Irish Genealogy

At the last Irish Family History Forum meeting held at the Bethpage Public Library, Joseph Buggy, genealogist and author, gave two excellent presentations on Irish genealogy. The first lecture was about researching your Irish ancestors in New York City, and the other was on more advanced techniques and resources for Irish genealogy. Mr. Buggy, who has spoken at our library, is an authority on Irish family research and hails from County Kilkenny, Ireland, so he is very knowledgeable about the townland, parish, and civil administrative practices on that side of the Atlantic. If you are researching an Irish family and missed these lectures, do not despair. You will find Mr. Buggy’s book, Finding Your Irish Ancestors in New York City (929.1 Buggy) in our nonfiction collection. He also has a website, “Townland of Origin,” at with lots of information on resources and news items relating to Irish genealogy.

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New Ellis Island Website

If you have searched for a passenger list this month, you might have been surprised, as I was, to see that the website has been seriously revamped. First of all, when you type in the address, you are redirected to This is because they have combined the previous sites for Ellis Island, Statue of Liberty, Wall of Honor, and Flag of Faces into one webpage. You will also notice that you are required to re-register before searching the passenger lists. The username and password you previously used to view the passenger lists through the website will not work. Registration is free, but there is a more commercial feel to the new website. If you are one who prefers using the Gold Form, the good news is that it seems to work fine on the site, but again you will need to re-apply for a new username and password before being able to view the information. I am reserving my opinion on these changes for now, and just encourage you to check it out. However, I feel it appropriate to remind you that also has New York City passenger arrival lists.

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Handwriting Analysis for Family Researchers Question

A couple of people asked if the handwriting expert for our November program would be able to analyze the handwriting of someone who wrote in a foreign language. I asked Paula Feldman, who will be giving the program, this question, and she informed me that it is possible for her to analyze writing in a foreign language. She told me that just like in the English language, foreign script might have slanting, spacing, or other variations that can provide clues about the writer’s personality. However, she said she is unable to analyze handwriting in a different alphabet (such as Chinese or Cyrillic or possibly old German). Remember that you can submit your ancestor’s handwriting sample beginning October 7th. Only the first 15 samples submitted will be included in this program.

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How to Research at the Municipal Archives in New York City

If you researching ancestors who lived in one of the five Boroughs of New York City,  you will want to attend this week’s program (Wednesday, September 17, 7:00-8:30 p.m). Carol Proven, who has taught genealogical classes at St. Joseph’s College, will inform you about the valuable genealogical records housed at the Municipal Archives. She will also provide tips on how to prepare for a trip into the archives and demonstrate how the knowledge of the history of Ellis Island can enhance your research.  A case study will be included in the program.  

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A National Archives Virtual Genealogy Fair

In October, the National Archives will host a live, three-day, virtual Genealogy Fair via webcast on YouTube. The free program offers family history research tools for all skill levels on Federal records including census, American Indian, military, naturalization, and immigration. For complete schedule and participation instructions, visit the Virtual Genealogy Fair website at


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HeritageQuest Online Upgrade News

A major upgrade to HeritageQuest Online is planned for release in 2015.The following additions to content are scheduled for future release:

A complete U.S. Federal Census collection with name indexes and images for all decades, 1790-1940. These will be every-name indexes.

Additional US Census Schedules with name indexes and images, including:

◾1850-1860 Slave Schedules

◾1890 Veterans Schedules

◾1850-1890 Non-Population Schedules

◾1885-1940 Indian Census Rolls

◾1850-1885 Mortality Schedules

A complete Revolutionary War Era Pension Files and Bounty Land Warrant Application Files collection, i.e., NARA M804.

Exact name, SOUNDEX, wildcard and phonetic searches for the US Census and other datasets.

There will likely be additional new features in the upgrade, but specific details are not available at this time. 

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An Irish Genealogy Website

Someone mentioned to me that she recently had a breakthrough in her Irish family research when using the website Ireland Reaching Out  (  Because so many of us Irish family researchers are always interested in hearing about new ideas and success stories, I thought I would pass along her news.

The website Ireland Reaching Out is part of an Irish government sponsored initiative established several years ago to help those of Irish heritage connect with the Irish parish from where their ancestors originated from.  Although it is a free volunteer-led service, you need to register and answer questions before receiving research assistance or advice.  If you don’t want to take advantage of their service, you still might want to check out their listing of Irish resources by county. You can view that directly by going to

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Update on IGG and GGG Indexing Projects

Don Eckerle, of The German Genealogy Group and John Martino, of the Italian Genealogy Group, are wrapping up their current project of indexing the New York City death records (New York City Department of Health) from 1949 to 1962. The purpose of the project is to bridge the gap between the earlier New York City Municipal Archives death index and the Social Security Death Index.  If all goes as planned, the new death index will be available in about six months.  Of course John Martino and Don Eckerle, being two of the most energetic and enthusiastic people in the genealogy field, have another future project planned. What’s next? They are hoping to index federal criminal records.  As always, they need volunteers, so  If you have time and would like to help them out, you can contact them through the websites or

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Free Webinar on United States Church Records

I just received the following information that I thought might be of interest to some. “The Family History Library will present a free webinar for all who are interested in learning how to use United States church records to help them expand their family history research efforts. This webinar is part of a series of webinars that will be made available on a monthly basis through the coming year.” This webinar will take place on August 14th at 6:00 p.m. mountain standard time (8:00 p.m. standard eastern time). To join the webinar go to: on August 14th.

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Central Islip Hospital Cemetery Restoration Project

The Central Islip Hospital Cemetery Restoration Project is looking for volunteers for Sundays, July 27 and August 2 at 9:00 a.m. to assist with cleaning, mapping, photographing, and documenting headstones. Participants will meet in the Touro south parking lot, the lot closest to the cemetery. If you would like to learn more about this ongoing project, visit the website

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