The Irish Ancestral Research Association

2012 TIARA Meetings

January 10, 2012

Marian Pierre-Louis

Discovering Immigrant Voices through House History Research

Marian Pierre-Louis is a House Historian and Genealogical Lecturer who specializes in southern New England research.

House history research in larger urban areas provides fascinating results. Two-family and multi-family homes often provide a microcosm of the waves of immigrants that have passed through a city in different generations. Learn to celebrate different types of housing and all the secrets they can reveal. Emphasis will be on Massachusetts sources.

Marian provided links and directions to the sources she discussed: Marian can be found at

February 10, 2012

Michael Brophy

The 1940 Census

Michael Brophy gave a talk about the 1940 US census, which is scheduled to be released to the public on April 2, 2012. It can then be found on The 1940 Census will not have a name index when it opens. In order to locate someone, you will need to know his or her address and the Census enumeration district in which that address was located.

Michael referred to two NARA documents: A3378 and T1224, which are helpful in preparing for the census. He also recommended for easy (and free!) tools to determine the Enumeration District.

He then explained the information that is new in the 1940 census, such as where the person lived in 1940, what level of education they had reached, and whether he was a veteran. Such data will be very interesting to genealogists.

March 24, 2012

Irish Genealogy Seminar

Jointly with the New England Historic Genealogical Society
held at NEHGS, 100 Newbury St., Boston, MA

This event was sold out well in advance. The attendees enjoyed two lectures on Irish research. A buffet of fresh fruit and pastry was laid out for the enjoyment of all, before the lectures began.

NEHGS Library Director, TIARA founder and member, Marie Daly presented From Bantry Bay to Derry Quay: Irish Geography for Genealogists. She described the geograhical divisions commonly used in Ireland: provinces, counties, baronies, parishes, townlands, and others. Using examples in Donegal and Cork, she explained the confusion surrounding the multitude of bureaucratic and religious divisions. Marie also gave a listing of Irish words often seen in place names and their meanings.

Irish poet and writer Kieran Furey shared Tales from Roscommon and stories of the famine. He read a number of poems from his book and explained how he came to write each one, and encouraged discussion from the audience. Many were about genealogy, immigration, and family ties.

After the morning's presentations, participants were invited to use the NEHGS research library for the rest of the day.

April 13, 2012

Castle Garden, The Barge Office, and Manhattan’s Pier: Immigration Through the Port of New York

by Nancy Levin

Castle Garden was America's first official immigration center, and welcomed newcomers from 1855 until 1890. Many immigrants who eventually settled in Boston may have passed through Castle Garden.

Manhattan's Pier was used before there was a formal immigrant reception process. The Barge Office became the temporary receiving office while the building on Ellis Island was being built, 1890-1892. It was again used when the new facilty on Ellis Island burned down, and had to be rebuilt, this time in brick.

Nancy Levin provided a detailed look at the reception of immigrants in New York City. She described the financial arrangements between New York City and New York State, the politics, and the experience from an immigrant point of view. She also discussed what the sea voyage must have been like during the 19th century, before laws were passed to protect the passengers.

May 18, 2012

Irish Estate Records for Genealogists

by R. Andrew Pierce

R. Andrew Pierce has been a professional genealogist since 1984, He formerly worked at New England Historic Genealogical Society. Andy specializes in Irish, New England, and American Indian research.

Andrew has transcribed the Sexton estate papers and donated the resulting information to the County Clare library. His publications include The Stones Speak: Irish Place Names From Inscriptions in Boston's Mount Calvary Cemetery (NEHGS, 2000); and The Wampanoag Genealogical History of Martha's Vineyard (GPC, 2003).

He spoke about the recent advances in making Estate Records available on line, and of the information that can be obtained from them. He gave an excample of a family that could be traced back to the mid 1700's through the records of one estate. Andrew explained Rent Rolls (or "Rentals"), Leases, Rent Ledgers, Maps and Surveys, Wage Accounts, Tenant Lists, and Valuations. He gave the following list of useful web sites:

June 9, 2012

Foresters Records of the Bread and Roses Families

by Susan Steele and Virginia Wright

This meeting was held at the Lawrence Heritage State Park at One Jackson Street, Lawrence, MA in the Community Room.

