Friday, 26 August 2016

What a Great Gathering!

Well the dust is beginning to settle on what was a fabulous weekend of talks and some great tours and research days the following week.

We arrived early on Friday to set up the hall and people meandered in, chatted, put up their pedigree charts, browsed the stands and posters, and generally mingled and socialised. Several people made major breakthroughs in their family tree research during the course of the 6 days. 

The Pedigree Charts always attracted a large crowd during the coffee breaks

We had a great turnout for the opening lecture from Danny Grace and it was a privilege to have so many members of Dermot F. Gleeson's family with us. The wine and cheese afterwards from Peter Ward's local pantry was delicious and really made the evening special.

The Opening Night crowd

The Saturday Lectures covered a wide range of topics and there were some great discussions following them. All the talks were excellent and I was particularly moved by two of the talks in particular - Noelle Dowling's talk on Fr Francis Gleeson and his commitment to the Munster Fusiliers; and the presentation by Sean Delaney and Kevin Gleeson on Harry Gleeson, the man wrongfully hanged for murder in 1941. There were times when I had to compose myself before speaking.

The Justice for Harry Gleeson Group with the Gleeson Clan Gathering Committee members

But well done all round to the speakers at this year's event and the huge amount of work they put into their presentations. You will be pleased to hear that these were successfully recorded and will be uploaded to the Gleeson Clan Gathering YouTube Channel over the course of the next several weeks.

There was also a great interest in DNA testing and 32 people altogether had their DNA tested (including 9 men who tested their Y-DNA). These results should be available in the next 6-10 weeks. And a big thank you goes out to FamilyTreeDNA, the Gathering's biggest sponsor.

DNA testing at the back of the hall

The tours on Sunday, Monday & Tuesday were well attended and everyone had a great time. A big thank you to all our tour guides who really made the local history come alive. 

Sunday's tour of Kilmore graveyard with John Kennedy, Pat Sheehan & Denis Gleeson
There will be a Photo Album prepared in the next several weeks which will document each day of the Gathering, where we went and what we did. It will make a nice memento and keepsake.

Thank you to everyone who helped make the Gathering such a special event.

Maurice Gleeson
August 2016

Dolla Church & Cemetery tour with John Kennedy, Pat Sheehan & Denis Gleeson

Holycross Abbey tour with John Bourke

Rock of Cashel tour

Franciscan Abbey, Nenagh with Caimin O'Brien

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Look who's coming?!

With only a few days to go before the Gathering, here is a breakdown of the people who are definitely coming and have pre-booked. Not everyone has pre-booked, so we can expect a sizeable proportion more than those mentioned below. And we expect many of the local people to come out on the day itself, many of them no doubt lured by the promise of FREE DNA TESTS!!

Keep an eye on the special Facebook group for photos, videos, and updates. And if you are coming to the Gathering, be sure to upload your own photos to it - that's why it was set up ...

Join the Facebook group - it's open to the Public

Ninety people have pre-booked so we will expect to have well over 100 people at the Gathering. We have at least 31 people coming from Ireland, 22 from the UK, 23 from the US, 8 from Australia, 2 each from Canada, New Zealand and Switzerland, and one from Hong Kong. What a diverse group we Gleeson's are! It will be an honour to welcome all our attendees, both local and from foreign shores.

Fifty seven people have pre-booked for the Friday Evening Lecture followed by the cheese & wine reception. And a further 46 will be attending the Saturday Lecture Programme, culminating with the free public lecture from the Justice for Harry Gleeson group.

The tours are filling up nicely and 18 people have already pre-booked the tour of Silvermines Village with Michael O'Brien on Sunday, followed by lunch at Tom Hickey's. I suspect that some might never leave the pub. That will be a long Sunday!

On Monday, we have at least 15 people joining us on our Day Trip to Thurles, including Holycross Abbey and the Rock of Cashel. And all these activities are part of National Heritage Week  - no better time to celebrate our Gleeson heritage.

