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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, 05:11 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 786
We had a similar quest. We were looking for my husband's family. This may help you when you arrive.

My husband's family name is the same (sortof) as a town near Hull, Yorkshire. We visited Hull and stopped at the City's records. They looked up the family name and found an entry in a 17th century apprentice guild registry. They GAVE US this book to leaf through. We were looking through a book hand written in the 1600's! The next day we looked in on the library who had a geneologist available.

Even though we didn't find anything, we found an area of England that we wouldn't have visited.

Go, poke about, ask around. You may have more luck than we did. You will have a grand time nonetheless!

Danna is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 05:15 PM
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Helen (cambe): You are so nice, and thanks for your offer to help. I know we've chatted on-line before, and I think I have your e-mail address somewhere in my many many Ireland files! I will look it up. Do you know how I can find out things like what Catholic churches were there in County Armagh in the years between 1890 and 1903? (My grandmother's exact birthyear isn't known, but I have her younger sister's exact birth date, at least we know the recorded exact birth date!) Her younger sister was born in what was called "Tannaghmore West", Lurgan No. 2. However I don't know how long they lived there before moving to Belfast. Then most of the siblings emigrated to America later. You once sent me a 1901 census for Tannaghmore West which I think has my great-grandfather on it, but I can't be sure it's him, the names of his children aren't listed. He has a common name so it's unclear.

Helen, are you the one who lives in Northern Ireland? I think you gave me lots of good tips about where to visit. I have them all printed out. Besides geneology, I need to book my B&Bs, and finalize my itinerary. We will have 2 nights somewhere near Belfast.

Have a lovely day and I hope it's sunny in Ireland!
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 05:17 PM
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Helen, interesting that your relative traced your family tree back to William of Orange. I have a feeling my family tree will be traced back to a wandering story-teller!
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 05:20 PM
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I_am_Kane: If you take a trip to Ireland fish that "O" back out of the Irish sea! Well we may end up in the same boat. I will persevere (probably for years as this was a very beloved grandmother), and whatever I find out, no matter how disconnected it is, I have the plan to put it together in a book with photos to pass onto family, to hand down to my chidren/grandchildren. But really gotta put this aside for now, it's so addicting you can be up all night for hours and still have nothing new, and gotta make my B&B reservations for summer 2006 Ireland! Yay!
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 05:23 PM
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flaneruk: Bet you can't prove that no records have gone missing. Human nature and time itself tells me otherwise.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 05:26 PM
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Bob, thanks for the luck as I'll need it. Very interesting stories about all the mispellings of names. Makes sense.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 05:29 PM
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Danna, sounds like great fun. I'll see if I can find any places with records in County Armagh/Belfast area and poke around. Not sure my family will have patience for this, might have to send them off to a museum or shopping.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 06:38 PM
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I'm not yet where I want to be, but after completely stalling about five years ago, I made great progress this summer.

The greatest leap on Irish ancestry came from finding a reference to my great grantfather's NYC wedding. The marriage certificate listed his parents names. I have since received his civil birth record from the Leitrim County genealogical society.

I have perhaps taken the lazy way out on some of this stuff, deciding to pay a bit of money for subscriptions to digitalized records and for people to get records for me. I've also found amazing help from others online. I posted some querys on ancestry.com and other sites, and others have found some helpful records for me. If you haven't tried posting queries on genealogical sites, do give that a try. I still don't know if we will find living relatives in Ireland before our May trip. I also wonder what I'll do if we do find them (Hi, I'm your third cousin and I'll be in the country next May. Care to catch up for coffee?...). But, we've made loads of progress using online sources and asking for help from folks with better skills than I have.
oopsy is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 07:03 PM
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I can understand your frustration. I caught the travel bug while doing my genealogy research. I have had really good luck in posting queries on Ancestry.com. It may take a year for an answer, but it does happen. My husband's side has been easy because my mother-in-law kept everything and we had a wonderful visit last year in Schmalkalden Germany. We were able to get copies of records in the Lutheran church while visiting. We just went to their visitor center in the city and they told us where the old records were kept.

My side of the family is another story. Somewhere there is a castle in England that belongs to us.....

