The Irish Genealogical Research Society Council

The Irish Genealogical Research Society has no paid or full-time staff. It is managed by a Council assisted by other volunteers. Details of our current Council Members are below.

The President and Vice-Presidents, ex officio

Fergus Gillespie, MA

Fergus, a native of Co. Donegal and a fluent Irish speaker, is a scholar of the highest integrity and skill. He was elected President of the IGRS in 2010 upon the retirement of his predecessor, the late Sir David Goodall. Fergus is an acknowledged expert on Irish heraldry and was the Chief Herald of Ireland from 2005 to 2009. He represented the Office of the Chief Herald both nationally and internationally with great success.  He is a graduate in Celtic Studies of University College Dublin and is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries, London.

The O’Conor Don

Desmond Roderic O’Conor succeeded his father, Denis Armar O’Conor, to the Gaelic title of O’Conor Don in 2000. He is a member of a number of chivalric orders, including appointment in 2006 as Knight Commander of the Order of Bernardo O’Higgins. O’Higgins, a wealthy Chilean landowner of Spanish and Irish ancestry, led Chile to independence from Spanish rule in the early nineteenth century. During his long career in finance O’Conor Don has lived in Brazil, Peru, Central America, Canada and London. Additionally, he has served as Chairman of the UK charity, the Sailors and Soldiers Home based in Eastbourne. He notes his recreations as reading, shooting, and all things Irish. He is a strong exponent of the value of the Irish language.

Kenneth W. Nicholls, FIGRS

Kenneth Nicholls is the foremost authority on medieval Irish genealogy.  In his academic career he taught history at University College Cork.  His Gaelic and Gaelicized Ireland in the Middle Ages (1972; revised edition 2003) was an acclaimed pioneering work that shone a light on the autonomous areas of Gaelic Ireland in the late medieval period. He is the last remaining member of the small group of Irish-based members of the IGRS who in 1967 began what evolved into the Ireland Branch.  As long ago as 1978 he was awarded the Fellowship of the Society.

Paul Gorry, FIGRS, FSG, MAGI

Paul Gorry has been a family history enthusiast since childhood and a member of the IGRS since 1979.  He has held professional credentials since 1987 from Accredited Genealogists Ireland (formerly APGI).  He was the originator and chairman of the Irish Genealogical Congress, an international conference on Irish family history worldwide held in Ireland in 1991, 1994, 1997 and 2001.  With his AGI colleague Máire Mac Conghail, FIGRS, he was joint-author of Tracing Irish Ancestors (1997).  Paul has written three other books.  He is a Fellow of both the IGRS and the Society of Genealogists.

Julian C Walton

Julian C Walton, MA, FIGRS

Julian Walton is a former secondary schoolteacher and librarian with a lifelong interest in Irish history and genealogy, particularly relating to County Waterford.  After joining the IGRS in 1970, he contributed numerous articles to The Irish Genealogist, of which he was Editor 1987-1989.  He is the author of The Royal Charters of Waterford  and of On This Day, two volumes of historical snippets based on a long-running series which he presented on Waterford Local Radio.  He is currently working on a history of Curraghmore, seat of the Marquess of Waterford.  He is also an active member of the Bookplate Society.

Mary Casteleyn, FCILP, FIGRS

Mary was elected to the IGRS Council in 1981 and has served ever since in various capacities including Vice-Chairman.  She was elected IGRS Fellow in 1985.  She was a senior librarian for Westminster City Libraries, London, a Fellow of the (British) Library Association and a National Councillor for the Library Association for 6 years.  She is the recipient of The Library Association Centenary Medal for Professional Achievement. She is a well known Irish genealogical writer and lecturer including guest lecturer for three years on the Genealogy Course, University College, Cork.  With a colleague she hosts a blog about Kilkenny Graveyards.  She is also a book reviewer for an international library information and management publisher.

Rosalind G McCutcheon, FIGRS
Vice-President & Vice-Chairman

Roz was born and brought up in Co Cork and began researching family & local history in her teens.  She graduated from Dublin University in English & Latin and has, since then, lived in London, where she works as an actress & singer.  She has edited the Society’s biannual newsletter since 1991.  She has lectured extensively in the UK & Ireland, presents courses at the Society of Genealogists in London, and also gave a lecture at the RootsTech conference in Salt Lake City in 2015.  Her particular interest is the Registry of Deeds.

Peter Manning

Peter Manning, FIGRS
Vice President & General Secretary

Peter became a member of the Society in 1981 after discovering his Irish ancestral roots lay in the counties of Roscommon and Galway through a line of the O’Mainnins of Menlough Ui Mainnin.  He was elected a Fellow of the Society in 1987. He became a regular attendee at the library assisting member’s with research and inquiries and was elected to the Society’s Council in 1993. He became its Hon. Chairman from 2001 to 2010. Since then he has taken on the role of Hon. General Secretary. He was elected a Vice President in 2013.