Visitors to the Gathering from far-flung places like the States, Canada, Australia and Dublin may have some difficulty being understood by the locals because of the difference in accents between the various places.

However, help is at hand thanks to a local man from Borrisoleigh. Paddy O'Connell has invented a spray that can help you be understood virtually anywhere in Ireland.

Just one puff of the spray at the back of your throat will convert your accent instantly to an understandable brogue very akin to the accent from north Cork. The spray works by virtue of the fact that it tastes absolutely terrible (ignore the advertising) and just one puff is enough to make you want to gag. Scientists have shown that this reflex action actually contorts the shape of the larynx, thus converting the accent (naturally) into something similar to what you might hear in North Cork.

The spray is being offered at a discounted price to those attending the Gathering - just contact Paddy and use the code GCG2016.

Don't say we don't bend over backwards to make things easy for you.


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Free DNA Tests! You pay nothing!!!

Thanks to the Silvermines DNA Project and the Gleason/Gleeson DNA Project, we have some free DNA tests to give away to some very lucky people at the Gleeson Clan Gathering!

Just send an email to stating which criteria you meet below and the lucky winners will be chosen from the list of applications on Thursday 18th August and notified by email that day. Include your name, email address and mobile telephone number.

Even if you don't meet all the criteria, you could still win. It all depends on how many people are interested!!

To see what the different tests can do for you, read this previous blog post here

FREE Family Finder tests

The Family Finder test uses autosomal DNA to detect
genetic relatives on ALL of your ancestral lines
(back to about 5-7 generations)
Ten Family Finder tests (worth $99 each) are being offered on a first come first served basis to anyone who meets all or most of the following criteria:
  1. You are able to come down to the Scouts Hall, Nenagh (Friday 19th Aug 1-6pm) and get your cheek swabbed by Maurice Gleeson (or meet up with him for same over the course of the Gathering, Aug 19-24)
  2. You have not already tested your autosomal DNA with any company
  3. You have all 4 grandparents born in North Tipperary
  4. You have researched your genealogy and have a well-developed family tree
  5. You are happy to collaborate with your DNA matches & share your family tree information as appropriate
  6. You have an online Family Tree (e.g. on Ancestry, Rootsweb, MyHeritage, etc)
  7. If you are a man, you are willing to buy a Y-DNA-37 test for $129 (about 115 euro)

DISCOUNTED Y-DNA-37 tests for a Gleeson man

Y-DNA travels down your father's father's father's line
and tells us more about our Gleeson origins
In addition, we have a number of subsidised Y-DNA-37 kits (only $69 each) to give to any local Gleeson men who meet all or most of the following criteria:
  1. You are able to come down to the Scouts Hall, Nenagh (Friday 19th Aug 1-6pm) and get your cheek swabbed by Maurice Gleeson (or meet up with him for same over the course of the Gathering, Aug 19-24)
  2. You have not already had your Y-DNA tested at FTDNA
  3. You have a Gleeson line that has been traced back before 1800
  4. You have researched your genealogy and have a well-developed family tree
  5. You are happy to collaborate with your DNA matches & share your family tree information as appropriate
  6. You have an online Family Tree (e.g. on Ancestry, Rootsweb, MyHeritage, etc)

Simply copy and paste these criteria into an email, indicate the ones you meet, and send your details to as soon as you can. The lucky winners will be announced (and contacted by email) the day before the Gathering (Aug 18).

FREE Y-DNA-37 tests for any man!

Finally, many of the volunteer DNA Project Administrators at FamilyTreeDNA are willing to sponsor a free Y-DNA test for people with particular surnames. Check out the list of Free DNA Tests here and if you see your name there, contact the Project Administrator and see if you qualify for a free test. Included on the list are a whole host of Tipperary names such as McEntire, Meagher,  Morrissey, and Ogan.

Good luck!

