Live from Ireland, genealogist and historian David Ryan will give a Zoom talk titled From the Ashes: The 1922 Irish Public Record Office Fire for the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society, Saturday, March 18.

The Genealogical Society meeting also will take place in person at First Presbyterian Church at 21 E. Constance Ave., Santa Barbara. Genealogical Society special interest groups will meet at 9:30 a.m. (in person only), followed by a business meeting at 10:30 a.m., and Ryan’s presentation at 11 a.m.

To register for the Zoom talk or learn more about the Santa Barbara County Genealogical Society, visit

The destruction of the Public Records Office in June 1922 at the outset of the Irish Civil War has cast a long shadow over Irish genealogical research. Anyone who has sought their Irish ancestors has likely encountered frustration at the gaps in available records caused by this disaster.

But how much do we really know about the events that caused the fire and were all our records really lost?

Ryan will explore the background of the Public Record Office fire and address some of the myths that have grown up around it. He will examine how recent advances in conservation techniques and modern technology are allowing the recovery of some records previously believed lost.

Ryan is a professional genealogist and oral historian based outside of Cork City, Ireland. He is a graduate of University College Cork. He holds an MA in nedieval history and a diploma in genealogy, and is currently studying for a masters in public history with the University of Limerick.