It’s been wonderful, knowing I can research details of my family history from the comfort of my own home, moving not much more than my fingertips across a keyboard. There are resources available, everything from FamilySearch.org, the long-established repository for all things genealogical, to fresh ideas, like Ireland’s brainchild for reaching out to curious descendants of the famine’s diaspora, Ireland Reaching Out.
My only problem: I seem to arrive at these promising websites either too early or too late.
Take FamilySearch.org. With the roll out of their latest iteration of their website, the Church of Latter Day Saints incorporated the device of the “wiki” to create their own version of Wikipedia: a finding aid for genealogical research, honed down to the smallest geographical designations. Since I had recently discovered that FamilySearch included some Irish records for County Kerry—the very location of the next family on my get-ready-for-Ireland quest—I decided to do a search there for the family of our ancestors, John and Johanna Falvey Kelly.
Using only FamilySearch's database labeled “Irish Births and Baptisms 1620-1881,” I narrowed down my parameters until I reached a likely cohort of sixteen hits. Among that manageable number of results, there were four possibilities of specific interest:
· Mary Kelly, born 18 September, 1864, in “Molahiffe”
· Mary Kelly, born 20 March, 1867, in “County Kerry”
· Mary Kelly, born 20 March, 1867, in “Molahiffe”
· Mary Kelly, born 24 March, 1867, in “Currow”
Each of these results named as parents a variation on the spellings for John Kelly as father and Johanna Falvey as mother.
Googling “Molahiffe, County Kerry” brought several results, which I was eager to follow. The first one turned out to be the wiki page for FamilySearch’s entry by that name. “Wonderful,” I thought, “I’m finally getting to check out a FamilySearch wiki. I’ve always meant to do that.”
But when I got to the page, it was evidently the boilerplate format provided so a well-meaning volunteer could take the template and run with it.
Another Google result for my eager search on my new-found location was the County Kerry page on Ireland Reaching Out. This was a government-sanctioned program launched with much fanfare a few years back—and oh, how I wish I were part of the flagship enterprise that was feted with accolades upon their early successes—but it apparently has fallen out of the limelight. The latest entry for the County Kerry page for Molahiffe parish was dated January 30 of 2013.
Not to be discouraged, I try to remember how much I have yet to learn about these Irish ancestors, and how many resources are still out there, inviting me to mount this steep learning curve. After all, I only have four more months to learn so much.
Though all I could find online for Molahiffe baptismal records was a site that did not include any Kelly or Falvey records, I can take a look at other pockets of stuff online as I find them—like the old Rootsweb site for Kerry Online Records. I can even play around with the Surname Search page at The Irish Times.
I can refocus my sites on learning about the Lordship of Molahiffe—if, indeed, this is the region from which our Falvey ancestors hailed. Hey, this lordship comes complete with a castle. Wouldn’t it be cool to go visit it? After all, someday this keyboard traveler will convert from virtual to real traveler.