Maurice Gleeson
August 2016

Tuesday, 9 August 2016

Free Genealogy Consultations

On Friday the 19th August from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Nora O’Gleeson O’Meara will be provide Free Genealogy Consultations in the Scouts Hall. She will also be available during the week at the North Tipperary Genealogy Centre.

North Tipperary Genealogy Centre
Finding your North Tipperary Roots has never been easier. The North Tipperary Genealogy Centre is located in the Governor’s House (the Old Gaol) in Nenagh and is run under the auspices of Tipperary County Council. The Genealogy Centre provides a genealogical research service for people whose ancestors originated in North Tipperary. Research is undertaken by the Genealogist on a small fee basis.

Nora O’Meara, M.A. is a professional Genealogist and has managed the Genealogy Centre for the last 28 years. Thousands of people have engaged the Genealogy Centre to undertake research and locate their living relatives and identify their old homestead. There is a similar Genealogy Centre in almost every County in Ireland. 

Sources used for research are the Church Baptismal and Marriage parish records, Civil births, deaths and marriages, Land Records i.e. The Griffiths/Primary Valuation Lists, The Tithe Applotment Books, the 1901 and 1911 Census, Gravestone Inscriptions and several other specific genealogical sources pertaining to a particular County, parish maps and local contact/knowledge.

The North Tipperary Genealogy Centre,
located in The Governor's House (Old Gaol)

Online Service
Those wishing to undertake their own research can now access a central website dedicated to providing a one stop shop for all the available Irish genealogical records on the island of Ireland at This Online Service is a tool which provides the Irish Diaspora worldwide access to their Irish origins. The website currently contains over 20 million birth, baptismal, marriage, death, census and gravestone records from the 1600s to the 1900s. 

In every conceivable manner, the family is a link to our past and a bridge to our future. 

What you need to trace your Irish Ancestors
Locating the County of origin is the central and essential question to tracing any emigrant line. Start looking where they ended their lives and move backwards to the port of arrival or where they married. Check out obituaries, death notices and gravestones, census records, naturalization papers, military/employment records.

Once you have the name of the person and approximate date of birth and county of origin you can then contact the particular Genealogy Centre or go online and commence the process.

Contact Details

Nora O’Meara, M.A. Genealogist, North Tipperary Genealogy Centre,

The Governor’s House, Kickham St., Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, Ireland.

Telephone: + 353 67 33850

Maurice Gleeson
August 2016

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Meet the Tour Guides

A hugely important aspect of the Gathering is not just coming together for the chat and the craic, but to learn about our ancestors and actually visit the places that were important to them. This gives us a deeper sense of where we came from and makes us feel rooted in our history. To this end we have put together some great tour guides, people with vast local knowledge, who will take us on a journey into our past and leave us feeling awed and moved by the stories of our ancestors and the times they lived through.

Saturday 20th August

Our first tour is a rare visit to the iconic Nenagh Castle on Saturday at 5.30 pm, led by Kevin Whelan who is one of the most interesting and knowledgeable people you will ever meet. 

Kevin has worked as a guide in Damer House, Roscrea, and at the Swiss Cottage in Cahir, and has always had a great interest in local history.

He gathered much of the information for his various tours from Nenagh Library and Nenagh Heritage Centre as well as from local historian and teacher Danny Grace, but he was also able to pick his mother’s brains for some of the anecdotes told on the tour. When the old folk get together they tell all the old stories about Nenagh and Kevin enjoys listening to them and incorporating the choicest tales into his repertoire of local history.

Nenagh Castle - 1600's?

Nenagh Castle - 1800's?

Kevin is also providing several opportunities over the course of the Gathering for his Walking Tour of Nenagh and this is not to be missed. I have been on his walking tour and it is marvellous. Kevin will chat and answer any questions you may have. These start at Banba Square outside Nenagh Arts Centre and last for approx one hour covering a distance of 1km (0.6 miles).
Relax as you stroll through the Historic town of Nenagh as your guide Kevin brings to life the unique history of the town, its characters, and its historical event's, starting with its beginning from bloody medieval times, through war and famine, then growing into a thriving market town. A truly fulfilling event after which you will come away with a lot more knowledge of the area and pleased that you participated in the tour. Look forward to seeing you all for the Gleeson gathering.