2012 is the 100th anniversary of the Bread and Roses strike in Lawrence. Thousands of people, many of them female, and many of them recent immigrants, walked out of the mills to protest short pay. The three-month strike made an impact all over the United States. The strike was settled on March 14, 1912 on terms generally favorable to the workers.

TIARA and the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists – Merrimack Valley will offer a special program at the Lawrence Heritage State Park. TIARA members Susan Steele and Virginia Wright will present a program on Foresters Records of the Bread and Roses Families. We will then enjoy a guided walking tour of the Lawrence Heritage State Park. Attendees will also have the option of visiting a Bread and Roses exhibit at the Everett Mill, which figured in the strike.

September 8, 2012

Dead Money: Researching Heirs from Ireland to Boston

Marie Daly and Michael Brophy

Marie Daily and Michael Brophy discussed their research for the Irish television program "Dead Money".

Researching heirs to estates using descendancy research can give depth and interest to any family history. Heirlooms, oral history, and pictures can be shared as a result. The episode of “Dead Money” discusses the later 19th century Irish Diaspora and ends with a family reunion in Boston. A woman died without a will in Galway, and a firm was directed to research her father's family to find her heirs. Her father was one of ten children, many of which emigrated to Boston before 1900. The short half-hour episode was shown along with a presentation of effective tools and techniques for finding the living.

October 12, 2012

Irish Genealogy 202: Six more ways to find your Irish ancestors

by Thomas Toohey

In this second lecture in a series, Tom Toohey presented "next steps" in finding your ancestors in the old country, including researching passenger lists, the Irish census, place name guides, cancellation books and the tithe books. Tom also discussed collateral research of friends and relatives of the ancestor in whom you are interested. He included music, animation, and Irish folklore to enliven the lecture.

Tom Toohey's parents were great storytellers. When they passed away, he published their stories in a two-volume book entitled Images of Other Lives. In the 1990's Tom began to study genealogy in a more serious way. He became interested in learning about the lives of his grandfathers who came from Ireland.

In 1994, Tom traveled to Ireland for the first time. During that trip he started tracing all of his Irish ancestors. Since then he has made twelve trips to Ireland and has discovered most of the homes of his ancestors. Along the way he had many fantastic adventures.

To aid his search, Tom joined TIARA. He wrote articles for the TIARA newsletter and eventually became the TIARA vice president. Tom is also active in the Chelmsford Genealogy Club.

Tom has a B. S. from the Universsity of Massachusetts at Lowell and an M. M. from the University of Hartford. He was a teacher for forty years and has done many presentations as an adjunct professor and guest lecturer.

November 10, 2012

The Rising at Roxbury Crossing

by James Redfearn

James Redfearn is the author of The Rising at Roxbury Crossing, a novel set in Boston during the 1919 police strike. Jim's interest in the subject came from stories of his own family in Ireland and Mission Hill. He served on the police force in Boston, and became intrigued when his father-in-law mentioned that his father had been a Boston policeman. In researching this man's history, Jim learned much more about the strike, and eventually created a novel set in that time. The main characters are Irish immigrants, as so many members of the force were in those years. Jim read a touching excerpt about the receipt of a letter from Ireland about the death of a mother back home.

December 8, 2012

Genealogy Apps for Mobile Devices

by Dick Eastman

Held jointly with the Massachusetts Society of Genealogists, Middlesex Chapter
at Cary Memorial Library, 1874 Massachusetts Ave., Lexington, MA.

Dick Eastman, a well-known speaker and blogger, publishes a daily newsletter on genealogy topics and technolgy helpful to the genealogist. It's called Eastman's Online Genealogical Newsletter.

Dick's talk covered the many electronic devices available for the genealogist, and the multitude of software applications ("apps") that are helpful. Many apps will run on Apple iOS, many will run on Android devices, some apps will run on both. Cellphones and tablets were discussed and compared. An extended question-and-answer period followed the talk.

View the recording of this program. The password for this program is "MSOG". The video is being made available with the generous permission of Dick Eastman.

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