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


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


Napoleon Bonaparte, Emperor of France baptized in Kenmare Co. Kerry …???!!! Helen Kelly, F.A.G.I. During the course of a search of Kenmare R.C. Parish registers on, I was fascinated with an entry which was recorded in the baptismal register 30 June 1823 by Ed. O’ Callaghan. The entry, part of which is difficult to decipher, states: ‘Ego Ed O’Callaghan Bap. Napoleon Francis Charles Bonaparte, Emperor of France, King of Italy and Protector ? of the …………..of the………? At first glance, one could be forgiven for concluding that Napoleon Francis Charles Bonaparte was baptised in Kenmare R.C. Parish, 30th June … Read More


Vivian Johnson: Forever Young Gill Johnson, AGI affiliate As a child, I always enjoyed listening to family lore as told by my grandparents, especially my grandad Digby Johnson. I listened intently to all their stories and spent hours going through old photographs of faces that had long passed before my existence. However, one in particular always stood out to me, a picture of my great grandmother Vivian Johnson nee Bestall holding who we believe to be my grandad, or his younger brother Wilvy. I always loved this photograph as I was drawn to Vivian and she bears a striking resemblance … Read More


Sir William Betham 1779-1853 Georgina Scally M.A.G.I. A recent commission to explore some gravestones at Carrickbrennan Graveyard in the south Dublin suburb of Monkstown provided a welcome excuse for an excursion.  Entering the graveyard through a small gate in an ivy clad high stone wall on the east side of Carrickbrennan Road the atmosphere, familiar to those used to visiting old, disused, and overgrown graveyards, was immediate. Carrickbrennan Graveyard is the final resting place of many individuals who provide a window into historical events of the 18th and 19th centuries in Ireland (amongst them Charles Haliday [1789-1866] historian and writer; … Read More

AGI Member Sandra Doble to Speak at National Archives Evening Lecture Series

The next lecture in the National Archives of Ireland evening lecture series, titled ‘Researching your Church of Ireland Ancestors’, will be given by Sandra Doble, MAGI. It will cover records of genealogical interest produced by parishes such as church registers and vestry minute books. Access to these records will be outlined and advice given on using online transcriptions of baptism, marriage and burial records. Sandra Doble is a former accountant but switched career to pursue her passion for family history. In 2012 she set up her own research company, Irish Family Footsteps. She became a member of Accredited Genealogists Ireland … Read More