Kevin is offering daily walking tours throughout the Gathering (August 19-24). See the Programme of Events for further information, or contact Kevin directly by email, or on 086 1247945, or message him via his website

Sunday 21st August

At noon on Sunday, Michael O'Brien leads us on a guided walk around the village of Silvermines, in the heart of Gleeson country.
My name is Michael O’Brien. I am a native of Silvermines and have spent my entire teaching career in the parish as Principal of Lissenhall National School. I retired in 2001 and since then have spent a number of years as secretary of the Tipperary GAA Board. I am involved in the Silvermines Historical Society since its inception and am presently the chairperson of its editing committee. We are pleased that we have published four books on the history of the parish and environs and are presently preparing for a fifth book. 
I will be leading a walk-about of Silvermines village on Sunday, August 21 when I will recall details of buildings and events in the village. 

Michael O'Brien

After a light lunch in Hickey's pub, there will be a series of tours of local graveyards, highlighting places and stories of particular historical significance to the Gleeson's. The locations of these cemeteries can be found on the Gleeson Clan Gathering map and there will be several cars travelling to each of the cemeteries so you can easily "hitch a ride" (we will sort it out over lunch in Hickey's at 1pm). We have four tour guides leading these trips: 
  • 14.30-15.30 - Kilmore cemetery tour (Pat Sheehan & Denis Gleeson)
  • 15.45-16.45 - Kilboy cemetery tour, Dolla (John Kennedy)
  • 17.00 -18.00 - Kilnaneave cemetery tour (Joe Gleeson)

Denis Gleeson
Denis Gleeson is a Senior Training Advisor at Tipperary Education & Training Board, and was born in Silvermines parish - Kilriffith, Dolla. He is a member of Silvermines Historical Society (SHS), and has a keen interest in local history, particularly in mining having spent some years employed in the mining industry in the area (Mogul mines). Denis has written and given presentations on the subject of mining in the Silvermines locality. 

Pat Sheehan
Pat Sheehan is also a member of the Silvermines Historical Society and together with his wife, runs the Hillview Bed & Breakfast guesthouse in Silvermines village where they have welcomed visitors from far and near including many people tracing their ancestors. A former employee of Magcobar (Ireland) Ltd, Pat has a wealth of local knowledge and undertakes regular tours on behalf of the SHS.

John Kennedy
John Kennedy is Chairman of the Silvermines Historical Society and also does regular tours. The Silvermines Historical Society held its first meeting in January 2012. Since then the SHS meet monthly at The Eagle's Nest in Dolla.

The aim of the society is to collect and preserve local history that might otherwise be lost. The steady increasing Membership of the SHS and the ever-growing interest in local history, story-telling, folklore, and folk history culminated in their first publication in November 2012 - Mining the Past. This journal has been printed annually since then and is available to buy on the SHS website.

The last tour of the day will be led by Joe Gleeson Benedine. At the end of the tour, a wreath will be laid at the grave of Dermot F Gleeson by Michael G Gleeson, Chairman of the Gleeson Clan Gathering.
I will be speaking about my family the Gleesons from Curraghanuddy/Millbrook. I can trace them back to the late 1700"s. The family included Dermot F Gleeson and his uncle the Rev John Gleeson - both eminent local historians - Rev Tim Corcoran first Head of Education in the National University of Ireland, and Mayor Al Gleeson London, Ontario. Other family members were scattered as far apart as Scotland, South Africa, & Hong Kong, etc ... a reflection of the Irish diaspora.
Joe Gleeson Benedine

