The Irish Ancestral Research Association

2010 TIARA Meetings

January 8th, 2010

Robert Johnson-Lally

The Archdiocese of Boston Archives

Robert Johnson-Lally is the Archivist and Records Manager at the Archdiocese of Boston Archives in Braintree, Massachusetts.

Robert spoke of the holdings at the Archives, the history of record-keeping in the Catholic Church in Massachusetts, and how to access the records. Genealogy researchers are welcome, but since space is very limited, reservations must be made in advance. The Archives do not hold a copy of every sacramental record: often the individual parish churches hold those records. It is important to know the parish your ancestor lived in, particularly in Boston, where there were at one time 60 different parishes! Check the Archdiocese web site for contact information and a list of parish records held at the archives.

February 12th, 2010

Connie Reik

Federal Publications in World War II

Connie Reik, M.S.L., M.A., has been a reference librarian (for history, political science, economics and other related social science fields) and Government Publications Coordinator at Tisch Library at Tufts University, for almost 20 years. She teaches as many as 40 library instruction sessions a year, teaching students how to do research in history and other social science fields. She has a B.A. in History, British Studies and Medieval Studies, an M.A. in Medieval Studies and a Masters of Science in Librarianship. She has been working on her family history since college when she took a mini-course in genealogy. She has written a series of articles for NEHGS's New England Ancestors in 2006-2007. She is Vice President of the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists and a member of APG, the Genealogical Speakers Guild, the American Library Association/Reference and Services Association/History Committee and Government Documents Round Table/Rare and Endangered Publications Committee, and many state and local genealogical and historical societies.

Connie explianed how to use Federal publications to research World War II veterans. Using her father as a case study, Connie discussed the resources you can use to uncover your veteran's story. Some of the publications that have genealogical and historical information include campaign and unit histories of all the armed forces, accounts of African-Americans and women in the armed services, campaign histories, and autobiographies.

March 13th, 2010

Marie Daly

A Virtual Way to Tipperary: Finding Our Irish Ancestors Online

Eileen O'Duill

Newspapers, Street Directories & Occupational Records

This meeting was held at the New England Historic Genealogic Society

Eileen's lecture is part of the Diploma in Family History (Genealogy) taught at the Independent College in Dublin. Calling it her "mixed bag" lecture, Eileen talked about a variety of resources that might help you in your research.

April 10th, 2010

Janis Duffy

Irish Immigration, From Cobh to Boston

Vincent J. Cannato

American Passage: The History of Ellis Island

This was a joint meeting with
South Shore Genealogy Society at the Hingham Library.

Janis Duffy presented a new talk on Irish immigration, with photos of Ireland and Cobh, the expereince on the ship, and the arrival at the port of Boston in the mid-1800's. She showed photos of Boston wharves and the Custom House, and explained the process of arriving as a new emigrant. Janis P. Duffy is the Reference Supervisor at the Massachusetts State Archives and coordinator of the Archives Volunteer Program. She is Past President of TIARA (The Irish Ancestral Research Association). Janis has been pursuing her roots for almost 20 years and has led several research trips to Ireland.

Vincent J. Cannato spoke on Ellis Island's heyday - from 1892 to 1924 - which coincided with one of the greatest mass migrations of individuals the world has ever seen, with some 12 million immigrants inspected at its gates. His talk examined U.S. Immigration policy during those years as practiced at Ellis Island. Hediscussed the evolution of immigration law, the process of inspecting immigrants, and their effects on immigrants. He explained not just what immigrants went through, but also why they had to go through such a process in the first place.
Vincent J. Cannato is associate professor of history at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where he teaches courses on New York City history, Boston history, immigration history, and 20th-century American history. He is the author of American Passage: The History of Ellis Island (HarperCollins, 2009); The Ungovernable City: John Lindsay and his Struggle to Save New York (Basic Books, 2001); and co-editor of Living in the Eighties, (Oxford University Press, 2009). Prof. Cannato has written for numerous publications, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

May 8th, 2010

Writer's Workshop for the Irish Researcher

at Bentley University, Adamian Commons, Waltham MA


Schedule and Presenters


Registration & Welcome - Continental Breakfast is available with bakery-fresh muffins, Danish, bagels, scones and croissants, seasonal fresh fruit and yogurt. Assorted juices, coffee and tea are included.

