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Dr. Brian Trainor Collection

Identifier: MIL-2017-001


  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1663 - 2011

Biographical / Historical

Dr. Brian Trainor (Bernard Ignatius Trainor) was born in Coleraine, Northern Ireland in 1928 and passed away in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 2018.

Dr. Brian Trainor dedicated his life to the preservation of, access to, and education on historical materials on the whole island of Ireland. He earned a First Class Honors History degree from Queen's University Belfast and was appointed an assistant lecturer at the University in 1951. In the mid 1950’s he was appointed assistant archivist at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), Director of PRONI from 1970 - 1987, a Chairman of the Irish Manuscripts Commission and of the National Archives Advisory Committee, and upon retirement in 1987 he dedicated himself to the mission of the Ulster Historical Foundation as Research Director. Dr. Trainor was awarded two Honorary Doctorates: one from the University of Ulster in 1984, and the other from the University of Ireland in 1986.

While at PRONI Dr. Trainor developed robust research collections, produced studies, and developed publications of which he was one of the editors. PRONI under Dr. Trainor also developed teaching materials, put on lectures and seminars, and hosted exhibitions. He also developed relationships with academic institutions across Ireland.

At the Ulster Historical Foundation (UHF), Dr. Trainor furthered his interest in historical and genealogical research and access. He went on annual lecture tours in the United States and Canada, championed UHF’s involvement in the Irish Genealogical Project, and continued giving lectures after his second retirement as UHF’s Research Director in 2006. In the 1980’s Dr. Trainor was involved in the preservation of Linen Hall Library and Friar’s Bush Graveyard in Belfast.

Dr. Brian Trainor was married to wife Pilar with whom he had three children.

Dr. Trainor was friends with Norman McClelland, founder of the McClelland Library. The McClelland Library was a host on one of the UHF lecture tours, and Dr. Trainor presented to the Arizona public on March 18th, 2013. Dr. Trainor and Norman McClelland last met in person at Dr. Trainor’s house in 2016.


6 Linear Feet (4 oversized archival boxes )

Language of Materials



The collection is organized into two series. The first series is pamphlets, booklets, and notes that were scattered throughout the original donation. They are collected together in no discernible order. The second series is arranged according to the original order labeling of Dr. Trainor on the first page of each document set. Each document set was bound with string through a hole in the corner by Dr. Trainor. The second series was shipped in boxes completely seperate from the first.

Custodial History

On September 23rd, 2016 Dr. Brian Trainor offered to donate his entire personal library to the McClelland Library. Between late 2016 and early 2017 shipping arrangements were made. In early 2017 the collection arrived at the McClelland Library. Published material without notes was deaccessioned and added to the Library Collections from 2017 on. In 2023 all archival material was processed and rehoused into archival containers.

Dr. Brian Trainor Collection
A Guide to the Collection at the McClelland Library
Caroline Woodiel
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Our thanks to the McClelland and Giltner families
Edition statement
This is the first edition of the finding aid for this collection.

Repository Details

Part of the McClelland Library Archive, part of the McClelland Library, a division of the Irish Cultural and Learning Foundation. Repository

1106 North Central Avenue
Phoenix AZ 85004 United States