Ramón, The O’Dogherty of Innishowen

Ramón O’Dogherty is the 38th O’Dogherty of Innishowen and is very proud of his roots in Ireland. It was his father, also called Ramón, who was formally recognised by the Chief Herald of Ireland as the Chief of the O’Doghertys of Innishowen in 1990. Their ancestor, John O’Dogherty, having lost his lands under the penal laws, migrated to Cadiz, Spain, in 1790, where the family has thrived ever since. Ramon studied Law at the University of Jerez de la Frontera in Cádiz and has worked for Santander Bank and The Abengoa Company specialising in raising capital and providing financial advice.

Members of Council

Steven C. ffeary-Smyrl, FIGRS, MAGI

Steven has practised as a professional genealogist since 1989 and was president of Accredited Genealogists Ireland during the years 2012-2015. He is a founding member of the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO), serving twice as its chairman. He was elected a Fellow of the IGRS in 2007. He is author of Dictionary of Dublin Dissent – Dublin’s Protestant Disstenting Meetinghouses 1660-1920, published in 2009. In 2012, the work of his legal genealogy firm, Massey & King, was depicted in a six part TV series by Ireland’s national broadcaster, RTE, called Dead Money.

Máire Mac Conghail, BA, FIGRS, MAGI

Máire is a professional genealogist of some forty years standing. In 1991 she gained admission to Accredited Genealogists Ireland and currently holds the office of President. Máire is a graduate of the National University of Ireland. In 1997 she obtained the Diploma in Local Studies from NUI Maynooth. She tutors continuing education classes in family and local history. With her colleague Paul Gorry she was commissioned by Harper Collins to write Tracing Irish Ancestors (1997). Máire is a member of the Irish Manuscripts Commission. She joined the IGRS in 1990; was an active member of the Ireland Branch committee and had the honour of being elected a Fellow in 2005.

Edward J Rowland, BComm

Edward’s career experience has ranged over banking, finance and human resource management. He is now retired. He has been a member of the IGRS since 1985. He served as treasurer of the Ireland Branch for six years and continues as a member of the Ireland Branch committee.  He has a keen and active interest in genealogical and general historical research. Family history interests extend to Donegal, Mayo, America and Australia. He is a B.Comm graduate of UCD and has recently completed a M.A in Local History at NUI Maynooth. He is currently a member of the Genealogy and Heraldry Committee of the National Library of Ireland.

Jill Williams, BA, FCCA, HDipEd, MIFL, FIGRS
Social Media – Facebook

Jill was born and brought up in Cork.  A graduate of University College Cork, she is a qualified teacher and accountant. Until she moved to Edinburgh in 2016, she taught a ‘how to use the internet for family history” course for ten years in West London. She has given talks and workshops in Ireland and various venues in England & Scotland on Irish genealogy.  She now lives in Edinburgh where she volunteers at the Scottish Genealogy Society Library on a regular basis where she answers queries on Irish genealogy. Her particular interest is the Internet for Irish family history and has written on the subject for a number of publications. She is a Fellow of the IGRS and maintains its Facebook page.

Linda Clayton MAGI, FIGRS

Linda has been practising as a professional genealogist for more than fifteen years, working in the area of legal and probate research and in 2010, was admitted as a member of Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI). Having attended classes in Irish genealogy at University College, Dublin, she was awarded the Certificate in Genealogy in 1999. Since 2000, Linda has been a member of the Ireland Branch committee and during that time, has completed two terms as Honorary Secretary. She was elected as a member of the IGRS Council in 2008 and was awarded fellowship of the Society in 2013.

Lindsay Bellhouse, BA, DipED, FIGRS
Honorary Librarian

Lindsay is a retired Australian-born schoolteacher of mathematics in England, Australia and later in the West Indies and an international chess arbiter. He returned to England in 2001 and took-up stewarding at Lords Cricket Ground and other Middlesex commitments. He had been a keen cricketer in his youth. He joined the Society in 2004 to research his Irish Taaffe ancestors. Following requests by the Council for qualified assistance in the library he volunteered on a regular basis, later in 2010 becoming the overall Librarian.

