Western Family History Association to host lecture on rural archives

The Western Family History Association will host a talk on rural archives at its bi-monthly meeting in the Oranmore Lodge Hotel next Wednesday (March 9 ) at 8.15pm.

The speaker on the night will be Patria McWalter, archivist with Galway County Council, who will speak on rural archives in Co Galway. All are welcome to attend.

The Western Family History Association is an organisation for people who have an interest in tracing their ancestry. Its members come from a range of backgrounds, from beginners to those who are involved in tracing their family history for several years. The mix of people from various areas and backgrounds means that each member makes a unique contribution to the group. At each bi-monthly meeting there is a speaker who speaks to the group on a subject related to family history research.

The organisation’s AGM was held on February 9. The meeting was preceded by a talk by guest speaker Joe Murphy of Clarinbridge, who spoke on Landlordism. Mr Murphy spoke of the various perceptions and images held by various people about landlords. Instead of the usual stories about the tough and harsh treatment being given to tenants and cottiers, he discussed many landlords who were well travelled, outgoing, and romantic. He spoke of the high esteem the Catholic landlords were held in the churches — each had a special pew with their name on a gold plate. He spoke in particular on the Reddingtons. This was followed by a questions and answers session.

The AGM also saw the election of a new committee. Outgoing chairperson Aodhagan Ó Rodhaighe spoke on the success of 2010, especially during the latter quarter of the year when a genealogy seminar and training course was delivered. He thanked the committee for their teamwork and effort which was put into organising these events. Tribute was paid in particular to Galway Rural Development and Galway County Council’s heritage officer for funding which allowed both events to be offered free to the public. A one-day seminar entitled Irish Genealogy – Where is it at? Where is it going? was held in September where speakers from the organisations Clans of Ireland, the Irish Family History Society, and the Clare Roots Society spoke on the day. During October and November a course in genealogy was delivered in conjunction with Galway Rural Development. This consisted of a series of eight lectures which were held weekly and covered key areas in genealogy such as Census records, map reading, emigration, Church and civil records, land records (Griffith's Valuation, tithe applotment books, and the Landed Estates ), graveyard records/graveyard mapping, and how to build your family tree. This course was hugely successful and was oversubscribed.

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