In October Members of Accredited Genealogists Ireland participated in an online Genealogy Q&A event in collaborarion with Dublin City Council’s (DCC) Culture Company and the National Archives of Ireland.
Virtual participation at meetings and lectures, through the process of Zoom, was practically unknown prior to March this year, when the highly contagious coronavirus appeared and took over the way we live our everyday lives. Over the past few months, under the auspices of the Culture Club (part of DCC’s Culture Company) AGI – via Zoom – has given a number of virtual presentations, one of which was a successful Genealogy Q&A session. It was held on the afternoon of Tuesday, 20th October, 2020. AGI Members Máire Mac Conghail, Nicola Morris and Steven Smyrl participated; Culture Club personnel acted as facilitator; and about twenty members of the Culture Club were present. Nicola shared her computer screen, which was set up to demonstrate how to interrogate websites as required.
While preparation had been made for the possibility of members of the audience being slow or reticent with their queries, this did not occur. The group proved lively and inquisitive and over the course of 90 minutes advice, illustratated from online sources, was given about Griffith’s Valuation, census returns, civil records, Catholic parish registers, and tracing the location of mid-19th century business premises.
Answering queries was made so much easier by being able to show the workings of the various websites and their respective, searchable databases. For instance, queries were presented in connection with the 1901 and 1911 census returns and Nicola’s visual presentation demonstrated how information from the database could be sorted by relevance of age, forename, place of birth, occupation, etc. The inclusion of “*” (wildcard) to allow for searches to include variants of, for instance, the surname or forename created much interest and further questions. A similar demonstration was also given showing how to best navigate the indexes and scanned images of Ireland’s civil records of birth, death and marriage which are hosted at irishgenealogy.ie.
It’s clear that having been forced by Covid-19 to move “in person” events online, they have been very successful and will likely continue long after the pandemic has ended.