Saturday, March 14, 2009

My Favorite Thing about Irish Genealogy

This is my entry to the 12th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture. This edition is open to anything and everything about Irish heritage, genealogy and culture. To learn more about the carnival and find links to other posts, visit the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture.

There are many things I love about doing Irish genealogy. My favorite thing about Irish research is being able to go to Ireland to do it. I’ve only been to Ireland twice, and I enjoyed it both times. I’d go back every year if I could!

My last trip was in 2006. We called it the “Library Tour of Ireland” although it was the “Playground Tour of Ireland” for my kids. I only visited 3 libraries, for less than 8 hours each, but it was great!

In Dublin, I visited the National Library of Ireland. I had a consultation with a member of the Genealogy Service staff. I also looked at church records on microfilm.

In Longford, I visited the county library. I looked at periodicals and a local history collection that is not available elsewhere. I found an interesting clue about the Bestick family of Longford: a mother’s name on a headstone transcription, which was no longer visible on the headstone itself.

I visited the Meath County Library in Navan. I looked at newspapers on the microfilm reader. (I could read old newspapers for hours!) I also looked at books and periodicals in the local history section.

(I have to admit, I also used the computers at the county libraries to check my email. I wonder if they will have wifi by the time I make my next visit.)

I’ve already been making plans for my next trip to Ireland, although I don’t yet know when it will be. 1) I plan to visit PRONI (the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland) to search for my McSorleys from County Tyrone. I also want to look at estate papers in their collection that might relate to ancestors from other parts of Ireland. 2) I’d like to visit the Louth County Library and the Louth County Archives. I have ancestors who were from the parish of St. Mary’s-Drogheda, and many records and local history sources for Drogheda are at the County Louth facilities. 3) I can’t go to Ireland without a visit to Dublin. There are several facilities in Dublin that I’d like to visit. I will decide where to do my research depending on how much time I’ll have for research and where I am with my research at that point. But the National Archives of Ireland is calling to me, so I have a feeling I’ll be stopping there. I can’t resist a good manuscript collection.

As David Rencher and David Ouimette tell the students in their Irish Research courses: It isn’t that you have to go to Ireland to do research, it’s that you get to go to Ireland to do research.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!