Tuesday 22nd August

Caiman O'Brien leads us on a tour of Medieaval Nenagh on Tuesday at 11 am. Caimin is based in Nenagh. He works as an archaeologist with the Archaeological Survey of Ireland which is a section of the National Monuments Service of the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs. He graduated from University College Galway with a degree in archaeology and later earned an M. Litt. in Medieval History at Trinity College Dublin. His publications include: 
  • The Archaeological Inventory of County Offaly, 
  • The Medieval Churches of County Offaly, 
  • Archaeological Inventory of County Tipperary, North Riding, 
  • Stories from a Sacred Landscape: Croghan Hill to Clonmacnoise 
  • Guidelines for the Care, Conservation and Recording of Historic Graveyards
Daily life in Medieval Nenagh. What was it like? Caimin will give an architectural and historical tour of the Franciscan Abbey followed by a walk down to Kenyon Street church and graveyard where all aspects of medieval life in Nenagh will be discussed with particular emphasis on the role of religion and the religious orders in the everyday lives of the people who lived in the medieval town. 

Also on Tuesday at 7pm in Silvermines, we have a short tour and talk in an old minework building dating back to the early 1800s. Meet at the church for the short walk to the venue. Open Air Mining in Silvermines is the title and it is hosted by the Silvermines Historical Society and will be delivered by several speakers including Denis Gleeson, Neil Booth, & Pat Sheehan with assistance from Paudie Collins. Features of the old building will be pointed out. A Mining Photographic Exhibition by local photographer Donal Quinn will also be on display.

Silvermines has a very rich mining history

The mines operated from the 1200s up to the 1990s

Come join us for some fabulous tours.

Maurice Gleeson
August 2016

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Free DNA Consultations

There will be free DNA consultations with Dr Maurice Gleeson on Friday 19th August from 1pm to 6pm at the Scouts' Hall, Nenagh, so do come along and get your DNA tested. This is open to everyone and not just attendees at the Gathering itself. People wishing to stay for the evening lecture from Danny Grace (entry fee: 10 euro) are more than welcome to do so.

For those attending the Gathering, free DNA consultations will also be available on Saturday 20th August during the lunch and coffee breaks.

Special low prices for the DNA tests have been arranged especially for the Gleeson Clan Gathering:
  • the Family Finder test (also known as autosomal or atDNA, and is usually $99) is now only $69 - this particular test has never been so cheap so now is the best time to buy it. $69 works out at about 62 euro.
  • the Y-DNA-37 test (usually $169) is now only $129, which is about 115 euro.
  • the mtDNAplus test is also $69, about 62 euro.
Special Prices for the Gleeson Clan Gathering

DNA is a great way of finding out more about yourself and where you come from. And it can really help you break through Brick Walls in your Family Tree. Here is a description of these tests and what they can do for you.

How many types of DNA test are there?

There are 3 main tests you could do, and you could test yourself or other members of your family - it depends on what questions you would like answered:
  • Y-DNA traces your father’s father’s father’s line
  • mtDNA (mito or mitochondrial) traces your mother’s mother’s mother’s line
  • and atDNA (autosomal) traces ALL your ancestral lines and gives you your ethnic makeup.
Note that Y-DNA and mtDNA will only give you information about one ancestral line each, whereas atDNA gives you information on all your ancestral lines (but only has a reach of about 300 years, compared to 200,000 years with the other two types of test). You may wish to look at this YouTube video explaining the three types of test in more detail and giving examples of their application to genealogy.

