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Anybody else FRUSTRATED with GENEOLOGY research? Visiting Ireland next summer!

Anybody else FRUSTRATED with GENEOLOGY research? Visiting Ireland next summer!

Oct 6th, 2005, 02:22 AM
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Anybody else FRUSTRATED with GENEOLOGY research? Visiting Ireland next summer!

Help! I feel so lost with my attempts at geneology research. Has anybody else had some success with geneology research prior to visiting Ireland? My fraternal grandmother was born in County Armagh but I don't know where Irish great-grandfather was born. I have tidbits of info but no idea what to do with them next.

My plans to visit Ireland next summer with my family are going well thanks to you all. But my geneology research is a frustrating tangle and I'm not sure what to do next. I subscribe to ancestry.com but it's not helping too much...

I probably have relations in Ireland as great-grandmother had 9 children and they didn't all emigrate... Has anybody had experience with tracking down distant cousins?

I didn't really expect to find any relatives but finding more info would be nice too!

Thanks for any help from experienced geneology researchers.

Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 03:31 AM
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Prepare yourself for more frustration, I'm afraid. A large part of old records for Ireland were lost in the civil war of 1922, and the position may be complicated by precisely which side of the border your relatives ended up in - Armagh is in the north, but they may not have stayed there.

You can get a good general overview of sources and local contacts at www.genuki.org.uk.

You could also try the Usenet news group at soc.genealogy.ireland, which you can access at groups.google.com if you don't use a Usenet news reader.
PatrickLondon is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 03:52 AM
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Have you tried any Family History facilities affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints? They usually have quite a bit of geneological information. And they have access to many records around the world that they can send to you. The below web address may be useful.


Hope this helps!
loves is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 11:55 AM
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PatrickLondon, I will try your links, thanks. It is very wearying and planning our trip is lots more fun.

loves, yes, I have been to the family search link that the Mormons kindly provide. Unfortunately my grandmother is hard to trace, probably because she used several different names and even her children seem confused about that! I have had more success in tracing her siblings actually, and have found the ship's passenger records, I think, for various siblings who came to America. that was exciting.

But I can't seem to get further than that and it's like being lost in a tangled forest. Even found an address where a relative lived in Ireland in early 1900's. Now what do I do with that info??

Well thanks for listening.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 12:52 PM
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Hello Melissa5, I have read that in Ireland the churches kept the Geneology records, that is if a person was baptisted etc. In that you have a street address for 1900 perhaps you could check with the churches in that area.
Best wishes to you.
LoveItaly is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 01:23 PM
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1. What's a "fraternal grandmother"? It's hard to see how you aren't sure what your grandmother was called (where was she married? What did it say on her marriage certificate?). If you've traced any of her siblings to a street, the 1901 and the 1911 census returns for the 26 counties, and the 1901 census return for Fermanagh, Armagh, Tyrone, Down, Derry and Antrim are available through Mormon centres and from the Dublin or Belfast authorities. They'll give you full details of everyone in the house - probably including your (or your stepbrother's?) grandmother.

2. All births had to be registered in Ireland from 1864. No birth, marriage or death records were destroyed in the wars, and they're all fully indexed. Many Mormon centres have full indexes on microfilm, and the Belfast and Dublin record offices also have full indexes. Trawling through them is boring, but it's doable. Having found the reference on the index, you can get the birth certificate (with full parents' details) from Belfast or Dublin, or in many cases by getting the microfilm of the birth registers from the Mormons.

3. Church records rarely add little to what's available from the civil records after 1864. If Catholic, they'll probably tell you the godparents' names, but little else.

4. Before 1864, it all gets a lot murkier, especially if the ancestors were Catholic or Presbyterian. You may well be unable to go further back

5. After 1864, I can't see what's so frustrating. Use the information you've got and invest time poring through the civil records.

6. Forget about GENUKI and all that. Buy Grenham's book (or get the little leaflet the Mormons put out) and follow the guidelines religiously. And accept that you may not be able to find relatives in Ireland.

