My latest grant has been awarded to Oisín Breatnach.

Oisín sought and received funding to support him with the research, digitizing, processing of and archiving of information relating to the Irish between 1570 and 1920 from old documents in archives of the Basque country.

In his own words:

“Much of this information is unique and invaluable to researchers, both of Basque history and of the Irish diaspora. Many documents contain valuable information which does not exist in Ireland anymore because of successive centuries of wars and repression, and the ravages of time.

The files fill in important gaps in Irish and Basque genealogies and history. They contain for example, original birth and baptism certificates, genealogies going back in history, trade records, bills of exchange, information on merchants of the time, attestations by religious and civic members, wills, original signatures and more.

As the Catholic religion was repressed from the late 16th – late 18th centuries, records of births, marriages and deaths of the mainly Catholic population practically ceased. Some were recorded in secret for those hoping to start a new life abroad. The priest themselves risked being hunted, tortured and killed if discovered. They also contain information on the subsequent connection between the Irish and the Basques, through commerce, intermarriage and social interaction.

Many of these files are now in grave danger (due to bad storage in the past and at present, bad handling and the effects of time). Some of the documents are already badly deteriorated, others are reaching that state and will not bear much more handling. Lack of a restoration programme (as is the case in the Basque Country), and failure to fund documentation will result in the irretrievable loss of the information. Digitization and documentation NOW will protect them for future generations and students.”

You can apply for a Seton Shields grant here. Don’t miss checking out the cool projects I’ve had the opportunity to contribute to over the years, plus an article that will give you a behind-the-scenes peek into my grants program (and might help you increase your odds of being selected when you apply)!

Image Credit: SanchoPanzaXXI