Here’s a few examples of questions you might want answers to and the best test to address each one:

How do I find out about my ethnic origins?
  • The Family Finder test (atDNA) will tell you roughly what percentage of your DNA is from Europe, Asia, Africa, etc. It will also give you rough estimates on a sub-regional level (e.g. "Central Europe" or "France/Germany") but is unlikely to identify a particular country. If you have 100% Irish ancestry, it will simply indicate a big blue blob over Ireland & Britain. But if you have ancestry from Europe, this should show up as one of several possible blobs on the map of Europe. This ethnic admixture test (also known as biogeographical analysis) will continue to be refined over time so your results will be updated periodically. And it makes for a pretty picture which the kids can print out and take to school.
  • Because both Y-DNA and mtDNA only give us information about a single ancestral line (father's father's father's line or mother's mother's mother's line), they will only tell you where that one particular ancestral line originated (eg Western Europe, Africa, etc). And because both go back about 200,000 years to Africa, they will also give you the crude migration routes those particular ancestors took. More nice pictures for the kids school projects.

Ethnic makeup of an Irish person with strong signals from Scandinavia and Southern Europe

How do I find out more about my surname and where it came from?
  • Do the Y-DNA-37 test. If you are a Gleeson, join the Gleason/Gleeson Surname Project at FTDNA and I will be able to give you a personalised report on your results. There are currently four main genetic groups in the project and we are expecting a whole lot more, but we need more people to test to find this out. So if you are a Gleeson, please get tested!
  • Because women don't have a Y-chromosome, this test can only be done on men. So if you are a woman you will have to test a male relative.
  • Your Y-DNA should be exactly the same as your father's Y-DNA and your grandfathers, etc all the way back on the direct male line ... unless there has been an NPE along the way. NPE stands for Non-Paternity Event or Not the Parent Expected. Common causes are surname change (for legal reasons), secret adoptions, and infidelity & illegitimacy (which were not recognised concepts under Brehon Law, so they happened a lot). These occur in about 1% of cases per generation.
  • Start off with the Y-DNA -37 test from FamilyTreeDNA and be sure to join any relevant surname or haplogroup projects. You can find these by doing a search for your name on the FamilyTreeDNA website and it will give you a selection of relevant projects for you to join. After reviewing the results of your Y-DNA-37 test, ask the Admins of projects you have joined for advice on what additional testing might be warranted. This could mean upgrading to 67 or 111 markers, or it could mean doing SNP marker testing. The Project Admins will advise.
  • If you want to explore your mother's surname, test her brother. He is the one who inherited the Y-DNA that goes with that surname. You can research ANY surname in your family as long as you test the appropriate male cousin who bears that particular surname.

Can you spot the route your Irish male ancestors took out of Africa 50,000 years ago?

How do I connect with genetic cousins?
  • Y-DNA will connect you with genetic cousins with whom you share the same surname.
  • mtDNA will connect you with cousins on your mother’s mother’s mother’s line but this is the least useful of all 3 tests - because mtDNA mutates so slowly, even an exact match could mean a common ancestor several thousand years ago (rather than several hundred years ago in the case of Y-DNA).
  • atDNA (Family Finder) will connect you with about 500-1000 cousins you never knew existed (if you have European ancestry). It gives you the most "bang for your buck". Most of them will be distant cousins, but you may spot a few familiar names in your list of matches. The majority will be unknown cousins who are related to you via unknown ancestors beyond your ancestral Brick Walls. You will have hours of fun trying to figure out how they are connected. 
The Gleason/Gleeson DNA Project is identifying the origins of the various Gleeson families

Who do I test?
  • Anyone. Anyone can do a DNA test. But it’s always a good idea to test the oldest members of the family first, for two reasons:
    • they will not always be around
    • they have more DNA from particular ancestors than you do
  • Your father for example would be a generation further back than you, and thus he will have twice the number of matches on your paternal side of the family compared to you … because he has twice as much “DNA from the paternal side of the family” - each generation loses 50% of the DNA from that side of the family, because only half of it is passed on from parent to child. So your Dad would only have (roughly) 25% of his DNA from his grandfather, you would have only 12.5%, and your son would have only 6.25%. The percentage inherited from any one specific ancestor roughly halves with each generation.
  • Testing yourself and a parent helps you isolate which side of the family your matches are from. So if you tested yourself and your Dad for example, any matches you both share in common have to be from his side of the family; and any matches that you have but he doesn’t, have to be from your mum’s side. Of course you could also test your mum to answer this same question, if she is still with us. 
  • FamilyTreeDNA store the DNA samples for 25 years free of charge so this serves as a genetic legacy for future generations - could be important as the science of genetic genealogy progresses (and it has only been around for 15 years or so).

