Some interesting facts and figures from 2015-2016:
- During 2015/16, PRONI welcomed a record number of 22,294 visitors who made use of the research facilities, attended a lecture or participated in an event. This surpassed the previous record of 20,318 visitors in 2014/15 and exceeded the Departmental target of 22,000. Of those, 3,840 were from outside of Northern Ireland. This included 1,159 from USA; 551 from Australia and New Zealand; and 403 from Canada which reinforces the continued value of ‘roots tourism’ to the Northern Ireland economy.
- PRONI held 82 public events during the year including amongst others: talks by Queen’s University of Belfast on Poverty in Belfast; Irish language presentations by Foras na Gaeilge; and a series on family history sources entitled ‘Your Family Tree’. Most of these were recorded and are available on PRONI’s YouTube channel.
- The Prisons Memory Archive (PMA) was recorded in 2006-2007 and is principally made up of 175 audio-visual digital recordings of prison staff, prisoners, and others who passed through Armagh Gaol and the Maze and Long Kesh Prison. In 2015 a partnership of Queen’s University Belfast, the PMA Management Group and PRONI secured a Heritage Lottery Grant (HLF) for the development phase of a larger project which seeks to preserve the archive, increase accessibility to the recordings and encourage community engagement with it. PRONI and its project partners plan to make an application to the HLF for funding for the delivery phase of this project.
- The PRONI catalogue was expanded by 13,941 item descriptions during the year.
Annex 3 lists privately deposited records during the last year, whilst Annex 4 lists privately deposited records which were catalogued throughout the year. Both are well worth a read.
Finally, last week at the Federation of Genealogical Societies conference in Springfield, Illinois, FamilySearch's Chief Genealogy Officer, David Rencher, described PRONI as the "the most genealogically friendly in Ireland". He could not have hit the nail on the head more, though personally speaking I would extend that to say the friendliest in the the British Isles - well done Belfast! :)
(With thanks to the PRONI Express)
For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923, Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit http://britishgenes.blogspot.co.uk/p/my-books.html.