Sunday, 11 March 2018

Developments at PRONI, Northern Ireland's national archive

I was unable to attend the recent user forum meeting at PRONI ( in Belfast on March 2nd, so am grateful to Gavin McMahon for a copy of the minutes. The following are the key developments at Northern Ireland's national archive just now...

Anniversary of the Representation of the People Act 1918:

There will be a number of activities on this in 2018, being organised by NI's Department for Communities -

· NI Direct has a web page which pulls together activities of key stake holders,
· An information pack is being developed and an interactive learning packages for schools.
· An Exhibition which will be launched on 2 July

Steps to Partition:

Two PRONI facsimile packs are being updated for next year, one on the Plantation which is being revised and updated by the Ulster Historical Foundation, to be launched in May 2018.

PRONI is working with Dr Timothy Bowman and Jim McBride CCEA in revamping an educational resource (Steps to Partition) that will be aimed at A Level students and which anyone can use. Approximately 30 documents will be added into the pack which will be a PDF document and should be released in May.

Archive Accreditation:

PRONI is continuing its efforts towards Archive Accreditation.


Cataloguing of the papers of the Belfast Naturalists’ Field Club (D4614) is now complete, and will be published shortly.

Work continues on cataloguing papers relating to the Women’s Legion in the 1930s/1940s within D3099/14/2/1/2. This includes correspondence (organised by correspondent) and correspondence (organised by theme) and correspondence relating to the Mechanical Transport Section. Work has also started on papers relating to the Air Section. There are approx. 6 boxes still to be catalogued including papers relating to the Land Army, the Mount Stewart canteen, the Red Cross and the War Service Legion.

There are improved catalogue descriptions and updated access decisions for D4403 (Bangor Union masonic Lodge).

Work is ongoing with the Harland and Wolff Drawing Office Papers deposited by Titanic Quarter. Specifically carrying out cataloguing on ships plans at D4413/5/14. There are about 30 boxes of plans dating from 1930’s to 1970’s. Ship numbers and names will be included in catalogue descriptions.

New accessions:

Shaw and Moat Family Papers (D4654) – Papers of Richard Humphreys Shaw (c.1808-1888) of Dunmurry, Belfast and Tobermesson, Co. Tyrone comprising personal correspondence, including letters from his sisters who immigrated to Mississippi; accounts, including bills, receipts and handwritten lists mainly relating to his farm at Tobermesson, and a small amount of printed material and newspaper cuttings (c.1841-1919).

Hugh Alexander Papers (D4655) – Papers relating to Major Hugh Moore Alexander comprising two annotated albums containing photographs by Major Alexander during his service with the Royal Army Medical Corp and depicting scenes of army and civilian life in Mesopotamia and Northern Russia during the First World War. Major Alexander was born in County Cavan in 1892. (c.1917-1944).

Royal Belfast Golf Club (D4650) – Minute books relating to the Royal Belfast Golf Club, the oldest golf club in Ireland. Four additional volumes were received, 2 each for the men’s and lady’s branches of the club. We now have 8 volumes of minutes for the club, 1888-1922.

Islandreagh Beetling Mill (D4656) - Lorraine and Liam visited Islandreagh Dyeing and Finishing Company in Dunadry on Wednesday 21st February to appraise and bring back records. There were five or six sacks of binders with business records dating back to c.1930 as well as several boxes of records in the manager’s office. Three boxes of material were taken including sample thread book; an order book; a day book; a sales ledger; an account book and samples of correspondence demonstrating the international dealings of the company. C.1930-1992. Unfortunately earlier material for the mill was reportedly destroyed by the previous owner. The mill has probably been in operation since the late 18th century.

Church records digitisation:

The PRONI Reprographics Team has now completed digitisation and QA on 46 volumes for this year’s Church Records digitisation scheme. This is out of a total of 73 volumes it hopes to digitise this year, leaving up to 27 volumes to go. The original records will be returned to the participating churches and the digital copies made available in the PRONI search room later this year.


PRONI is rolling out a pilot volunteering scheme for which 30 people submitted applications. The project will involve bringing in three volunteers for six months. Training will be included as part of the scheme. Projects will be based in Private Records, Reprographics and Public Services. In Private Records, it is hoped that the volunteer will contribute to work around indexing and cleaning documents from the Young and Mackenzie (architects) archive. The terms for volunteers being able to claim for expenses etc. were outlined. The volunteer in Public Service will be name indexing absentee voters.

Beyond 2022:

PRONI is particpating in the Beyond 2022 project, which is aiming to create a virtual repository of the Public Record Office (Four Courts, Dublin). The virtual repository layout has been created but not populated. The proposal is to create links to surrogate archives held elsewhere eg PRONI. Further details can be found on the Beyond 2022 website at

(With thanks to Gavin and all at PRONI)


For my genealogy guide books, visit, whilst details of my research service are at Further content is also published daily on The GENES Blog Facebook page at

No comments:

Post a Comment