available for managing your DNA matches.  We will review how various tools can help our interpretation and management of our DNA matches, including Ethnicity Estimates, the Shared cM Tool, Autoclustering, and DNA Painter.

Reaching Back into the Irish Past with Y-DNA

with Maurice Gleeson

Y-DNA follows the direct male line back into the dim and distant past.  It is a great tool for surname research and there are projects for many Irish surnames.  But it is also being used to identify the Y-DNA signature of specific Irish clans, which takes us back into the time period between 1000 to 2500 years ago.  The practical application of Y-DNA to Irish research in particular will be explored.

DNA & Documentary Evidence - Using a Two-pronged Attack on Your Irish Brick Walls

with Maurice Gleeson

Irish research is quickly beset by a lack of documentary records prior to about 1830 or so.  However, using DNA in combination with available records can help you break through these Brick Walls in many instances.  This talk will explore a variety of different techniques for tackling Irish research problems specifically.

Irish Ancestors at JohnGrenham.com: The Inside Skinny

with John Grenham

JohnGrenham.com is a popular jumping-off point for Irish genealogical research. It has been 25 years in the making. This talk lays out its development and structure and in the process provides a guide to its nooks and crannies and a repertoire of tips and tricks to get the best out of the site.

A Long, Hard Road: A Step-by-Step Look at the Famine Migration Process and Its Records

with John Grenham

Escaping from Ireland in the 1840s was not a simple process. At every stage of the journey from townland to the US - the Irish port, the port of Liverpool, the ticketing and porivsioning of ships, the arrival in the US - government and private agencies sought to control and profit from the desperation of those fleeing. This talk takes the story of a single family leaving Kerry in 1847 for the U.S. and looks at the records that survive for each stage of their journey.

Records of the Anglo-Irish

with John Grenham

The Anglo-Irish ruled Ireland for more than two centuries and, proportionally, migrated more than any other group. Despite the disaster of the destruction of so many of their documents in 1922, there are still plenty of records. The talk focuses on three areas: the records of Ulster Office of Arms, the Registry of Deeds, and surviving papers of the great landed estates.

Mapping Celtic Locations -- Tools and Research Aids

with Pamela Guye Holland

Discover mapping tools for Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. Learn about their different jurisdictions, the records created in them and how to access them. Research aids, historic maps and surname maps will also be covered.

Ancestors of the Cloth: Researching Members of the Clergy in Your Family Tree

with Melanie McComb

The church was a central part of our ancestors' lives. Those that were called to serve as priests, nuns, ministers, rabbis, etc. leave a legacy behind. This session will explore how to use religious records as well as other record types (including military, land, probate and school) to rediscover their stories.

Across the Border: Irish Immigration from Canada to the U.S., 18th - 20th Century

with Melanie McComb

Not all of our Irish ancestors came directly to the United States.  They settled in Canada for several years or sometimes many generations.  This webinar will explore the various waves of migrations from Canada to the U.S., which include the mass migration during the Great Irish Potato Famine, homesteading ancestors who settled the American Mid-West, and post-1895 immigrants.

Effective Use of England’s National Archives

with Paul Milner

Learn how to effectively use the research tools, indexes, catalogs and download original records on this large website to find your ancestors and to put them into their correct historical context.

Effective Use of ScotlandsPeople Website

with Paul Milner

Learn tips and see case studies on how to navigate and economically use this pay per view commercial website used for Scottish civil registration, census, church records, valuation records, wills and testaments.

From Rubble and Ruin: Finding your Family in Land & Tax Records

with Donna Moughty

The fire at Four Courts in 1922, as well as the government’s destruction of early census records has left a major void for Irish researchers. Although never intended as a census substitute, The Primary Valuation of Ireland, managed by Richard Griffith between 1848 and 1864, has become a key resource for locating ancestors, or the family of ancestors who might have emigrated during the famine.

Irish Civil Registration: It’s a New World!

with Donna Moughty

The landscape of Irish research has changed drastically over the past few years with the digitization and the release of the images of birth, deaths and marriage registrations (with restrictions) by IrishGenealogy.ie.  It truly is a new world for Irish researchers!

Unpuzzling Ireland’s Church Records

with Donna Moughty

Prior to the start of civil registration in Ireland, one of the only sources of family information is church records.  The release of digitized images of the Roman Catholic records, plus the indexes created by multiple companies, may help you break through your brick wall.

The Godly Commonwealth: Discover Scottish Church Records

with Chris Paton

The Scottish Reformation of 1560 dramatically changed Scotland from a Roman Catholic to a Protestant nation, creating an institution that soon became one of the main arms of state, responsible for discipline, education and the moral well-being of its flock. With the Church of Scotland’s obsession with antenuptial fornication, its constant splits and the hellfire damnation of John Knox himself, understanding the Kirk’s role and history in Scottish society is crucial for those wishing to research family history prior to the advent of civil registration in 1855.

Scottish Research Resources Before 1800

with Chris Paton

Whilst most people with Scottish ancestry can trace their lines back with relative ease to the 1800s, prior to this the situation becomes more difficult. In this session, Chris Paton looks at some of the many records to be found both online and within Scotland's archives which can help the genealogist to push back further, including estate papers, land records, inheritance records, burgh records, and more.

Using PRONI for Northern Ireland Research

with Chris Paton

Forget the gloom of the past that used to accompany the discovery of a Northern Irish ancestral connection, for the glass is considerably more full than empty when it comes to locating materials to help with Ulster-based research. In this talk, Chris Paton explores the many useful resources available in the Belfast based Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), the north's national archive.

Finding Irish Records on FamilySearch and Other Major Genealogy Websites

with David Rencher

This session focuses on the largest Internet providers for Irish genealogical materials and illustrates search techniques and strategies for getting the best search results. Sites included are FamilySearch, Ancestry, and FindMyPast.

Methodology for Irish Immigration and Emigration

with David Rencher

This session identifies specific strategies and methodologies for solving Irish immigration and emigration problems. A number of new tools, including country-wide indexes and DNA technology open new methods for solving complex problems.

Autosomal DNA Identifies a Charming Scoundrel, Irish Immigrants Help to Prove the Conclusion

with Karen Stanbary

Karen describes the methodology used to identify the biological father of her adopted great-grandmother. The bio father turns out to be quite the charming scoundrel. The methodology integrates evidence from both documentary and genetic sources. Identification of genetic kin—Irish immigrants form part of the body of evidence contributing to the conclusion.

It's All About Respect -- Clinical Tips for the Management of Unexpected Results

with Karen Stanbary

Karen, trained in advanced psychotherapy techniques with 30 years of clinical practice, helps people manage negative emotions upon receiving unexpected news. Karen offers tips to reduce stress and change the outcome of difficult conversations about unexpected DNA results. The tips are designed to change the cognitive frame from a discussion of rights to a discussion of respect and resiliency.