I transcribe gravestones in Ireland as well as transcribing information from parish records. I began transcribing the words of pre 1901 gravestones in 1996.
I have a website which was created in 2001 and two years ago we put 170,000 gravestone and church photographs online. I indexed the names off every stone I could read and we have that index online as well. The numbers of gravestone photographs have increased since that time and the places I have been to stretch from Glengarriff in Cork up to Deansgrange in Dublin. My main areas of concentration though have been Counties Laois and Kilkenny,
Stone readings which were done in the 1996-98 period were back in the days when I had pen and paper and then a dictaphone. These days when I go back to photograph the stones many of them can no longer be read. This makes my earlier transcriptions irreplaceable.
Before the Griffiths Primary Valuation was put online I had indexed the names of every single person listed plus the name of the townland they were leasing land in for county Laois (Queen's Co.). Before the 1901 census was put online I had indexed the names of all the Heads of Household for Co. Laois. My website has 32 county pages so even though I say I did this that or the other for county Laois, I was making attempts to do its and pieces of the same for other counties.
I am currently trying to put photographs of every Church I have been to and every Church remnant online. This is time consuming but I'm getting there.
Some days, I decide "Right, I have nothing for this area so why don't I just mosey off down there or up there and take some church photos" and so I do, and then, as I drive along one road with my OS map and all the places I am going to planned out, I see another little road and a sign with some place name so I head off that way instead. It's nice being just out and about wandering around.
Churches and graveyards are such peaceful places.
I created a mail list called Y-IRL on Yahoo back in 2001. Like most mail lists, the way the world is going we have quietened down but recently I had a Roll call and was very surprised at the number of responses we had.
Two years ago I went to the US because my friend Janet had just published her book - when there, I said to her, "Y'know, if we could just put your stuff and my stuff together, we might be able to bring lots of people home" Janet is now in Ireland,in a different county but on her way to my house and then we have a list of graveyard to visit in Laois, Kilkenny and maybe Tipperary to find surnames for her to bring home. By that I don't mean we'll be looking for 'surnames', I mean we will be finding as many gravestones as we can for the surnames that she has worked on in the US, photographing the stones and recording the information.
I've thought about adding a blog since I joined up with or subscribed to The Wild Geese and I wasn't going to because I already have the website, Facebook, Twitter and Y-IRL but I've begun reading some of the blogs and I've seen things being said that I would not agree with and people are always entitled to more than one opinion.
I also think that this project with Janet is a major one, this is one of the first works between two people from different continents on the Irish who left and who stayed.
That last time I was in the U.S., Janet brought me to some graveyards and then my friend Cassie brought me to some other ones and I noticed that in each of those graveyards, the Irish people came from different parts of Ireland. It was a really interesting thing to realise. My American friends had said as much to me about their relatives but none of them ever realised the graveyards can tell the story.
So, introductions. My name is Jane Lyons - I graduated with my Ph.D., from University College Cork. I was born in Dublin, lived in Westmeath, Longford, Laois. Went to boarding school in Kilkenny. University in Cork. Parents from Longford and Kildare. Parents born in Dublin and Belfast. Grandparents from Galway, Tyrone, Donegal - Kerry and Donegal come in there as well. I've lived in Jordan, Cork, Glengarriff, Dublin and am now back in Laois.