Nov 11, 2021

IGRS Announces the Presentation of the 2021 Wallace Clare Award

The following was written by the Irish Genealogical Research Society:

The Council of the Irish Genealogical Research Society is pleased to announce that the 2021 recipient of the Wallace Clare Award is Julian C. Walton, MA, FIGRS. Julian has made 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.

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 Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) has been fortunate to have him as a member for over half a century. From the beginning he was a willing volunteer. Much of Julian’s work in Irish genealogy was done through his membership of the IGRS.

He 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 2-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. Julian was elected a Fellow of the Society in 1975. He was appointed to the Council in 1983 and he has been a Vice President since 1988.

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

Julian lectured widely on aspects of Irish genealogy and local history. He spoke at the 1st, 2nd and 3rd editions of the Irish Genealogical Congress, giving the keynote address at the 2nd IGC. His many contributions to Waterford history included popularising the subject through a weekly slot on the local radio station WLRFM, starting in 1993. Two selections of his radio stories were published in the 2010s, with accompanying audio discs.

Perhaps his most lasting contributions to Irish heritage are his writings. 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, announcing the Wallace Clare Award recipient for 2021, 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.’


Irish Genealogical Research Society

Founded in 1936, the Irish Genealogical Research Society is oldest and largest organisation devoted to Irish ancestral research. It was founded in London by Rev. Wallace Clare, with the primary aim of gathering material to replace some of the sources lost in the destruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland in 1922. The IGRS has been publishing the learned journal the Irish Genealogist since its inception. The Society’s membership is worldwide. There are two branches: the Ireland Branch (covering the island of Ireland) and the London & South East Branch (covering the Greater London area), which organise events for members based in those locations.

Wallace Clare Award

Rev. Wallace Clare (1895-1963) was an English-born Roman Catholic priest of Irish ancestry. He was the founder of the IGRS, and its guiding light for its early decades. Father Clare initiated the Society’s core policy of maintaining a library. The library now holds valuable and often unique collections of record transcripts and abstracts. The award is named in his honour. It was instituted in 2020, with four initial recipients. One additional recipient will be announced annually.

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