7. No, I've not been one iota frustrated.
flanneruk is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 01:25 PM
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My parents obtained scads of genealogical information from the Parish where their parents/grandparents were born. I think it's probably going to be easier once you get there. I once spent days in the Library of Congress searching and though I came up with a few neat clues, the stuff my parents just picked up in Ireland was much more useful and interesting.
StCirq is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 02:09 PM
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Melissa5, I don't really have any advice, only that I share your frustrations. My grandfather was born in Zagreb and he immigrated to the U.S. with my parents (my great grandparents) when he was young. He still has a brother over there (if he is still alive) and other family, I'm sure. Unfortunately my grandfather died nineteen years ago and my grandmother just died, leaving me with little information.

We are planning a trip to Croatia next year and were interested in researching our family history. My mom has marriage documents and some naturalization papers from former Yugoslavia, but the names don't match. My guess is that when my grandparents came over, the person who filled out their information typed their names as they sounded, not as they were actually spelled, since my grandparents didn't know any english. There are several other discrepencies in the documents from Yugoslavia and the documents done here in the U.S. Leads to mounds of frustration when trying to study geneology!

Anyways, all of this is no help to you. I wish you the very best of luck!

tcreath is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 02:12 PM
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I did the same thing and visited the town in Switzerland where my ancestors came from. I went to a Church of the Latter Day Saints research center and they helped me determine which microfiche to request. The microfiche was available to me for as long as I needed it. I found all sorts of information in the book. One of my cousins actually got to look at the actual book in the church. My research has been a bit easier than some because my name is not common in the US. The people at the LDS center were extremely helpful and they are very knowledgeable about research tools. Hopefully there is one near your house.
cls2paris is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 02:21 PM
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Hi Melissa,

I know very little about this but a relative of mine traced our family tree back to William of Orange but it took him years.

My understanding is (and I am very unsure about this), as Parick as pointed out, lots of records were lost during the Cival War with the blowing up of the Court House in Dublin (or something in Dublin - my history is foggy!).

Birth, Marrage and death certificates were lost but I could be wrong.

I would agree with Stcirq, go to the parishes and look through the records.

If there is anything I can help you with in NI please let me know and I will do my best to help

cambe is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 02:42 PM
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If I had the information you have, I would be thrilled! At least you have a county name - you can surely build on that information.

I don't have ONE clue as to where my great-grandparents lived in Ireland, nor any information on my husband's great-grandparents. Names were changed along the way. I'm supposing our family name was O'Connor and changed to Connors in America. My grandfather quoted his father who said they dropped the "O" in the Irish Sea.

If you have the correct names and the county name, you need to ask lots of questions (as you are doing) and persevere. You will be rewarded.
i_am_kane is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 03:03 PM
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Virtually not one single, solitary, civil birth, marriage or death record has gone missing in Ireland since the system was made mandatory for all Irish residents in 1864 (or for non-Catholic marriages in 1845)

The belief that some have gone missing is a simple fantasy, believed by people too lazy to use Grenham or the Mormon guide. Not only are they not missing: there's hardly a major city in the Diaspora (in Britain, the US, Canadsa or Australia) without a full set of microfilmed indexes to them from 1864 to 1890.

What IS missing is a very large proportion of census returns for 1891 and before. But if you use the civil indexes properly, you're really not likely to need the census anyway.
flanneruk is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 04:20 PM
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Actually, a number of records WERE lost or destroyed in the Republic, during the Civil War, but most have been reconstructed from their original sources -- the ledger books of the village registrars.

Part of the difficulty with older records is that often times the Irish who reported the birth were illiterate and the information was written down by a local Registrar who was an Anglo-Irish. Inevitably, spelling was often phonetic and often times, the Registrar wrote down what he THOUGHT he heard.

I met a gentleman named Jack Doody, a retired policeman from County Kerry who was in his mid-70's, that told me that his father's birth certificate showed his last name to be Doody, yet the same Registrar had recorded the birth of Jack's uncle under the name of Dowda.

In the case of my father-in law's family record, his grandmother's maiden name was Lehane. Most of the records we found copies of show it as spelled Lihane, Lyhane and Lehan. The registrar, in all cases were the same.
Another complication is reflected in the first name.

We have a birth record for a Helena Doody, and from the same month, a baptismal record for an Ellen. And yet, from the time she stepped of the boat into the United States at the age of 12, everyone knew her ONLY as Lena.
Prior to our doing the research, it was assumed that "Ellen" had either been left behind, or died as a child.

