Top award for one of Ireland’s most knowledgeable researchers of Irish heritage
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Top award for one of Ireland’s most knowledgeable researchers of Irish heritage

ONE of Ireland’s most accomplished genealogists has been announced as the 2021 recipient of a prestigious industry award.

Julian Walton is widely regarded as one of the most knowledgeable genealogists in Ireland, particularly in relation to the more esoteric early modern sources.

The Council of the Irish Genealogical Research Society announce this month that Mr Walton is the 2021 recipient of the Wallace Clare Award.

“The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) has been fortunate to have Mr Walton a member for over half a century,” they stated.

“From the beginning he was a willing volunteer and much of Julian’s work in Irish genealogy was done through his membership of the IGRS.”

Mr Walton is being honoured by the organisation for making a “truly remarkable contribution to the study of Irish genealogy over five decades”.

“Through his meticulous research and scholarly articles, his transcription of memorial inscriptions and his engaging communication of genealogical and local history topics, he has contributed greatly to the furtherance of ancestral research in Ireland,” the IGRS explain.

Mr Walton joined the Society in 1969 and immediately became immersed in voluntary work.

From 1970 to 2003 he served on the editorial committee of the Irish Genealogist, the Society’s annual journal, and he was Honorary Editor in 1988-1989.

In 1971 the IGRS Tombstone Sub-Committee was established and Julian was its secretary throughout its existence.

Its endeavours culminated in the two-volume Tombstone Inscriptions compilation produced by the IGRS in 2001.

In the early 1970s he was one of a group of IGRS members who arranged occasional lectures in Dublin.  This led to the official formation of the IGRS Ireland Branch in 1986 and he served as Chairman of the branch from 1986 to 1990.

Mr Walton was elected a Fellow of the Society in 1975, was appointed to the Council in 1983 and has been a Vice President since 1988.

In more recent years he has been involved in genealogy and local history in the Waterford area.

A former editor of Decies (the journal of the Waterford Archaeological and Historical Society), in 1990 he began work with the Waterford Heritage Survey.

This involved record indexing, conducting research and running a heritage induction course, before undertaking the conservation of the library of Christ Church Cathedral, Waterford.

This involved work on 3,000 books, some dating from the sixteenth century.

He later conducted similar work on the library of St. Finbarre’s Cathedral, Cork, at the Boole Library in University College Cork.

Mr Walton has lectured widely on aspects of Irish genealogy and local history over the years and spoke at the first, second and third editions of the Irish Genealogical Congress, giving the keynote address at the second IGC.

“Perhaps his most lasting contributions to Irish heritage are his writings,” the IGRS concludes.

“His book The Royal Charters of Waterford was published in 1992.

“He contributed articles to various periodicals, including Decies, Analecta Hibernica, the Irish Ancestor and, of course, the Irish Genealogist.

“Those in the Irish Genealogist include various ‘Beginners’ Pages’ published in between 1980 and 1987, miscellaneous transcribed monumental inscriptions, hearth money rolls from Co. Kilkenny, references to eighteenth century Irish inhabitants of Cadiz, Waterford Freemen 1542-1650, and detailed histories of the Aylward and Bolton families.”

Steven Smyrl, Chairman of the Council of the IGRS, announced the Wallace Clare Award recipient for 2021 on November 10.

He said: “Julian is thoroughly deserving of this year’s award.

“His dedication to the pursuit and promotion of Irish genealogy over many years has had a very significant impact on the development of Irish ancestral research.

“The IGRS has benefitted greatly from his membership.”