The Gathering is an annual celebration of Irish family history in Buffalo and Western New York. This year it will be on Zoom. The event begins at 10 a.m. with a members meeting and is followed by presentations by local historians Edward Patton and Timothy O’Connor, along with a brick wall session with local Irish genealogy experts Diane McGrath Blaser, Nancy Gavin Koester and Donna Shine answering member questions. A keynote presentation will be given by Dr. William Jenkins, Associate Professor of History at York University.
There will be raffle prizes with those who register entered. Prizes include tickets to the Irish Classical Theatre, an original Irish Buffalo poster by noted Western New York printmaker, Talia Ryan, copy of William Jenkins book ”From Raid to Rebellion,” a registration to the virtual Southern California Genealogical Society 2022 Jamboree, a BIGS annual membership, and more!
While this event is open to everyone we are requiring registration before the event - even for BIGS members, so we have an idea of who and how many will be attending. The button below will take you to EventBrite which we are using to accomplish this free registration.
The Buffalo Irish Genealogical Society will be celebrating the annual Gathering of the Clans this year in a virtual format.
Although in-person events are always preferred, the virtual event will open up the much loved Gathering to even more members.
The Gathering will be held Saturday April 30, 2022 starting at 10 a.m. There will be presentations by local historians Ed Patton and Tim O’Connor, along with local Irish genealogy experts Diane Blaser, Nancy Koester and Donna Shine answering member questions. Keynote presentation will be given by Dr. William Jenkins, Associate Professor of History at York University.
This year BIGS members are also invited to create presentations in PowerPoint or similar platforms that can then be uploaded to the BIGS YouTube channel for the day’s event. Presentations can be made in PowerPoint - We ask that they be NO LONGER than 20 minutes. ALL SUBMISSIONS ARE DUE BY April 16, 2022. Anything received after this date cannot be guaranteed inclusion in the schedule.
Please contact email@example.com for more information.
Here are some links about how to create family history videos:
Louise Cooke – How to create Family History Videos https://lisalouisecooke.com/family-history-videos/ Google Slides for genealogy https://lisalouisecooke.com/2016/10/03/google-slides-for-genealogy/
How to - Nigel Harding Family Tree - https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/19669998/family-history-slide-show-presentations-nigel-hardings-family-tree
How to create a Family Tree PowerPoint presentation - https://www.teachervision.com/powerpoint/family-tree-powerpoint-presentation
10:00 - 11:00 am General Membership Meeting – All welcome
11:05 – 12:00 pm Rare Photos Documenting the First Ward Presented by Edward J. Patton, PhD,
Edward J. Patton, PhD, is an author, historian, founder and first publisher of WNY Heritage Magazine. Author of several books on immigrant history in Buffalo. Numerous feature articles in the former Buffalo News Magazine section. Author of many articles in the Buffalo Irish Times on the Irish in Buffalo and their customs etc. Co-Author of The Irish in America, Notre Dame University Press, America's Crossroads etc. Undergraduate and Graduate degrees from Canisius College. Post graduate, University College of Cork. College educator at Canisius College, retired. Founder of the WNY Heritage Institute. Board member of a number of WNY historical societies: BIGS past President, current Trustee, Buffalo Lighthouse Association, Inc., Western NY Railway Historical Society, Vice President, Museum Development.
12:05 - 1:00 pm The Thomas B. O'Connor Project, the ancestral story of James O'Connor and Ann Kelley O'Connor who emigrated from Rathnafishogue, Co. Carlow, Ireland to Newport, New York in 1880. Presented by Tim O’Connor.
Timothy O'Connor, P.E. is a native of Herkimer Co., NY. He is a licensed professional engineer and engineering mentor. Tim serves on the California Polytechnic State University Engineering Advisory Board and is an amateur genealogist. Tim's great uncle was the bantamweight boxing legend "Johnnie Connors". Tim and his wife reside in Buffalo, NY.
About the Thomas B. O'Connor project:
What started out as a project to develop our family tree soon turned into a who, what, and where family journeys. I originally intended to present a PowerPoint, timeline, and the family tree. Shortly into the project, I pivoted to Google Earth. The family really embraced the Google Earth Journey. We visited locations of emigration, immigration, villages where they lived, citizenship documents, videos, and music that brought our family together from near and far.
Short introductory Video at BIGS Gathering of the Clans - The Thomas B. O'Connor Project May 2021 announcement.
1:05 – 2:00 pm Lunch Q&A with the Experts – Bring your lunch and Irish genealogy-related research questions to the experts - Diane McGrath Blaser, Nancy Gavin Koester and Donna M. Shine.
