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Falley Collection

Identifier: MS102


Margaret Dickson Falley is the author of a two-volume guide to genealogical study, Irish and Scotch-Irish ancestral research (Evanston, 1962), which suggests methods of research and outlines the nature of records and sources for the American student of Irish and Scotch-Irish family history.


  • undated

Conditions Governing Access


Biographical / Historical

Margaret Dickson Falley donated her collection of books on Irish and American genealogy in 1980. In her study of family history and genealogy she acquired over 3,000 volumes, published in both the United States and the British Isles. The collection includes more than 1,600 American reference books, 1,200 Irish ref­erence books, and nearly 200 volumes from other parts of the Unit­ed Kingdom, as well as 170 microfilm reels of parish records, deeds, and emigration passenger lists from Irish sources. Mrs. Falley is the author of a two-volume guide to genealogi­cal study, IRISH AND SCOTCH-IRISH ANCESTRAL RESEARCH (Evanston, 1962), which suggests methods of research and outlines the nature of records and sources for the American student of Irish and Scotch-­Irish family history. "The genealogist must first locate the geo­graphical area of his earliest known branch of the family, and also the geographical origin of the earliest known ancestor, whether he lived and died in Ireland or emigrated." (p. iv) He must exhaust all American sources to trace the ancestor who actually emigrated: his place of birth, residence at the time of emigration, household­er status both in America and Ireland, the names of a wife and her parents and any other family members, etc. Published sources are as vital to this search as private family records: probate and marriage records, deeds, mortgages, chancery and court records, pension documents, emigration passenger lists, naturalization and alien registration lists, and records of indenture.

The Falley Collection contains many of these published materi­als which would aid a genealogist's early research. Included are more than 100 family histories tracing early American families and their descendants. State and local histories with information on wills, marriages, census records, and other vital statistics of public record are traced in over 450 volumes. Represented are the New England states, particularly Massachusetts, the Midwest, and a few of the Southern states.

Reference books of a broader scope include U.S. Bureau of Census information inventories, guides by such organizations as the D.A.R., the Mormons, and the Quakers; the INDEX OF REVOLUTION­ARY WAR PENSION APPLICATIONS (Washington, 1966); the National Ar­chives' PRELIMINARY INVENTORY OF THE LAND ENTRY PAPERS OF THE GEN­ERAL LAND OFFICE (1949); and general books on methodology with sug­gestions for research procedures.

When American research has been completed, the genealogist must consult materials in principal Irish repositories which house published works, manuscript collections, and microfilmed records. The Falley Collection contains Irish reference books including at­lases and gazeteers, army records, published census statistics, and THE CIVIL SURVEY, a.d. 1654-1656. Also represented are more than 50 indexes to marriage records, baptisms, school and chancery rolls, deed, tombstone inscriptions and memorials, wills, calendars of state papers, and the reports of Ireland's Public Record Office which alone run to nearly 60 volumes. There are nearly 100 volumes of published ecclesiastical records, both Catholic and Protestant, particularly Methodist, Presbyterian, and Quaker. The histories of the cities and counties of Ireland are also well represented by another 100 volumes containing statistical and ordnance surveys, memoirs and general histories. Special attention is paid to such places as Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Londonderry and Ulster.

Irish and Scotch-Irish families, their names, origins, and coats-of-arms are traced in nearly 100 works which include pub­lished papers, manuscripts, and guides to surnames. Emigration histories and records are contained in 16 volumes; Irish and Scotch-Irish settlements in North America in the 17th, 18th and 19th cen­turies are emphasized.

General Irish history and folklore can be found in some 30 books, and issues of the 19th century TREBLE ALMANACK are also avail­able. Microfilm reels of Irish parish records, deed and ship's passenger lists are housed in Northwestern University Library's Newspaper/Microtext Department.


9 Boxes

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Margaret Dickson Falley donated her collection of books on Irish and American genealogy in 1980.
Guide to the Falley Collection
Joseph F. Martin. (2002)
1991, 2002
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Repository Details

Part of the Charles Deering McCormick Library of Special Collections Repository

Deering Library, Level 3
1970 Campus Drive
Evanston IL 60208-2300 US