The following announcement was written by the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland:
The Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland Celebrated its 25th Anniversary in Belfast’s Historic Titanic Quarter
On Wednesday 7th December 2011 the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI) held its Annual General Meeting at the iconic new building occupied by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) in Belfast’s historic Titanic Quarter. Yesterday’s meeting marked the culmination of the Association’s 25th anniversary, celebrating that APGI was founded in Belfast twenty-five years previously, in 1986.
The AGM was followed by a reception to which over 100 representatives of various archival and record repositories in Belfast were invited, along with those engaged in genealogical services in Northern Ireland, retired members of APGI and representatives of the North of Ireland Family History Society. The Belfast-based record repositories included PRONI, the General Register Office of Northern Ireland, the Linen Hall Library, the Presbyterian Historical Society and the Wesleyan Historical Society.
At the reception Steven Smyrl, vice-president of APGI, gave a brief address, outlining the origins and development of the Association and stressing its Northern Irish origins and important to roots tourism. He also announced APGI Council’s decision to elect two members to the Association’s Fellowship, the greatest honour APGI can bestow. Both new Fellows have been involved in professional genealogy since the 1960s and, as founder members of APGI they played a significant part in moulding the organisation in its early days. Together they represent the Belfast and Dublin roots of APGI. They are:
John McCabe, FAPGI, was involved in professional genealogical research in Belfast from the 1960s, originally working with the Ulster Scot Historical Society (later the Ulster Historical Foundation). Later he became a self-employed genealogist.
In 1986 he was one of the prime movers behind the establishment of APGI in Belfast, and he played a central role in encouraging the formation of the Dublin Section, speaking at its first meeting. Later he served for many years on the overall Council of APGI, and as Vice-President.
In 1988 he gave the Houston Memorial Lecture at the Ontario Genealogical Society’s annual Seminar. There, he presented information on a detailed list of some 700 mainly Irish families that had settled in the Ottawa Valley by 1829. He had uncovered the list at the Public Record Office (now The National Archives) in Kew, England. It was received at the time as ‘the most important genealogical document on the Ottawa Valley to surface in recent years’. With the permission of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office, it was subsequently published in the Ontario Genealogical Society’s journal, Families, as ‘The McCabe List’.
Unearthing hidden genealogical sources such as that list has been the trademark of John McCabe’s career. Though he retired from genealogical work on behalf of clients some years ago, he continues to research the life and career of William Putnam McCabe, a leading United Irishman in 1790s Belfast.
Henry McDowell, FAPGI, FIGRS, worked in publishing in London before returning to Ireland in the 1960s to become a full-time genealogist. While in London, he spent many hours at the Society of Genealogists Library. In Ireland he settled in Celbridge, Co. Kildare.
He served on the editorial committee of the Irish Genealogist and contributed to the American edition of Burke's Irish Family Records. He spoke at the XIIIth International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences in London in 1976 and at the very first Australasian Genealogical Congress.
As well as being a founder member of APGI, he is a longstanding member of AGRA (the Association of Genealogists and Researchers in Archives). He served on the Dublin steering committee of APGI and was President of APGI for 2001-2003.
In 1989 he was elected a Fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society, and he served as President of the Kildare Archaeological Society for five years, 2000-2004. Henry is a life member of the Society of Genealogists, and his interests also include the Irish Country Furniture Society.
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