Thursday, September 11, 2014

An Irish Potpourri

It’s funny how I just can’t stop researching. Yes, we leave for Ireland in a little over two weeks—you’d think I’d get the hint. The compelling force of that tendency to cram in “just a little bit more” is overwhelming for this last-minute zombie.

Perhaps, to freshen the research air and divert my attention from that must-do compulsion, I can give a brief re-cap of the online resources that I've found helpful—or no, hold me back look like they might be worth checking out. These, of course, are sites focusing on genealogical research in Ireland, not the international powerhouses, and

Finding these resources was in itself a journey. I can’t say how I stumbled upon each of them. Google likely played a prominent role in the discovery process, but in other cases, I bumped into these by following my digital nose. See if any of these mentions strike your fancy.

It was quite a while back that I ran into, the creation of the Irish Family History Foundation. While I first remember using their resources before the advent of their credit system—and am not sure I like it as it stands now—the data covered all the areas I was seeking in Ireland, with the exception of County Kerry.

That, however, was handily covered by another website which I soon discovered, They, too, however, have undergone a redesign, but I still managed to find the few County Kerry Catholic records I was seeking there.

The National Archives of Ireland just happens to have a list with links to other resources for researching family roots in their country, which I’ve found to be helpful.

Through blog-hopping, I’ve found some other resources, too. I found the Irish Genealogical Society International—don’t let that name fool you; their library and classes are offered in Saint Paul, Minnesota—and they produce a blog which sometimes leads to clues on additional research resources.

Last spring, when I attended the genetic genealogy conference held concurrently with the Southern California Genealogical Society’s Jamboree, I met and had an informative conversation with Dr. Maurice Gleeson, who spoke extensively on genealogical research in Ireland. Of course, he is very involved with their genetic genealogy conference there, and so I began following that conference blog as well. They’ve just posted their speaker’s roster for this upcoming conference in Dublin, which, coincidentally, I will be able to attend.

Another blog I started following, and which I’ve found very helpful, is Claire Santry’s Irish Genealogy News. In addition, the blog is linked to her Irish Genealogy Toolkit, a helpful compendium of tips and guides.

In the midst of all these genealogical giants, it may seem unusual to find the next listing, but I want to share it anyhow. Do you ever find it helpful, in mounting your own project, to look sideways at what your peers are doing? As prime advocate for the guinea pig approach to researching genealogy, I do that all the time. That’s why I appreciate the blog written by one of A Family Tapestry’s readers, Dara. She writes regularly—from Ireland, I might add—about her research finds on her own ancestors. If you don’t already, you can follow her at Black Raven Genealogy.

Thanks to Dara, I've found yet another website to explore during this last-minute push to find everything that possibly may be found. At, you can find maps, articles and other Irish material, mostly on Dublin. With my penchant for maps, I've been playing with their parish-finder, but I see there is a wealth of other information to mine there, as well.

Just for fun—it doesn’t really help me discover anything more about our family’s immediate Irish roots, but it does widen my horizons to an awareness of a much deeper heritage preserved in Ireland’s treasures—I follow archaeologist Colm Moriarty’s blog, Irish Archaeology. With a daughter over there studying that very subject, how could I not?

Besides blogs, I have found one other site to be helpful. It is the forum at Ireland Reaching Out, a mostly volunteer-driven initiative to conduct a national “reverse genealogy programme.” As their website explains it:
Instead of waiting for people of Irish descent to trace their roots, we go the other way. Working through voluntary effort at a townland, village and parish level in Ireland, we identify who left those areas, and trace them and their descendants worldwide.

The idea behind their effort is to organize volunteers from each parish to be available for assistance. I’ve utilized the forum a number of times, always receiving helpful guidance over the years—often, answers I wouldn’t have been able to find elsewhere.

Of course, the “Irish Ancestors” section of The Irish Times has been indispensable to me over the several months I’ve concentrated on this research goal.

One last resource that seems to defy categorization—or origin—is the weekly letter sent out by Mike Collins of County Cork. The subscription, offered at no charge, brings a Sunday morning chatty “Letter From Ireland” from Mike, covering the local perspective on traveling to Ireland for genealogical research purposes. Of course, the letter is connected to a website which provides helpful resources, as well. Take a look and see what you think.

Well, I know I’ve frequented many more sites than these, in trying to absorb every aspect of what I need to know before we go. But for a recap, I thought this might be a helpful start to collect as many resources as possible into one post. Hopefully, for those of you following this same path, it will bring you just the revelation you were seeking.

Above: "Feeding the Chickens," by Irish impressionist Walter Frederick Osborne, 1885 oil on canvas; courtesy Wikipedia; in the public domain.


  1. I've copied this list. I'm familiar with several of them, but it's nice to be reminded to go back and look again.

    1. You're reminding me of something, Wendy: putting the list in one place where it is accessible for future reference. Right now, those links are all at my fingertips, because I refer back to them so often in this research project. Later, it may not be the same.

      I used to have everything filed in a "favorites" folder, but when I changed browsers, I didn't bring that list over to the new site. Think it's time for a little computer housekeeping...

  2. Thanks a million, Jacqi, I feel honoured to be included in such a prestigious listing.

    1. You are certainly welcome, Dara. I enjoy reading about your research discoveries, and gleaning the resources you find. We all learn from each other!

  3. Awesome list!! Hope your other lists (for your trip) are equally awesome!

    1. Thanks, Iggy! I always marvel at what can be found via Internet, thanks to search engines like Google. Resources! What would we do without them?!

  4. We can all learn from each other! Whatever would we do without computers:)

    1. When I think about how long it used to take to do a search in a library or archives, or through a microfilmed newspaper or census, I heartily can agree with you. Computers make genealogical research so much more streamlined. And that means we can get so much more accomplished.


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