The National Institute for Genealogical Studies


The National Institute for Genealogical Studies - LEADERS IN ONLINE GENEALOGY EDUCATION

Our Recent Irish Records Graduates

Continuing to post Congratulations to Our Recent Graduates 
**Please see previous blog post with a Message from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies to all recent graduates. 

What an impressive achievement! It took a lot of hard work, patience, and determination to reach your goal. It is time to celebrate the success of all our recent graduates. We are so very proud of all of you. 

Introducing the Graduates of the Irish Records Certificate between June 2019 and October 2021. 

Karen Henkelman, PLCGS
Lilian Magill, PLCGS
Kelly Woynarowich, PLCGS

Warmest congratulations to all our graduates… 

Louise St Denis and our team at The National Institute for Genealogical Studies 
Graduates have completed all requirements for our 40-course Irish Records Certificate, which includes the following compulsory Irish Records courses:

Basic Level
Irish: Archival Repositories
Irish: Census and Census Substitute Records
Irish: Conformist and Non-Conformist Church Records
Irish: Understanding Ireland, History and Source Records

Intermediate Level
Irish: Civil Registration
Irish: Land Administration Records
Irish: Major Printed Sources
Irish: Monumental (Gravestone) Inscriptions
Irish: Testamentary Source Records

Advanced Level
Irish: Court Records, State Papers, Parliamentary Documents
Irish: Electoral & Taxation Records
Irish: Estate, Plantation and Settlement Records
Irish: Immigration, Naturalization and Emigration Records
Irish: Military, Naval and Pension Records
To recognize all of our graduates throughout the years, please go to our website at, click on the menu item INSTITUTE, and then GRADUATES. Be patient, the list is long and therefore takes time to display. 

For a full list of Certificates from The National Institute for Genealogical Studies, please visit our website.
Visit our website for a complete list of online courses offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. Check our Course Calendar here
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*Note: Please be aware our social media accounts are monitored regularly, but NOT 24/7. If you have any questions, please contact the office directly. 

Contact information:
1 (800) 580-0165


Ulster Historical Foundation Lecture Tour, 2015:  Yakima, Washington

By Deborah Dale, student

Whether or not three brothers on my paternal side really did make the journey from Ulster to Maryland during the seventeenth century is beside the point. The point is that I recently traveled to Yakima, Washington to attend several fantastic lectures hosted by the Yakima Valley Genealogical Society and presented by Fintan Mullan and Gillian Hunt of the Ulster Historical Foundation, who were winding down their 2015 genealogy lecture tour.

I arrived just in time for the introductions of the speakers and the first lecture. After giving my name at the registration area, I picked up my conference packet, which included pages and pages in a spiral-bound book created by PRONI (the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland), which began with a section on How to Trace Your Family Tree and continued with sections on the 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses, census substitutes, wills and probate, church records, valuation records, national education records, and much more.

The room was full with only a few seats still open. I sat down at a table at the back of the room as Fintan Mullan started speaking, and as I noticed various flyers of family history resources lying on the table, which apparently complemented my conference packet and included a nice heritage map of the Ulster Plantation, large enough to hang on a wall. Also included was a flyer from the Irish Manuscripts Commission, a public body established in 1928 that promotes access to sources of Irish history and culture. At its website, one can find out of print titles and even digitized editions.

I made notes of things I hadn’t known, such as the average size of a townland (about 325 acres) in Ireland and the size of the largest townland (over 7,000 acres) and the smallest (about  1 acre). I also didn’t know that the reason some townlands like Lower Aghaboy in County Tyrone is actually north of or above Upper Aghaboy is because their distances were measured from Dublin, so that lower Aghaboy appeared farther away.

During a lecture by Gillian Hunt, I made notes on interesting, humorous tidbits found in Irish censuses such as the occupation of a 6-year-old as “He torments the house,” or the occupation of an 8-month old as “sinner,” or the reporting of a wife with a “loose tongue,” or the more serious occupation of a woman as “militant suffragette.”

I also took notes about the Registry of Deeds (Dublin) Indexing project that you can read about here:, but before I knew it, the day was over all too soon and I was leaving Yakima, headed east on I-82, on a somewhat blustery, sunny afternoon.

Now as I contemplate the information I gleaned, I am thinking about other conferences I will be able to attend and their importance to my genealogical education. I end by wishing you the ability to attend as many local and national conferences that you can.