Diane McGrath Blaser is current President of BIGS and the past Treasurer. She has assisted innumerable patrons of the BIGS Library with their research. She was also a Past Secretary and President of the Western New York Genealogical Society and participated as a panelist at the Buffalo Family History Center’s annual Family History Fair. She was also on the Erie County Records Commission when Kathy Hochul was Erie County Clerk. Diane is the Treasurer of the South Buffalo Community Table, Inc., a local soup kitchen and Chief Financial Officer of the Western New York Law Enforcement Helpline, Inc. which provides 24/7 confidential assistance, information, and referrals by trained Law Enforcement Peers and Family Member Peers to working and retired law enforcement officers, dispatchers, and their families.
Nancy Gavin Koester is current Treasurer of BIGS. She is a professional genealogist with over 25 years experience. She has taught lectures on DNA and genealogy, as well as local adult education classes. She has a certificate in Genealogical Research from Boston University, a certificate in Irish History from Trinity College in Dublin, and certificates in Advanced Genetic Genealogy and Irish Genealogy I and II from the Genealogical Research Institute of Pittsburgh.
Donna M. Shine, together with her husband, James, and high school classmate, Kevin J O’Brien, is a co-founder of the Buffalo Irish Genealogical Society (BIGS), formed in October in 1997. She is past Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and current Trustee of BIGS. She also organized the HDC (Heritage Discovery Center) Research Library, 100 Lee St. Donna also assisted in creating and organizing the GAAA Irish Library within the Buffalo Irish Center, 265 Abbott Rd. In 2004, Donna self-published and illustrated a poetry book called IRELAND SPEAKS: Poems From My Soul. This book is based on her experiences in genealogy as well as her several trips to Ireland in search of ancestral roots and the people she met there. For her work on the BIGS and GAAA Libraries, Donna received the 2004 Irish Person of the Year Award from the Gaelic American Athletic Association. She also received the 2017 Excellence in Library Service Award from the Western New York Library Resources Council. With over forty years of genealogical research experience behind her, she continues volunteering and helping others to find their roots.
2:05 - 3:00 pm Keynote Presentation: "Place, Politics, and Jobs: Mapping Intergenerational Transitions in Irish Buffalo" Presented by William Jenkins, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of History York University, Toronto.
William Jenkins discusses features of the intergenerational transition within Irish Buffalo in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. These include (1) residential mobility and the search for housing within more middle-class or at least “better” parts of the city and/or its outskirts; (2) occupational transitions whereby an immigrant generation of laborers and servants was succeeded by an American-born cohort of teachers, policemen, and firefighters; (3) the place of religion and party politics within these transitions, and (4) the place of popular culture in reflecting these transitions within Buffalo and Irish America in general. https://www.mqup.ca/between-raid-and-rebellion-products-9780773540958.php
Author of the book "The Irish in Buffalo and Toronto 1867-1916 Between Raid and Rebellion"
Winner: Joseph Brant Award (2014), Ontario Historical Society Winner: Clio Prize (Ontario) (2014), Canadian Historical Association Winner: The James S. Donnelly Sr. Prize (2014), American Conference for Irish Studies Winner: Geographical Society of Ireland Book of the Year Award (2013-2015)
In the book "Between Raid and Rebellion", William Jenkins compares the lives and allegiances of Irish immigrants and their descendants in one American and one Canadian city between the era of the Fenian raids and the 1916 Easter Rising. Highlighting the significance of immigrants from Ulster to Toronto and from Munster to Buffalo, he distinguishes what it meant to be Irish in a loyal dominion within Britain’s empire and in a republic whose self-confidence knew no bounds. Jenkins pays close attention to the transformations that occurred within the Irish communities in these cities during this fifty-year period, from residential patterns to social mobility and political attitudes.
Exploring their experiences in workplaces, homes, churches, and meeting halls, he argues that while various social, cultural, and political networks were crucial to the realization of Irish mobility and respectability in North America by the early twentieth century, place-related circumstances were linked to wider national loyalties and diasporic concerns.
With the question of Irish Home Rule animating debates throughout the period, Toronto’s unionist sympathizers Between Raid and Rebellion presented a marked contrast to Buffalo’s nationalist agitators. Although the Irish had acclimated to life in their new world cities, their sense of feeling Irish had not faded to the degree so often assumed.
A groundbreaking comparative analysis, Between Raid and Rebellion draws upon perspectives from history and geography to enhance our understanding of the Irish experiences in these centers and the process by which immigrants settle into new urban environments.
The Irish Classical Theatre Company is a performing arts theatre located in Buffalo, NY. It presents outstanding productions at The Andrews Theatre, Western New York's only true theatre-in-the-round. In this intimate setting, you’re never more than 10 feet from the stage
Southern California Genealogical Society's virtual Jamboree conference and exhibit hall to be held August 19-27, 2022. Registration for attendees will begin on March 4, 2022.