Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Back to Our Past event in Dublin

The following is from Back to Our Past.


  • Ireland’s biggest family history event returns for its third year
  • Over 20,000 family history enthusiasts expected to attend

Ireland’s biggest family history event returns this year after its massive success in previous years.  Over 20,000 people are expected to descend on the RDS in Dublin from October 12th- 14th for this year’s Back to Our Past.

This year’s event will attempt to continue the successes of last year by again bringing together all of the eclectic groupings which make up the Irish genealogy and family history areas. From state run repositories such as The National Archives of Ireland to Ancestry.com, the world’s largest family history site who are continuing their expansion into Ireland by serving as headline sponsors for the event.

As with last year, the undoubted highlight of this year’s event will be the lecture areas which bring together the great and good of the genealogy world who will attempt to impart some of their knowledge on attendees. This year’s presentation areas are sponsored by findmypast.ie, who will be keen to let people know more about the 40 million records now available on their site.

There are 40 different lectures spanning a wealth of topics, many are directly concerned with family history and the practicalities of genealogical research but there are many broader heritage and social history presentations as well. Visitors will find out about some of the key records for research online. These include the ever important land and estate records, with presentations by Helen Kelly and several others. There are specialist talks on specific repositories, like Maire Kennedy from the Dublin City Library. The range of sources for online research is untangled by Mary Beglan, with talks about specific websites featuring every day. The fun of court and prison records is the subject of Brian Donovan’s talk, maybe your ancestors were rebels or thieves? John Grenham, author of the best-selling Tracing Your Irish Ancestors will guide you through the rich resource that is the Irish Times online. As for the future of genealogy and family history Ancestry.com will provide an insight into its DNA programme and Fiona Fitzsimons will talk about the future of Who Do You Think You Are? This year we will find out about the Irish of Victorian London by the SOG’s Else Churchill, and the Irish in Boston by TIARA’s Janis Duffy, both bringing fresh insights of the Irish experience abroad. Brian Mitchell, one of our finest genealogical scholars, will put this in context with his talk on emigration in general. And there are many other talks too covering a whole host of topics. An unusual and certainly entertaining session will be the History Ireland Hedge School with the provocative title “Genealogy: what does it think it is?” with guest speakers including Catriona Crowe from the National Archives.

Other exhibitors present include some of the foremost record repositories in Ireland, particularly the National Archives of Ireland and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. Several heritage bodies will also be there, like the Dunbrody Famine Ship, Irish Maritime Museum, Ordnance Survey Ireland and Glasnevin Cemetery Trust. There will be a large number of professional researchers and independent historians too, including those represented by APGI, as well as those affiliated to companies like Ancestor Network and Eneclann (you might even recognise a face or two from TV). Ireland’s two genealogy magazines, Irish Roots and the online Irish Lives Remembered, as well as History Ireland will be there. The growing place of genealogy in universities and tourism is reflected by the Irish Ancestry Research Centre (UL) and Ireland Reaching Out. One of the biggest developments over the last decade has been the growth of Irish resources online, including that published by government bodies likes the National Archives and askaboutireland.ie, as well as commercial groups like Eneclann, Roots Ireland, the Irish Times, Irish Newspaper Archive, findmypast.ie and most recently Ancestry.com. Visitors will have a chance to view all of these resources for free during the show.

But the backbone of Irish family history is still the societies. These tireless volunteer groups span the length and breadth of the country promoting the hobby, providing free advice, publishing great journals and helping introduce those starting to the fun and excitement of connecting with your ancestors. The three principal national societies will be there, being the Irish Family History Society, the Genealogical Society of Ireland and the Irish Genealogical Research Society, plus many smaller local or special interest groups. This year also sees the attendance by the Boston based Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) one of the most active and committed societies in the US. Closer to home the British Society of Genealogists is also attending having just celebrated their centenary last year.

The only problem is you may need to attend on all three days to take in all the show has to offer.

For further information, contact John Low at 0035431 4969028. Or email: john@slp.ie or visit backtoourpast.com

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