From the Virtual Meeting: Irish Resources

Cork City Gaol by artur84/Courtesy

Cork City Gaol by artur84/Courtesy

Did you attend the Irish Virtual Meeting with Brenda this month? If not, you missed some great genealogy resources.

Here’s just a few she discussed:

FamilySearch – Search Historical Records by Location


National Library of Ireland

Irish Genealogy Toolkit

Irish Genealogy Toolkit – Family Relationship Chart


Don’t miss another meeting! Mark your calendar for June 23rd at 4:00pm EDT for the next Irish Virtual Meeting.

Irish Landed Estate Records:  Piepowder, Anyone?

By Deborah Dale, Student

My binder, full of material from the course, Irish: Land Administration Records  felt somewhat heavy after eight weeks of studying.  I carried it to my desk, to the open spot between several stacks of files, along with some just brewed coffee.

Parkes Castle Ireland. Courtesy of

Parkes Castle Ireland. Courtesy of

At the window I paused to look at the gray sky and wondered if it resembled the color over County Waterford — on what was perhaps a cool January morning in 1851 – when my 3rd great grandfather Michael Higgins, a Roman Catholic tenant farmer, could have walked the length of the land he occupied.

I opened my binder to the module about Irish landed estate records (Module 4), which had been for me the most interesting, not only because these records include lists of tenants, but also because I had been suddenly, but enjoyably, catapulted into the history of a word I knew nothing about:  piepowder.

I will explain in a few moments.  First, a couple of things about landed estate records:  1) they can be used as a substitute for Ireland’s nineteenth century census returns, which were mostly destroyed in the Four Courts fire of 1922, and 2) even though Module 4 gives a description of the most common estate documents, it does not fail to mention the difficulties a researcher may encounter during the search process.

The module also mentions the right of Irish landowners to hold manorial courts.  In Ireland, these consisted of the court-baron, the court-leet and the court of piepowder.

Piepowder?   At first reading, my eyes scrolled to the footnotes for an explanation.  Who knew that a French term meaning “dusty feet” was associated with the word piepowder and the trying of cases involving travelers from out of town (mostly merchants)?

A series of questions emerged: did traveling merchants in Ireland often trespass estate boundaries?  Were Irish courts of Piepowder named after English courts of piepowder?  If so, how did the English courts, which had been associated with markets and fairs, become associated with Irish estates?  Did Irish estates hold markets and fairs?  Did my ancestor Michael Higgins attend them?  These and other questions were sparked simply by reading the material from the Irish: Land Administration Records course.

Now, the morning is long over and I feel some sense of accomplishment:  the assignments for this course have all been submitted and I will take the exam shortly, my first at the intermediate level in the Irish records program.



Irish Genealogy Resources

Irish Flag  by Stuart Miles/Courtesy of

Irish Flag by Stuart Miles/Courtesy of

Looking for some Irish genealogy resources to break down your brick walls? Look no further than our Irish Records Virtual Meeting hosted by professional genealogist Brenda Wheeler. Each meeting Brenda shares tips and resources to help you search for your Irish ancestors.

This month, Brenda shared the following websites:

Boston College – Information Wanted (Boston Pilot newspaper advertisements)

The Irish Times – Irish Ancestors (Place and surname aid)

Library Ireland –A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland (1837)

logainm (Irish maps)

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland – Family History

Registry of Deeds Indexing Project Ireland

The National Archives of Ireland – Genealogy

Curious Fox

GENUKI – Ireland

Origins. net – Irish Origins


Join Brenda on April 13, 2015 at 8:00pm (EST) for the next Irish Records Virtual Meeting.

Searching for Irish Ancestors on the Internet Webinar

Join us on Tuesday, February 18th at 7:00 PM EST, when Gail Wilson-Waring will be presenting Searching for Irish Ancestors on the Internet.


Gail Wilson-Waring. Used with permission.

Gail Wilson-Waring. Used with permission.

The National Institute for Genealogical Studies course, Lecturing Skills Including Preparation, teaches the skills needed to present genealogical-related lectures. It is a “hands on” course where the student presents a lecture via our Virtual Learning Room. These are 30-minute lectures, followed by a 10-minute Question & Answer period and a short poll to provide the student with feedback on their skills.

Presenter: Gail Wilson-Waring is a genealogical consultant for the NZ TV Series Family Secret. She is a graduate of the National Institute for Genealogical Studies.

Presentation Description: A Google search of “Irish Family History” returned over 146,000,000 results. This presentation investigates some of the records available on line including Church Records, Civil Registration, Census, Census Substitutes, Wills and Emigration.

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