Between the Lines: Writing and Illustrating Your Family History By: Marcia Melnyk
Marcia Iannizzi Melnyk is a professional genealogist who has taught beginning and advanced genealogy courses for more than 18 years. She is the author of The Genealogist's Handbook for New England Research, Fourth Edition; The Weekend Genealogist: Timesaving techniques for Effective Research, The Genealogist's Question and Answer Book and Family History 101. Marcia is President, and a founding member, of The Italian Genealogical Society of America, a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG), former executive board member of the New England Regional Genealogical Conference (NERGC) as well as many local and national societies.
10:30am: Question & Answer Period

Break for lunch (included in the cost of registration.) Basic deli buffet consisting of sandwiches, potato chips, cookies, water and assorted soft drinks.
12:30pm: Telling the Family Story - From Blogs to Scrapbooks By: Maureen Taylor
For the past 10 years, Maureen A. Taylor has been providing in-depth analysis of historical photos, primarily for people who are researching their family histories. In 2007, The Wall Street Journal called her "the nation's foremost historical photo detective." Maureen's books and articles focus on family photography, history and genealogy.
1:30pm: Question & Answer Period

June 10th, 2010

Kevin O'Hara

The Last of the Donkey Pilgrims

The warm-hearted story of an Irish-American who went back to Ireland in 1979 to discover his roots. He traveled the entire coastline of Ireland with a donkey and a cart, and wrote a book about his expereinces and the people he met.

Some people search for the truth of their lives in their families and in their past. Some go back to their roots in an effort to discover who were the people who helped shape their lives.

September 10th, 2010


Mary Lee Dunn


Mary Lee Dunn has a MA in history from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell where she worked for many years. During her graduate studies Mary Lee became aware of a rent strike that occurred in the 1840's in Ballykilcline townland in County Roscommon Ireland. The tenants of Ballykilcline were among the first to revolt against the coercive famine era rents and refused to pay them. Many were evicted and found their way to the U.S. A number of them settled in Rutland Vermont where they found work in the quarries.

Mary Lee subsequently wrote a book about them called Ballykilcline Rising. Her research is impeccable, yet her book is very readable. It includes references to a number of little-known sources for genealogical investigation. Her presentation to us will include references to Massachusetts descendants of Roscommon. She will also speak about the Ballykilcline Society, of which she is a founding member.

October 2nd, 2010

Michael Brophy
Kilroy was here: : A Genealogy case of a WWII Cultural Phenomenon

Michael Brophy is a professional genealogical researcher, columnist and lecturer in the Boston area. He is Publicity Director of the Massachusetts Genealogical Council and past Treasurer of the New England of Association of Professional Genealogists. He holds an MBA degree from Suffolk University and a BBA from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He was the lead researcher in Massachusetts for the recently released book from St Martin's Press The Remains of Company D, A Story of the Great War. By James Carl Nelson

Kilroy provided so much more than a unique and unforgettable cultural expression. A contest sponsored by Amalgamated Transit Union after the War established the real man behind the legend. An Irish-American with roots in the Emerald Isle, Kilroy left behind a rich family history that demonstrates a wide variety of methodology and source material. From vital records to court records and legislative documents, come join us to meet the man behind the myth.

November 14th, 2010

Mary Pat Kelly
Galway Bay

Mary Pat Kelly spoke at the TIARA banquet at the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, MA. After a delicious dinner and entertainment by the Irish Cultural Center Singers, she told the story of finding her Irish heritage.

Mary Pat grew up in the Chicago area, and didn't know much about Ireland. A trip there in 1969 awoke a desire to learn more. Fortunately, she had an aunt in her nineties who was raised by Honora Kelly, the immigrant ancestor. Honora was born in 1822 and survived the Great Starvaton, bringing her children to Chicago and making a life there. Honora's sons fought in the U.S. Civil War, and her grandson became the Mayor of Chicago.

Mary Pat's research eventually led to her novel, Galway Bay, which "captured both the tragedy and triumph of the Irish-American experience". Mary Pat Kelly has published numerous books, written and directed films and documentaries, been a screenwriter and a producer, and earned a degree in Irish Studies from the City University of New York.

December 10th, 2010

Elyse Luray
History Detectives' Research Methods

Elyse Luray is one of the hosts of The History Detectives on PBS Television. Her talk featured a video clip from the renowned PBS TV series, which is devoted to exploring the complexities of historical mysteries that connect family legends and local folklore with interesting objects. The hosts of this program are a high-energy group of renowned experts in the world of historical investigations. Their expertise ranges from popular culture and sociology to archeology, collectibles and genealogy. Using traditional investigative techniques and modern technology, the history detective team gives new - and sometimes shocking - insights into our history. They have helped dozens of ordinary people solve family mysteries by tracing artifacts, documents and letters back to their ancestors.

Elyse Luray, a host of the popular PBS TV series History Detectives, is an art appraiser and historian. In her role on the series she has investigated dozens of objects, documents and letters submitted by ordinary people and traced them to their origins. She has explained many family mysteries that have baffled others.

Elyse prepared for her role with a degree in art history from Tulane University. After college Elyse began a career at Christie's, the prominent New York auction house. Presently Elyse is a vice president at Christie's and where she has appraised numerous collections of popular arts objects for auction. She is also active as an auctioneer for charitable causes throughout the country.

In addition to her work with the History Detectives Elyse has many other TV credits. She is an appraiser for Antiques Roadshow and If the Walls Could Talk. She also hosts Treasure Seekers on Rainbow Media's satellite service.

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