The following announcement was written by the Accredited Genealogists Ireland:
The prominent Irish genealogist Steven Smyrl has been elected a Fellow of the Society of Genealogists (SoG). The London-based organisation is one of the most prestigious bodies dedicated to ancestral research and it is, indeed, an honour to be granted its Fellowship. His election may be seen as due recognition of his long years of distinguished service to the field of Irish genealogy.
Steven’s most significant contribution to the wider genealogical community, and to society at large, relates to civil registration in Ireland. He was the driving force behind a successful campaign which achieved fundamental change on both sides of the border.
He argued that to bring integrity to the civil registration system there was an overriding need to improve the calibre of death registrations through broadening the data recorded. While there had been some helpful changes in Northern Ireland in the mid-1970s, the system had remained completely unchanged in the Republic since registration of deaths first began in 1864.
Steven’s tireless advocacy ensured that since 2005 the Republic’s death registrations began recording, for the first time, each deceased person’s date and place of birth and their parents’ names. He followed this by securing the Northern Ireland Assembly’s backing in 2009 to begin recording parents’ names in all Northern Ireland death registrations. Subsequently, his achievement was described in The Irish Times as ‘spectacular’.
He is a highly respected professional genealogist, holding credentials since 1991 as a Member of Accredited Genealogists Ireland. As well as specialising in legal and probate research, Steven is an authority on sources for Irish Dissenting Protestants. His most significant published work is the Dictionary of Dublin Dissent – Dublin’s Protestant Dissenting Meetinghouses: 1660-1920, published in 2009.
Television viewers will know Steven from the IFTA-nominated RTE TV series Dead Money, which was based exclusively on probate research undertaken by his firm, Massey & King. Readers of Ireland’s only family history magazine, Irish Roots, will also be familiar with Steven’s regular column ‘And another thing …’ through which his knowledge, expertise and. Indeed, his wit are given a regular public airing.
Steven is well-known for his contributions to the world of Irish genealogy in a voluntary capacity. He has served terms as both Hon. Secretary and later President of Accredited Genealogists Ireland. He was twice Chairman of the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations and since 2010 he has been Chairman of the Irish Genealogical Research Society.
In addition, Steven has compiled comprehensive manuscript catalogues to surviving records in the Republic for both the Methodist Church in Ireland and the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. In many cases his work uncovered records long thought to be lost.
The Fellowship of SoG is the second such honour granted to Steven. Twelve years ago in 2007 he was elected a Fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society.