Thursday, 17 September 2009

Ozark Mountain Céilí Presentation

One of the presenters at the upcoming Missouri State University-West Plains Ozarks Studies Symposium will be the lovely and very talented, Julie Henigan. The event will be in Springfield, Missouri, on September 24-26, 2009 at the West Plains Civic Center. If you would like more information, please contact Matt Meacham or Leigh Adams.

Julie Henigan discusses her upcoming presentation below:

In my presentation at the 2009 Ozarks Symposium in West Plains, Missouri, I will compare the house entertainments of Ireland and the Ozarks, demonstrating points of analogy between the social and music-making traditions of both, and demonstrating the possible cultural retention of Old World traditions in the New. In Ireland, these traditions range from informal house visits (known variously as céilí, cuaird, or "night-ramble," and including anything from simple conversation, to music, storytelling, song, and dance) to more organized house and barn dances.

In the Ozarks, these have their counterparts in the house dance or "music party." I will discuss the social and musical aspects of these events, noting their previous and current centrality in many traditional communities and their contribution to social cohesiveness and the encouragement of individual and communal artistry. I will also describe their decline since the Second World War and their deliberate revival in both cultures--as well as the emergence of the public house session in Ireland, which has in most places virtually supplanted the older, home-based musical events. Finally, I will discuss the element of human choice or agency in the continuation of these traditions--traditions which, far from being passively preserved, have instead been actively perpetuated by the individuals and communities who engage in them.

Julie Henigan Bio:

Julie Henigan is both a scholar (with a Master's in Folklore and a Ph.D. in English) and a musician, specializing in traditional Irish and American music. She sings unaccompanied, in English and in Irish, and plays guitar, fiddle, five-string banjo, and lap dulcimer. Her scholarly publications include: Folk’ Vs. ‘Literary’ in Eighteenth-Century Irish Song, in Anáil an Bhéil Bheo: Orality and Modern Irish Culture, ed. Nessa Cronin, Seán Crossan, Louis de Paor, and John Eastlake for Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009, as well as articles in journals and magazines like New Hibernia Review, Ulster Folklife, and The Old-Time Herald. She has also contributed articles to The Companion to Traditional Irish Musicand the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Music in Ireland (UCD Press). Her published works are available from Amazon.

Julie is also well known for her excellent Irish style guitar tutor on DADGAD Tuning which she did for Mel Bay Publications and the CD American Stranger, on the Waterbug label. She also appears on an anthology of sean-nós singing (Sean-nós cois Locha, on the Cló Iar-Chonnachta label) recorded at Sean-nós Milwaukee, an American festival featuring traditional singing in the Irish language.

For more information on all of these , please see

In Irish Disapora Studies, the depth and strength of Irish and Scottish cultural roots in the Ozarks region of Missouri and Arkansas do not recieve as much attention as those areas with more recent immigration histories. Julie Henigan life's work is a very good place to start to explore this Ozark cultural continuum which has a lot of input from Ulster.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Ozark Symposium September 2009

Ozarks Symposium

New: The schedule of events and presentation abstracts for the third annual Missouri State University-West Plains Ozarks Studies Symposium, September 24-26, 2009, are now up to date!

To read more about the upcoming Ozarks Symposium use this link:

The Missouri State University-West Plains Ozarks Studies Committee looks forward to welcoming you to its third annual symposium, "Situating the Ozarks," September 24-26, 2009, at the West Plains Civic Center. If you would like more information please contact Matt Meacham or Leigh Adams.

The Route Back Home, Ballymoney 2010 Update

The Route Back Home, a family historian and genealogist meeting in Ballymoney in 2010, is seeking input about a new development that impacts the planned Ulster heritage event. All interested parties are asked to email Keith Beattie with suggestions on how The Route Back Home should proceed. The Route Back Home is a major family history and genealogy event sponsored by the Ballymoney Borough Council.

The Ballymoney Museum Link

The Route Back Home, Ballymoney 2010

Dear Family Historian,

Since my last correspondence, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has announced that they will be closing from September 2010-May 2011. This is to allow the transfer of all their records to new premises. Please refer to the following link for further details:

The closure of this important archive facility will impact on the amount of research that overseas family historians can perform during their stay for The Route Back Home, Ballymoney 2010. Therefore, I am writing to ask for your opinion on whether the festival should continue or be cancelled.


Overseas visitors may feel that without access to PRONI it would be difficult to fully research family history during their brief stay. For some, this may be their only opportunity to visit Northern Ireland to look for their ancestors.

Proceed as planned:

If The Route Back Home, Ballymoney 2010 proceeds as planned in October 2010, every effort will be made to advise on alternative sources for the information that will be inaccessible in PRONI. For example:

· Ballymoney Branch Library: Archives of the Ballymoney newspapers and books on local history. Internet access (by appointment).

· Coleraine Branch Library: Microfilm copies of many of the church records for the Causeway region (Ballymoney, Coleraine, Moyle and Limavady) are available, in addition to archives of Coleraine and Ballymoney newspapers.

· Local Studies Unit, Ballymena Branch Library: A substantial archive of genealogical material is available including the 1901 census, Griffith Valuation (with maps) and archive copies of the Ballymena & Larne newspapers and The Belfast Newsletter.

