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John Grenham’s definitive guide, “Tracing Your Irish Ancestors,” first published in 1991, is now available in a fifth edition and is an essential text for the beginning genealogist as well as more experienced researchers.

In addition to chapters devoted to such topics as getting started, census records, church records, land records, etc., a major part of the book is devoted to individual counties in Ireland and resources available for each in the following categories: census returns and substitutes, online resources, publications, local journals, directories, gravestone inscriptions and estate records. (It should be noted that the total number of publications for all the counties is several hundred — a most comprehensive bibliography for Irish research.)

Also listed are Roman Catholic Parish Records for each county, with dates of searchable baptisms, marriages and burials and the locations of these records (which are at the National Library of Ireland, the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, the LDS Family History Library, local heritage centers, and

The chapter on the Internet has been greatly expanded with updated links to data and resources; also vital websites are identified throughout the text.

“Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: Fifth Edition” is a 672-page, illustrated, indexed, hardcover book, ISBN 978-0-8063-2097-7, that can be ordered from Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc., 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, MD 21211-1953 as Item #7730 at the special price of $38.50 plus shipping (first book $5.50; each additional book $2.50).

Visa and MasterCard orders may be placed toll-free at 1-800-296-6687 or at the publisher’s website,

New Irish lives remembered online

The most recent issue of “Irish Lives Remembered: Ireland’s Premier Genealogy Magazine” (Issue 45, Summer 2019) is now available, free, at

In addition to regular columns such as Dear Genie (a genealogical query), Photo Detective and others, a featured article pertains to the surname Kavanaugh/Cavanagh and its relatives, Kinsella and Redmond. There is also an interesting article, “Linking Your DNA to Ireland’s Ancient Kings & Queens.”

Law to protect DNA data

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has recently signed legislation designed to prohibit companies that provide direct-to-consumer commercial genetic testing, such as and 23andMe, from sharing test results with health or life insurance companies without the consumer’s consent. Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter recently reported this action and quotes state Senator Rachelle Crowe: “Keeping genetic information confidential is crucial to protecting a person’s right to privacy.”

Illinois House Bill 2189 may be found at and become effective on Jan. 1, 2020.

Writing competition is back

The International Society of Family History Writers and Editors (ISFHWE) is now accepting applications (through 15 March 2020) for its “Excellence in Writing” Competition. (See announcement at This competition is open to both members and non-members of ISFHWE, of both published and unpublished material. The categories include (1) columns; (2) articles; (3) newsletters; (4) unpublished material by unpublished authors; (5) unpublished material by published authors; and (6) poetry/song.

Winners (1st, 2nd, 3rd) in each category will be awarded a prize and a digital certificate. Judging Guidelines can be found at An entry form can be found at The awards will be announced in the spring of 2020.

Britain’s prime minister related to queen

The BBC’s program, “Who Do You Think You Are,” recently documented that Britain’s new prime minister, Boris Johnson, is related to Queen Elizabeth.

Details are provided in Dick Eastman’s Online Genealogy Newsletter found at Johnson is also related to at least 10 U.S. presidents.

Queries, genealogical questions from researchers and genealogical materials readers would like to share will be printed in this column free. Joan Griffis may be reached via email at or by sending a letter to Illinois Ancestors, c/o The News-Gazette, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.