Irish Roots

March 22nd, 2010

John Grenham

Brian Mitchell's name is well known to everyone involved in Irish genealogy. Since the 1980s he has published 11 books dealing directly with family history, some of them absolutely essential reference works such as the Guide to Irish Churches and Graveyards, the Guide to Irish Parish Registers and the New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland. He has also written at least three works on the local history of the Derry/Londonderry area. And in addition, for almost three decades he has done an outstanding job of running The Genealogy Centre, now based in the Harbour Museum in Derry city. Some of the fruits of his work are visible in the extraordinarily comprehensive collection of Derry church records of all denominations now searchable via the Irish Family History Foundation website, www.irish-roots.ie.

While it has taken some of us decades to grasp the notion that being Irish comes in more than one flavour, Brian has quietly taken it for granted right from the outset, and goes on doing so. Since Christmas, he has just published two more books, Defenders of the Plantation of Ulster, 1641-1691, detailing almost 2,500 planters who played a part in defending Londonderry during the 1641 rebellion and the Williamite War of 1688-1691, and The Surnames of North West Ireland: Concise Histories of the Major Surnames of Gaelic and Planter Origin, 324 superb single-page histories of the surnames of Derry, Donegal and Tyrone, covering the names carried by almost 80% of the population in the region.

For anyone interested in family or local history in the North West, on both sides of the border, from any tradition, these works are essential. They are available, like all of Brian's genealogical work, from The Genealogical Publishing Company in Baltimore, www.genealogical.com.


Comments and suggestions are welcome, to irishrootsatirishtimes.com.


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