· Other resources include the Derry Genealogy Centre, Northern Ireland Family History Society (by appointment) and the General Register Office (by appointment).

Ballymoney Borough Council welcomes your feedback on this question. Please respond to this email within seven days to allow Council the opportunity to make their decision.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Yours sincerely,

Keith Beattie
Museum Manager

Public Record Office Northern Ireland (PRONI) Update

Customers of the Public Record Office NI (PRONI) are advised of a temporary change to service delivery between September 2010 and May 2011.

The construction of the new PRONI headquarters at Titanic Quarter is progressing well, with the building scheduled to open to the public in May/June 2011. To ensure that services in the new building will be operational and that records will be available and will be preserved during this move, the Public Record Office will have to change how it carries out its business next year. The Public Record Office is providing 12 months' notice of changes to ensure that overseas visitors in particular have good time to make alternative plans.

Keeper of the Records, Minister Nelson McCausland said: “Records stored within PRONI are priceless, some of which contain vital historical information which, if lost or damaged, would be a massive blow to the general public, both in Northern Ireland and also worldwide.

“Staff at PRONI are currently working hard to produce appropriate and secure storage containers which will enable records to be moved to the new building safely and securely. A complete stock-take of all the records will then be carried out before they are securely packed, bar-coded and transported to the new building. This mammoth task does not end there, as staff then have to carry out a further stock-take to ensure that all records arrived safely."

The Minister continued: “Access to public records is a core function of the Department and to minimise disruption to customers, PRONI is increasing the amount and range of material which will be available online. In the coming weeks I will be marking the launch of the 1819 to 1900 street directories going on-line, which will make the contents of 27 street directories for Belfast and provincial towns available to a worldwide audience.

"Discussions are also taking place with partner organisations to make arrangements to allow customers to have alternative sources to draw upon during this time.

"Whilst the public will not be able to physically access the Balmoral Avenue site during the move, PRONI will continue to provide a limited correspondence and telephone enquiry service and will address FOI and urgent legal enquiries.”

The Minister concluded by saying that interest in personal and local history is on the increase and the new state of the art offices will encourage wider community involvement in accessing the unique assets that it holds.

Notes to Editors:

1. The site of the new Public Record Office is in a prominent position close to the Odyssey Arena and adjacent to the Gateway building at the entrance to the Titanic Quarter. It is scheduled to open to the public in May/June 2011.

2. PRONI was established under the Public Records Act (NI) 1923 for the reception and preservation of public records. The 1923 Act also made provision for the deposit of private records in PRONI.

3. To help alleviate the inconvenience to customers during a period of on-site closure the amount and range of material available on-line will be extended. This will include the Belfast Street Directories (pre 1901) going on-line in September 2009 and additional databases scheduled for completion in 2009/10 financial year including 1766 Religious Census Returns, 1775 Dissenters Petitions and the pre-1910 Coroners’ Inquests.

3. Discussions are taking place with partner bodies about the possibility of providing an off-site self-service facility for limited microfilmed records.

4. PRONI’s records cover every aspect of life from the Minutes of Cabinet Meetings to records of a local corner shop – from the thoughts and actions of the ‘great and the good’ to the reminiscences of the working man. The oldest document is a 13th Century Papal Bull.

5. Media enquiries to Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure Press Office, tel: 028 90 515045 or email:

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Ulster Heritage DNA Project Update Sept 09

A reminder for our new participants: To view the results please go to our main website (, use the menu on the left to access the DNA project and the results.

For those participants that have matches to men with their own surname, we can group you as a family if you wish, just send me an email with the details. One of the goals of the Ulster Project is to gain a better understanding of Gaelic clans, their origins, etc. this is why many participants are listed in family or clan groups.

If you have matches on your 25 marker test and these matches are on the cusp of being a match on your 37 marker test, we recommend that you upgrade to the 67 marker test to clarify a suspected match. In large family groups in which the surname was taken many centuries ago there is the possibility that the 37 marker will not pick up these distant matches, however they will show up as a match on the 67 marker test.

Anyone needing help with Gaelic orthography and etymology send an email to Ulster Heritage and we can arrange a report to be done should you need one. If you get to the point that you feel you need a researcher on the ground in Ireland or N Ireland, also just contact me and I can put you in touch with several professionals there that we work with.

Some other tips; make sure you upload all your markers to Ysearch, this will really help your research as it expands the data base to which you have access. Also, make sure you have your settings so that non surname matches can appear. Gaelic surnames especially have many different forms and variations and you may have a match with a surname very different than the variation that your family uses.

Take advantage of the Ulster Heritage Forum and Newsletter. The Forum is where you can post your family notes and research needs. The Newsletter is run by Jim McKane of Ontario, he places research tips and updates on the project.

For those participants interested in deep ancestry, please read about the Project 8 team at the University of Wales. This team is made up of the leading figures in the fields of early European archaeology, history, genetic genealogy, etc. Dr Barry Cunliffe has joined the team recently and everyone is looking forward to the team’s first publications. They will examine the spread of Celtic people from the Iberian peninsula. The article on Project 8 is found in the July section of the Ulster Heritage Magazine and is titled The Atlantic Zone Celts and it has a link to the University of Wales, Project 8, website.

Barry R McCain

Ulster Heritage DNA Project