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Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Researching Ireland - Part 1

In my quest to trace my family tree in Ireland, I have found Ancestry.com to be of little help.  That is a shame as there is so much information to be found, had, and discovered.  Ancestry does not even have the 1901 and 1911 Irish Census in their card catalog.  You can easily search and find it online for free, however.

In my past life, we used to call easy research and projects "low lying fruit on the tree".  In many respects, it was expected that the low lying fruit be addressed and taken care of resulting in a "quick win" and kudos for those involved.  On the other hand, if you were the one always going after the low lying fruit and never attempting the fruit higher on the tree, you'd be considered someone who was not necessarily up for the challenge and just looking for the easy way out.  Is this the approach that Ancestry.com takes?

When it comes to researching in Ireland, it can be challenging and considered fruit that is high on the tree.  Are the source documents that hard to get at?  In some cases, they may be hard to find or completely unavailable.  On the other hand, the Irish Archives seem to have a lot of information as do the individual heritage centres across Ireland.  Also, the LDS Church went after the parish records a number of years back, filming the records that they could get their hands on.  The parish records are all on microfilm available for viewing at a minimal cost via LDS Family Research Libraries found in cities across the U.S.   In fact, I live about a mile from one.  In my opinion, the LDS Church went after the fruit high on the tree.  Has Ancestry.com even made that attempt?

I must admit to not really knowing if the LDS Church records are easy or hard to search.  The key to unlocking these records is knowing where your Irish ancestors were from.  I know with certainty where several of my ancestors are from in Ireland, yet a few of my lines are still questionable.  I would not know what parochial parish film to request for my McGuire's who were apparently from Fermanagh.  That's pretty generic.  It's almost like saying my McGuire's are from Ireland.  I'm also referring to the McGuire's on my Dad's side of the family.  My Maguire's on the other side are very likely to be found on the parochial parish film for Termonfeckin/Termonfechin, County Louth, Ireland.  It is nice when the name of the town and the parish match, as in this case.

So how do you go about finding your ancestors in Ireland when all you have is a last name, that they were from Ireland, and left from Cork or another seaport along the Irish coast.  Well, let's just say that I am working that myself.  I might have hit on some sources online.

To be continued......

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