So come down to the Gathering and get tested!

Maurice Gleeson
August 2016

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Get your Family Tree printed by the Nenagh Guardian

Lat week, myself and Michael Gleeson paid a visit to the offices of the Nenagh Guardian, who are also the local printers.  They have done an excellent job printing the Programme for the Gleeson Clan Gathering and we are sure you will be impressed.

Michael with the Programme
And for a mere 16 euro they will print an A1 poster of your Family Tree which you can collect from their offices before the Gathering (saves you the hassle of having to cart it around with you). You can also do an A0 size poster for 25 euro.
A0 = 84.1 x 118.9cm, 33.11 x 46.81 inches
A1 = 59.4 x 84.1cm, 23.39 x 33.11 inches
Just contact Paddy Brennan ( or Michael Hegarty ( and they will sort you out.

Leafing through the first edition, 1838
The Guardian is the longest established and best known local newspaper circulating in North Tipperary. It was first established on Saturday July 21 1838 and has reported local, national and international news for the past 178 years. The Guardian is the local paper for the Nenagh area and remains widely read in Roscrea, Portumna, Newport, Borrisokane, Birr, Ballina/Killaloe, Borrisoleigh, Thurles, and Templemore, offering an unrivalled source of local news, sport, entertainment and advertorial services to generations of people in the North Tipp area.

David Ryan & the 1839 archive
Like our ancestors, the Guardian lived through the Great Famine, the mass emigration that followed, the tumultuous times of one hundred years ago, and the emergence of the new Irish state. In 1928 it incorporated the Nenagh News and Tipperary Vindicator newspapers and remains one of the oldest newspapers in circulation in Ireland. It is a great source for genealogical research and really puts the flesh on the bones of your family tree. It certainly has done on mine - I have spent many hours pouring over the newspaper looking for ancestors (and getting distracted by the wonderful ads and news items along the way). It is also a great way of getting a feel for the mood of the country and of the people from the mid-1800s up to the present day. The complete archives are available on and and for a small fee you can search for the Gleeson surname (or any other family surname) among its pages.

A Descendancy Chart
There are several free templates you can use if you want to create a nice family tree chart. These charts will go up on the wall of the Scouts' Hall on the Friday afternoon so that people can browse and peruse them on the Friday & Saturday during the lunch and coffee breaks. We may also incorporate a selection of the family tree charts in the Proceedings Book we plan to publish after the event.

As we are most interested in trying to push your Gleeson ancestral line back further than you currently have it, the best chart to bring to the Gathering is a Descendant Chart. This gives details of your Most Distant Known Gleeson Ancestor and all his known descendants for 3 or 4 generations. The charts will be a great focus for conversation and hopefully someone else will recognise their own ancestors (or ancestral locations) among the list and you will be able to make connections with distant cousins you never knew you had. Be sure to include the townland where your ancestors were born as this is very useful information. And leave your contact details (email or phone number) on the chart so prospective cousins can get in touch with you.

Michael Hegarty at the printer
Below are some helpful websites and a selection of some Descendant Chart templates but feel free to generate your own from your genealogy software programme or simply print out a Descendant Report (but excluding living people in order to resect privacy). Once you have designed your chart, contact Paddy or Michael at the Guardian and they will help you with the printing. Usually all you need to do is send them a pdf version of the Chart but you can always send them an email and just ask, or phone them on +353 67 50480 or +353 67 50487 (,

You can also create your own charts here - ... or you can download free family tree building software and create your own charts from that (

Looking forward to seeing the fruits of your productivity!

Maurice Gleeson
July 2016

The first two years