IGRS Sixty Years Ago!

Recently IGRS Council Member Claire Bradley Fell Across a Little Piece of IGRS history From Sixty Years Ago.

Earlier this week Claire was doing some research using the 1958 edition of Burke’s Landed Gentry of Ireland when she came across a two page advertisement for none other than the IGRS graces its opening pages!

The Society was then based in Ipswich, which was the home of IGRS founder Fr. Wallace Clare, and boasting a short, five digit telephone number. The piece was written by Fr Clare, stillvery much involved in the Society, founded only 21 years before.

The Vice-Presidents numbered four men, among them two heraldic title bearers: a former Deputy Ulster King of Arms and the then holder of the recently combined position of Norroy & Ulster King of Arms. Today the Society’s president, Mr Fergus Gillespie, is a former Chief Herald of Ireland, which is the successor position to the Ulster King of Arms in the Republic of Ireland.

And here, I’m pleased to say, the similarity ends because there was not one woman on the list of V-Ps or Council Members in 1958. Today’s corresponding group includes two very active female Vice-Presidents in Roz McCutcheon and Mary Casteleyn, as well as six of the current fourteen Council members are female. While we have yet to have a female President, perhaps we can take a leaf out of Ireland’s book when the position is next in need of a holder!

The piece also makes special mention of a card index of births, marriages and deaths (1769-1818). A direct successor of this index is the Society’s Early Irish Birth, Death and Marriage Index, a database, available online on our website, which notes a third of a million personal names.

In 1958, the annual subscription was 25 shillings (£1.25 or €1.59). Today’s subscription is a little more at €26 but we still think it’s excellent value. If you’re not a member, why not join today?

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