Claire Bradley, BA

Claire joined the Society in 2012 and quickly became an active member, first on the Ireland Branch Committee, where she served as Honorary Secretary for 2 years before becoming the Ireland Branch Chairperson from 2016-2018 and again from October 2019-July 2020 on a temporary basis. She was elected to the Council in 2014 and has taken on several different projects for the Society, including ongoing website development, lecturing and has published three articles in The Irish Genealogist in 2015, 2018 & 2020. Claire is a Dublin-based freelance genealogist. She holds a Certificate in Family History from University College Dublin, runs an active blog and also teaches a bi-annual beginners genealogy class in Malahide.

Nick Reddan, MSc GradDipStat, BEc, FIGRS

Nick joined the society in the early 1990s when he was living in London for three years. He started researching his family history in 1988 while recovering from appendicitis. His interest was stimulated earlier by a memorandum produced by his mother’s maternal paternal great grandfather, William Swan Croker. It mentioned, among other things, his father’s 37-year career in the Customs House in Dublin and General Croker from India. In addition, he knew that his own Reddan family was from county Clare in Ireland. In trying to sort out the various Croker lines led him to research the Registry of Deeds and eventually start the Registry of Deeds Index Project Ireland which with the help of many volunteers has grown into a very useful resource. Nick was made a fellow of the Society in 2006. He is also the webmaster for the Society focussing on databases.

David J. Butler, PhD
Hon. Editor, The Irish Genealogist

David has been a member of the IGRS since 2003, the same year he submitted an article to The Irish Genealogist based on research uncovered while completing his doctorate in historical geography at University College Cork. He was appointed Hon. Editor of The Irish Genealogist in May 2012, effective Volume 13:4 (2013) to date. An historical geographer by training, David lectures in geography at University College Cork and coordinates adult education online and on-campus qualifications in genealogy/history of family there, as also at the University of Limerick. David is a committed inter-disciplinarian, and holds Fellowships of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS), the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS) and the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (FRSA).

Jim Boulden

American-born Jim Boulden has lived in London for more than 25 years, having worked as a journalist for Reuters and as a business correspondent for CNN. He became an amateur family historian around the tender age of 12 when collections of genealogy papers from the ancestors of both parents began to collect in the family home. His family was producing genealogy in the 19th century and Jim took up the mantle. Jim took out membership of the IGRS and immediately joined the council with a focus on expanding the Society’s reach, particularly in the United States. He has written articles for the peer-reviewed New York Genealogical Biographical Record,  American Ancestors Magazine and Family Tree Magazine. Jim’s Irish ancestors come from Bandon in Cork, Belfast and Ballycastle in the north.

Terence J Hatche, FCA
Honorary Treasurer

Terry became a member of the IGRS in 2007 in order to access source material in the Society’s library relating to Sir David Goodall’s article in The Irish Genealogist, ‘Hatchell of Wexford’. Hatchell is a documented surname variant used by Terry’s family in Ireland and the USA and Terry is a coordinator of the FTDNA Hatchell Project, most of whose members have DNA or documented links to those Wexford lines. In addition, he continues to research his South-West Cork Hayes ancestry and his links to families connected with the FitzWilliam Estate in Co. Wicklow. He is a Chartered Accountant whose career has mainly been in management consultancy and in July 2015 he took on the position of Honorary Treasurer for the Society.

Bernadette Cass
Honorary Treasurer Ireland Branch

Bernadette has been researching her family history for many years and joined the IGRS in 2014 and became a volunteer the same year. She joined the Ireland Branch committee in 2015 and was elected Hon. Treasurer of the Ireland Branch in 2016. She holds a Diploma in Genealogy from University College Cork. She is currently working on a one name study of the Cass Family with an interest in those who emigrated to USA and Australia in the 19th century and is also working on a website for her Cork ancestors, the O’Hea and Deasy families.

Peter Quirk
Membership Secretary

Peter retired from IT Project Management in 2017, having joined the IGRS in 1993 after a copy of the 1870 will of his great-grandfather was sent to his father by an Irish cousin. A visit to the cousin unearthed a number of family documents going back as far as 1786, sadly with some large gaps. Concentrating around Waterford City and Carrick-on-Suir and environs for his Irish father’s side, more Irish connections have emerged from his Liverpudlian mother’s side of the family. In 2010, Peter took over the surname index of the bi-annual IGRS newsletter and then became Membership Secretary in 2019. Originally from Northwest England, he has lived in London since 1986.

Mark Goold

Mark Goold B.A. D.Phil

Mark started researching his family history 25 years ago and joined the IGRS in 1996 to help further his research into his paternal Cork ancestry. He took the Certificate in Genealogy and Family History evening course at Birkbeck College London. More recently he offered to help in the Society’s library and shortly thereafter in 2013 became Membership Secretary. At the same time, he was co-opted to the Society’s governing Council and has been re-elected subsequently. He is a Chartered Surveyor by profession and lives near Harrow with his wife and two children.


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