Sunday, 27 January 2008

Ulster Historical Foundation

The Ulster Historical Foundation has written to me, astonishingly, to tell me that they have arranged an American based lecture tour in two months time, but would like my help in securing additional speaking engagements as they seem to be a bit underbooked. They have the following locations booked:

Saturday, 8 March 2008, Pennsylvania
Thursday, 13 March 2008, Washington, DC
Friday & Saturday, 14-15 March 2008, Fairfax, VA

In the words of their organisation's operational manager, Allan Leonard, "The Ulster Historical Foundation is heading to America for a series of lecture presentations in March 2008. We are writing to ask for your assistance in providing us some suggestions and support for additional speaking engagements in your local area. We are looking to speak to additional audiences anytime from Sunday, 9 March, to Wednesday, 12 March. We are also available on Sunday, 16 March."

So if you can help them justify the expense of their tickets, please feel free to call them.

It should be noted that Scotland's Greatest Story strongly advocates boycotting the society's online access to their BDM records via their Ancestry Ireland website, until they can bring their prices into line with those available throughout the rest of the UK, or until the Irish records are digitised and made available at cheaper rate (as with the 1911 Census, available for free). In particular, we believe that the design of their search interface on their website makes it impossible to narrow down the correct record prior to paying for it, and that this, plus their high costs, is pricing people of Northern Irish descent from being able to access their own heritage. To put it into context, for the price of one transcription of a BDM event on the UHF website, you can buy five facsimiles of original Scottish BDM documents through Scotland's People. The situation is replicated on similar sites run by the Irish Family History Foundation, which we equally believe should be boycotted.

So whilst £6 per transcription can help fund expensive flights to America, it is perhaps not so helpful in allowing people to do their own genealogical research, which is surely what it should be about?

Chris

PS: For those researching Ulster ancestors, the indexes to Northern Irish births from 1922 to 1983 are available at New Register House in Edinburgh, on a terminal in the Dundas Room. They do not hold similar indexes for marriages or deaths. Using these indexes, you can then order the appropriate certificates from the GRO in Belfast.

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