Kinsearching February 10, 2008




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     As though he does not already have enough to keep him busy, David Dobson has started another new worthwhile series, this one dealing with inhabitants of the Emerald Isle. His first volume off the press is THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND, 1600-1699: PART ONE.

     Church records are among the essential sources for tracing family pedigrees in the British Isles. In Ireland, however, the majority of church records do not go back beyond the late seventeenth or eighteenth century. The few that are that old are usually fragmentary. For example, the earliest extant Catholic records are for the town of Wexford and date from 1671, but they are incomplete. Presbyterian records generally do not begin before the 1670s. Most of the extant Church of Ireland (Anglican, which is called Episcopalian in the U. S.) registers originate approximately in 1770. Only the Society of Friends (Quakers) have maintained excellent records, starting in the mid-seventeenth century. As a result, genealogists tracing early forebears from the "Auld Sod" face a challenging task.

     To help overcome this obstacle, Dobson's latest series pulls together obscure data from alternative resource materials not accessible to ordinary researchers, especially in America. His main source is the multi-volume set CALENDAR OF STATE PAPERS relating to IRELAND, a series published in London between 1860 and 1910. Containing a wealth of genealogical information for the period between 1509 and 1670, the volumes include letters and petitions from English officers, noblemen, native Irish chieftains, and mayors and corporations of towns in Ireland presented to the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. In addition, Dobson gleaned facts from references discovered in Dutch, English, Irish, and Scottish archives.

     Because Dobson's series Scots-Irish Links, 1575 - 1725 pertains to people of Scottish descent in Ireland, he usually does not include that group in this latest series. The new book encompasses individuals of native Irish and English lineage as well as a handful of French and Dutch origin.

     His short sketches of around 1,400 residents in Ireland in the seventeenth century vary both in type and amount of information as seen in the following examples. In 1632, Sir Lucas DILLON was "of Loughtglynn, County Roscommon." The will of Judith JACQUEA was probated in Dublin in 1700. Walter PALMER, who was a Quaker, "petitioned King Charles II around 1660." Another man who petitioned the king "for the return of his lands" in 1663 was Daniel O'SULLIVAN of Berehaven. Although the entries are brief, they provide details regarding place of residence, social status or occupation, religious persuasion, or date of death--important clues for further research.

     The invaluable information Dobson gleaned for this publication makes genealogists wonder what interesting facts he will turn up for the next volume. Even if Americans do not have a native Irish bloodline, many have ancestors of other extractions who also came from the Emerald Isle. Genealogical libraries will want to have a copy of THE PEOPLE OF IRELAND, 1600-1699: PART ONE on their shelves.

     The 100-page paperback has a map of Ireland, an introduction, and a list of references. To the book's price of $16.50, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $4.00 for one book and $2.00 for each additional copy; for UPS, the cost is $6.00 for one copy and $2.50 for each additional book. The volume (item order #9818) may be purchased by check, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211 (for phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website

     Perhaps in rare occasions, genealogists may have difficulty tracing an ancestor who "switched" genders. This interesting item is found on page 2, column 3 of the 22 July 1835 issue (Vol. 1, no. 95) of the Boston, Mass., newspaper The Landmark: "A good looking young person in a sailor's dress, who turned out to be a female, was convicted in New York last week of stealing a horse. She was a Scotchman, and had been a sailor for three years."

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