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.

Find more help for researching your ancestry.

Views: 596

Tags: Genealogy, Kilkenny, Laois, Queen's, ancestry, gravestones, memorials

Comment by Gerry Regan on May 19, 2014 at 4:23pm

Jane, I do hope you sustain a blog here at The Wild Geese. I'd personally relish that. I'm delighted you are now part of our growing community! Ger

Comment by Dr. Jane Lyons on May 19, 2014 at 4:49pm

It'll take a while for me to get the hang of this Ger but I have to say I pulled up my Wild Geese blog a min ago to see if anyone had viewed what I'd said to see you had passed me off on Twitter and Facebook....... it sounds wrong to say passed me off.....you'd posted my message on both Wild Geese pages.

I'd posted the URL for my blog post to my FB page and my Y-IRL list cos I was hoping that at least one person from either place would go take a look.

I've had a couple of problems in the last few years, fell down a stairs had quarter of my skull removed, was kept in a coma for two weeks - my children were told I would probably die and if not I would be brain damaged.  Then I was diagnosed with haemachromatosis.......so for me having names and genealogy to bury myself in has been wonderful.  I'm good, I've always been good............some people though, they don't take too kindly or they don't like the way I just wander off and do things in a disorganised fashion.

I know Bit has directed me to a post she made on her blog re my gravestone photos when I put them up........but, two years ago, I was still in major recovery and I wasn't really with it.

Hope this says good.

Thank you for your encouragement.

Comment by Bit Devine on May 19, 2014 at 8:55pm
Jane!! Hurrah!!! So good to "see" your voice here!
Comment by Denise {LARNER } mICHELLE on May 20, 2014 at 2:38am

Hi Jane  just joined up with Wild Geese and was reading your introduction .i liked you passage on your distracted passage of research .Genealogy is a bit like that also .very important to not miss an opportunity. I am researching family from Drumgriffin ,Tuam in Galway . I get fraustrated  with trying to find family members when they give all generations the same names .Also trying to get information from sites not documented as yet .Have you transcribed any cemetries in Galway yet i am looking for a burial in June 1933 at St Marys or St Brendons .look forward to reading your blogs .  

Comment by Dr. Jane Lyons on May 20, 2014 at 3:39am

Bit, thanks for your hurrah :)  

I laughed when I read it and thought 'that's it Jane, continue talking for a little bit"  Now though, I'm getting settled and once I'd made the post to FB I decided make the same post as part of the Blog here that way I keep myself balanced......keep the blog going

Comment by Dr. Jane Lyons on May 20, 2014 at 3:46am


My own family is from over that way and a couple of months ago after I'd been in Tullamore I decided I was heading for Loughrea to look at some stones over there. I'd taken the notion that I was going to take on Galway - which is typical of me, wild notions!!  Anyway, got lost, ended up in Portumna, spotted the Workhouse, decided to go in for a look. First time I was ever in a Workhouse even though we have one out in Donaghmore - terrible!  After the tour, I was asking a man where I would get a sandwich cos I was on my way to Loughrea and he says, "You aren't from around here" and I say "No, but my Grandfather was from Woodward" and he says "What's the surname" and I say 'Lyons" and he says "You're my cousin" AND he actually was my fathers cousin and could name all my fathers family and cousins of his who I knew, so, you see, he thing is,it doesn't matter where you come from in Ireland, (or came from) you never know who you are talking to.

Sorry, for wandering off like that.  Thing is, I don't have Tuam done. That particular day I got Boula, an old graveyard outside Portumna, and one at Tiernascragh.  I haven't even had time to open any of the sets of photographs yet because I am supposed to be doing a big job on ten graveyards in the Diocese of Ossory which is parts of Counties Laois and Kilkenny EXCEPT the weather has been rotten and you can't go out photograhing gravestones in rain, rain and more rain.


Comment by Denise {LARNER } mICHELLE on May 20, 2014 at 4:27am

what excitement finding a relative on your outing , arent those "Tiki Tours " fun Kiwi terminology for a trip some where ,especially when you are lost ,or not going in the direction you intended . Have fun enjoy many more tiki tours ,

Comment by Dr. Jane Lyons on May 20, 2014 at 5:07am

I like that expression Michelle, "Tiki Tours" - I'll have to think of an Irish expression to describe these outings :)

Ah but you see, I don't look for relatives although in my very first few years on the internet I made friends with a lady called Margaret and she joked that wouldn't it be a laugh if we were related by marriage as one of her surnames is in my family.  Years later, she sent me a copy of a family history and asked if the family had anything to do with me and that made me laugh because in the history were listed my mother, father and all of my family.  I had a copy of the history but not a more modern one which was what she sent me.  We were actually related by marriage.

I don't look for relatives, none of my family was born in either county Laois or Kilkenny the two counties I have concentrated the most on.  I have 60 first cousins on my fathers side and I can promise you that I could walk past the majority of them on the street and we wouldn't know one another.

So, meeting this man was nice, amusing, but, we didn't exchange numbers or promise to contact one another again or anything like that.  

Have a nice day

Comment by Bit Devine on May 21, 2014 at 9:53am
I call those "faery led" moments...


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