Irish Lives Remembered
A perennial problem for genealogy publications or websites is the narrow range of naming options. Ancestors, ancestry, family history, or roots, and that’s it. (“Roots”, incidentally, would not be nearly as popular if more people were familiar with Australian slang. “To root” is an Aussie synonym for the more familiar four-letter Anglo-Saxon f-word. Which casts a whole new light on “Irish Roots”.)
There have been a few valiant attempts to escape the naming monotony, with FindMyPast the most conspicuous. But the best I’ve come across is the title of an online genealogy magazine founded just a few months ago, Irish Lives Remembered (irishlivesremembered.ie). The title manages to capture one of the main drivers of research, people’s need to ensure their ancestors are not forgotten.
The contents of the magazine, published monthly, are also quite special. Eileen Munnelly, the publisher, has long years of media and publishing experience in Ireland and Australia, and it shows. The quality of layout and design is superb, with every page more eye-catching than the last. Each issue has a full 70 pages, allowing room for a very well balanced mix – articles on county research, on individual families and family artefacts, stories of migration, reviews, events listings and more.
But the most extraordinary thing about the magazine is that it’s completely free. The fact that it appears purely online most emphatically does not mean it costs nothing to produce. The design is carefully tailored for mobile or tablet devices such as the iPad and that will make it attractive to advertisers. But hardly attractive enough to make a profit, at least not under current conditions. As far as I can make out, the only commercial element is an online service hosting memorials dedicated to the memory of people with Irish heritage around the world. If there is any justice, the quality of the product alone should guarantee success. I can only wish them the very best of luck.
['Irish Roots archive from 2009 at www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/magazine/column]