Jennifer Harrison Latest Recipient of the Wallace Clare Award
The following announcement was written by the Council of the Irish Genealogical Research Society:
The Council of the Irish Genealogical Research Society is pleased to announce that the latest recipient of the Wallace Clare Award is Dr Jennifer Harrison, a genealogist and historian from Queensland, Australia, where she is an honorary research fellow in history at the University of Queensland.
Dr Harrison’s contribution to the study of Irish genealogy and history in the Australian state of Queensland is unrivalled. Over decades she has conducted in-depth research on original material in Ireland and Australia to expand the understanding of migration from Ireland to Queensland of convicts, free settlers and members of the colonial administration. Her experience as a genealogist and an academic historian has given her the skills to research and interpret the available records and to enrich the understanding of early European settlement in the colony.
Dr Harrison has been involved in genealogy for over four decades. She is an academic historian with wide ranging interests, primarily in relation to European migration to what became the state of Queensland, Australia. Her work has been acknowledged with the Fellowships of the Federation of Australian Historical Societies and the Royal Historical Society of Queensland. Her study of Irish migration to the state has resulted in an extensive body of published work in the form of books, chapters in edited works and articles in academic journals. In addition, since the foundation of the quarterly magazine Irish Roots in 1992, her regular column on the Australian connection had appeared in every single issue.
In accepting the award, Dr Harrison said “I am overwhelmed to be the recipient of the Wallace Clare Award, particularly when I think of so many potential candidates all around the world. With my dear friend Dr Perry McIntyre, we have been fortunate enough to have visited Ireland very regularly over the years and in our travels and during our research we have been blessed to participate in many conferences and seminars. Additionally, so many opportunities to contribute to events and to write papers and give presentations over the years have been offered.
“Also we have availed ourselves unceasingly of the irresistible treasures available at various repositories all over the beautiful island of Ireland. In the course of our sojourns, and return visits to Australia by several of the inspirational people we have encountered, we have developed many close attachments to people and places. I am so glad that William Butler Yeats has already expressed my heartfelt appreciation so effectively for me: “Think where man’s glory most begins and ends, and say my glory was I had such friends.” Because every time I think of a library, centre, archives or site, it is inevitably connected with some very treasured person. In Ireland, I have had the very best of support and friendship in all my academic and family history endeavours.
“I am particularly grateful to Tony McCarthy of Cork who in 1992 not only proffered friendship but also the prospect of writing for the new magazine he was about to found, Irish Roots. Who would have thought 31 years later that Julie and Maureen Phibbs (who now publish the magazine) would still be wholeheartedly supporting the Australian column for which have I enjoyed submitting stories for more than 120 issues.”
IGRS Chairman Steven Smyrl said “Dr Harrison’s contribution to the study of the Irish in Queensland, and by extension Australia, is unparalleled. Her ability to successfully link the often limited surviving sources in Ireland with records and material in Australia has more than amply demonstrated the considerable impact that the Irish have made to the development of both Queensland and wider Australia over the past 235 years. Her output is prolific: two books, eight book chapters, innumerable journal articles and many conference papers. Her regular column in the quarterly magazine Irish Roots has helped to demystify genealogical research for both the amateur and the seasoned professional alike. I have met Jennifer many times over the years during her trips to Ireland and can say that her knowledge of Ireland, its history and the sources for it, is expansive, and she is a most worthy recipient of this Award.”
The Wallace Clare Award is named in honour of Rev. Wallace Clare (1895-1963), a Catholic priest and keen academic who founded the IGRS in 1936. This was as a response to the great conflagration of 1922, which consumed almost the entire contents of Ireland’s Public Record Office. Fr. Clare initiated the Society’s core policy of maintaining a library which 87 years later holds an invaluable collection of transcripts and abstracts compiled from documents subsequently destroyed in the fire. He was the author of the first ever book on Irish ancestral research, A Simple Guide to Irish Genealogy, published in 1937. Unsurprisingly, Fr. Clare was the first individual to be elected a Fellow of the IGRS in 1937.