FRANCES-JANE FRENCH John Grenham MAGI The first thing anyone who met Frances-Jane French will tell you is that she was a formidable woman. From the 1960s to the 1990s, she strode the streets of Dublin, black cloak flapping around her shoulders, ebony cane ready to wave over the head of any poor soul who thwarted her. To those of us starting out in genealogy, she was terrifying. Her vocation was Anglo-Irish family history and she laboured long and hard correcting and expanding the published trees in Debrett’s. Genealogy came naturally to her. To quote a profile in the Trinity News … Read More

AGI’s 35th Annual General Meeting

On Thursday, 1st December, Accredited Genealogists Ireland held its 35th Annual General Meeting at the Dublin City Library & Archive in Pearse Street, Dublin 2.  Though it proved to be a shorter meeting than in recent years, the usual reports were given by the President, Hon. Secretary and Hon. Treasurer. In a detailed address, the current President, Nicola Morris, outlined the various activities of the Association has been involved with over the past year, particularly highlighting those where AGI Members had been able to offer specific skills in expertise and advocacy. The following officers were elected to serve for the … Read More


Ancient Mansion of the Brownes, Galway Joan Sharkey MAGI Researching the paternal (Usher/Ussher) side of my family brought me to Galway City many times. Griffith’s Valuation in 1855 recorded Matthew Usher as the occupier of a house, bakery and yard at No. 3 William Street. It adjoined a passage way leading to No. 3 a which was an office and yard. With the help of the Valuation map, the exact location of the house and bakery was found, showing the passage and courtyard which ran behind No. 1, 2 & 3 William Street and some houses on Abbeygate Street. A … Read More

Upcoming lectures by AGI members in November

On Wednesday 23 November 11am as part of Dublin City Culture Club, AGI member Aiden Feerick will give a genealogy lecture. The title of the lecture is ‘Using Free Websites to Find your Family’. This is a Zoom event. Further details HERE On Thursday 24th November at 6pm AGI member Georgina Scally will provide insights and advice on investigating sources for finding townlands in Ireland. The title of Georgina’s talk is ‘Twenty ways to find a townland – and other hints and tips’. This is the final talk of 2022 in the National Archives lecture series. It is a free, … Read More


Ireland and the West Indies: A Brief History of the Irwin Family Joanna Cicely Fennell, M.A.G.I. Pictured is the churchyard of St. George’s Cathedral in Kingstown, capital of the Caribbean island of St. Vincent. The interior of this elegant Anglican church is home to a number of interesting plaques, including one bearing the following memorial inscription: To the memory of Alexander Burrowes Irwin, Esqr. Descended from an ancient and honorable family in Ireland, Who having devoted the early part of his life to the profession of arms, And having obtained a company in His Majesty’s 32nd. Regiment of Infantry, Afterwards … Read More


Blessington Lakes have a Story to Tell Hilda McGauley M.A.G.I. The journey from West Wicklow to Dublin was always enjoyable, seeing the mountains in the distance, particularly the section from Blakestown and the Poulaphouca Falls to Russborough and on to Blessington. This section of the N81 skirts Blessington Lakes, giving panoramic views of lake and mountains. For many years I passed this, seemingly, natural landscape without a thought of how it had come into being. Back in the 1930s a dam was built at Poulaphouca Falls (also known as Pollaphuca) for a hydroelectric scheme to produce electricity for the national … Read More


Mary Anne Byrne – a Dublin Retail Trader & Businesswoman Hilary McDonagh M.A.G.I Situated at 17 Berkeley Road, Phibsboro, Dublin, Richard Byrnes Victuallers was established in 1877 by newly married couple, Richard Byrne and his wife Mary Anne Sweeney. The couple were neighbours before they were married, living next door to each other on Great Britain Street [now Parnell Street]. While Mary Anne’s father, Peter Sweeney was a fruiterer, Richard’s father, Simon, was a victualler. Between them, they had the makings of a formidable team. Sadly, Richard died in 1878 of smallpox just a year after they were married leaving … Read More

AGI and City Colleges Launch New Stage in their Genealogy Course Collaboration

September 2022 sees the launch of a new stage in the popular collaboration between City Colleges and Accredited Genealogists Ireland to deliver comprehensive courses in family history research for the dedicated amateur and budding professional alike. The Certificate in Family History Research takes place online every Thursday evening from 29 September 2022, over ten weeks.  Lectures are given by AGI Members who are recognised experts in their field. Students are introduced to the building blocks of genealogy: Civil records Church records Census records Then they are guided through exciting resources, from land surveys to historic newspapers. Each lecture has time … Read More

Paul Gorry Elected a Fellow of AGI

At its recent Extraordinary General Meeting, Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI) announced the election of a new Fellow, Paul Gorry, one of its founding Members. Paul is a former President of AGI, serving from 2007 to 2009. Previously he has served as the Association’s Hon. Secretary and on numerous sub-committees, panels and in many other and varied voluntary capacities.   His career in professional genealogy began in 1979 at the age of nineteen when he began as a freelance genealogist attached to the Genealogical Office, then still based in the Bedford Tower in Dublin Castle. With a number of other professional … Read More


My Grandfather John Hassett Presenting Grace Boyle, aged 100 years, her New Pension Book, 1929 Jillian Van Turnhout,  AGI Affiliate My grandfather, John Francis Hassett (1904 to 1945), was born in Glin, Co. Limerick, grew up in Knockanean Co. Clare, married Mary Foley (1905 to 1944) of Cromane, Co. Kerry in Dublin and died when based in Cork in 1945. In 1924, John Hassett qualified to become a Customs and Excises officer. I know from newspaper reports he was based in Dungloe, Co. Donegal, from 1929 to 1933. Amongst John F. Hassett’s photos of his short life is this gem … Read More