We hired a professional researcher in Dublin to find our records. It cost about $225. I'm sure there are people in Belfast who offer similar services. Birth records of siblings are valuable as they list the residence of the father at the time of the birth. In our case it allowed us to trace the family from Townland to Townland over a period of over 20 years. Our Timothy moved frequently, therefor he was a farm LABORER, not a farmer.

The Church does maintain baptism and marraige records, but it is up to the local bishop and the local priest as to whether or not to share that information. Some will, but many refuse to do so. These are Church property, NOT Public Records.
Your father's grandmother's records reside in Northern Ireland and that is where you need to search them out.

Good luck,
Itallian_Chauffer is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 04:43 PM
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flanneruk, well, since you have not been "one iota frustrated", you certainly have no empathy for me! Imagine the frustration of plugging in your grandmother's various names and finding "no matches". (By the way the on-line records are NOT complete, as explained to me by my hubby's uncle who has been doing geneology research for years on hubby's side of the family.) Grandmother used various names, including more than one first name and more than one last name. The only document I have access to is a copy of her first marriage, which although it is on paper doesn't show up anywhere on the internet records by the way! Only her maiden name is on the first marriage certificate. Her first and last name on her tombstone is entirely different from her maiden name at the time she emigrated. Therefore it is very frustrating to try to trace her. Unfortunately no information is available about her father other than his name, which is a common name. If I plug in grandmother's maiden name it is common one so I get thousands of possibilities with no way to pin her down. Sure, I have spent hours researching geneology but haven't found out nearly enough to make it worthwhile so far. Grandmother went by more than one first name, and I remember writing her letters as a child and asking my father what her real name was so I could put it on the envelope, and he wasn't sure what her current real name was!!! She used at least 4 different first names and was married twice though nobody has the second marriage certificate. Don't forget I was only a child with a grandmother, she was just my beloved grandmother to me, her name didn't matter until now!

Well, there. I've expressed my frustration. Lucky for you, you haven't experienced one iota of frsutration though.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 04:51 PM
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flaneruk, I think I have 2 street addresses for older siblings of grandmother in Ireland, but this is for the time period when grandmother had already emigrated to the USA. So I have street addresses from early 1900's for possible relatives I have never met! Also to complicate things great-grandfather and 1 son had the same exact name therefore I can't be sure if I found an address for one of them or for neither.

Census are a good idea though. I did find grandmother living with her children (my Dad!) on an old census for Philadelphia. But census can be frustrating. Found a man with the same name as my great-grandfather on a census in County Armagh but there's no way to tell if he's the right man as he has a common name! Also it doesn't list names of children.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 04:54 PM
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LoveItaly: Appreciate your trying to help. We think that grandmother and siblings were all baptized Catholic, somewhere in County Armagh or Belfast, but interestingly several later became Protestant when they had grown. So I am a Catholic Protestant by heritage. Haven't yet figured out how to use church records especially since I can't yet locate grandmother's birth record, only have some info from one of her 9 siblngs birth records, but the family did move probably several times.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 04:57 PM
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flaneruk, you think that Grenham's book is useful? What's the name of the book? Thanks for the tip.

Actually I have read about some records which were destroyed in fires for example.

Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 05:00 PM
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StCirq, I'm glad your parents had success with Parish records. Maybe I could find out what Catholic parishes are near the place where grandmother's sister was born, as that's the only birth record we have available. However family did move a few times so I'll just have to hope I get lucky and both sisters were baptized in the same church.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 05:05 PM
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Tracy, you have my sympathy in the loss of your grandmother. I wish you success in tracing her. For what we can't uncover, we'll have to be content with the spirit of our grandmothers wherever we find them.

Yes, I think you are right, the people who recorded names of immigrants sometimes made mistakes especially when the immigrant has an accent and can't read or write. For example I learned that one of my Irish surnames (we have 2 Irish surnames in the family) was pronounced one way in Ireland, and wasn't spelled as it is pronounced (What I mean is the way you would pronounce it in USA is totally different from the way it would be pronounced in Ireland! Therefore it was frequently mispelled by officials upon immigration.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 05:07 PM
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cls2Paris, yes, I may have to find a research center to go to in person instead of just using the internet. Good to know you were given some personal help.
Melissa5 is offline  

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