Oct 6th, 2005, 09:02 PM
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It also might be of some help, in doing internet searches, to use the correct spelling of the word genealogy, instead of the commonly misspelled "geneology," which is a word that doesn't exist (except probably on the internet)
StCirq is offline  
Oct 6th, 2005, 11:14 PM
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Some of this might be stating the bleeding obvious, but:

It's important to be organised and methodical. Use family tree software - the Mormons' PAF5 works well and is a free download - and enter everything you know. Carefully record your sources - you'll soon realise how important this is. If you have information that you have even a small doubt about, don't treat it as fact - many researchers fall victim to wishful thinking and jumping to conclusions that simply aren't warranted by the available data. (And keep an up-to-date backup copy of your files, of course.)

Others fall victim to "ancestor worship". Resist the urge to believe that your ancestors were unusually worthy or virtuous or prominent and don't let emotional considerations cloud your judgement. (As an aside, this is particularly important in Australia, where inventing stories to hide or mitigate an ancestor's criminal status used to be a real art form.)

Start with the facts you have, which are likely to be the most recent data, and work backwards. But, as my old dad used to say, "believe none of what you hear and half of what you read". One death certificate sent me on a merry chase because the year and place of birth were wrong - the informant was the man's son-in-law, and it seems he made the best guess.

The spelling of names can be a major problem - not just immigration officials, but clerks filling out BM&D records on behalf of illiterates. And once you get back to 17th century England the very notion of a "correct" spelling of any word becomes problematic.

Good luck!
Neil_Oz is offline  
Oct 7th, 2005, 02:35 AM
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i_am_kane writes: <<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.>>

Here's a clue: There are five O'Connor families in Ireland (I don't think they are called 'Clans'). My paternal Grandmother was Elizabeth Connors of the 'Flay' O'Connors in Templeglantan, County Limerick. During my 'on foot' genealogical research, I met Michael O'Connor, also of Templeglantan but of the Kerry O'Connors. Michael & Bridget invited me to have tea at their home along the N-21 just east of the Devon Inn (i.e., about halfway between NewcastleWest and AbbeyFeale). Michael told me about all the O'Connors in about a 2-hour visit.

Melissa5 writes: <<... Has anybody had experience with tracking down distant cousins? >>

Yes! Thru Michael O'Connor I was able to find two second cousins. Later, someone came to the Heather Tavern looking for me and it turned out to be another cousin, one of 2-brothers in NewcastleWest. When all else fails, go to the pub that's closest to the P.O. That's where the pensioners go when they pick up their weekly pension check (at the P.O.)

NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Oct 7th, 2005, 11:57 AM
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Neil_Oz, thanks for the advice, you sound very organized. I see I have a lot of new things to learn...sigh...I don't even know how to download anything!!! But I can learn from the family. I am creative and studious and capable of complete obsession, and I like the idea of the research and producing a book to pass onto family. But the whole technological-know-how-end of this business is quite intimidating to me.

How have I survived on the computer this long? Well, I'm from the generation of pens and paper and manual typewriters so at first computers seemed entirely unnecessary! Then along came my son, a computer genious, and I've learned a bit from him and hubby. Now son has graduated from Berkeley engineering and hopefully he will re-invent computers to make them easier for me...sigh...Meanwhile I'm going to take a class, but I can't understand the titles of the computer classes. I will ask my son which class I need to start with.

My old Dad, in his 70's, is pretty good on the computer! So I guess I can learn more too.

So, Neil_Oz, thank you for your advice, and I will learn how to download so I can download the free Mormon's PAF5!

Has anybody used the software you have to buy that goes with the ancestry.com subscription I signed up for? I think I need it but wonder if it's complicated and what it does exactly.

Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2005, 12:11 PM
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NEDSIRELAND: That's very exciting! I'm glad your search was rewarded with a cup of coffee and a chat with Irish "cousins". Or was it tea?

How did you find out about there being 5 O'Connor families in Ireland? I suppose that would be useful for me too, if I knew how many different families there were with my ancestral Irish last name and where they all lived.

Many thanks to the person who suggested that I could get replies, though they might take a year, if I post queries on ancestry.com I thought it was a lost cause, to post queries there. But maybe it has helped some people. It is a difficult section to search, as for example if you typed in "Kelly", it would give you Kelly as a first name and Kelly as a last name as well, producing a huge list of postings to wade through.

I totally understand the advice of the previous poster, don't be stuck on the notion that your ancestors were especially worthy. They are worthy to me, but has anybody thought about this, I have, suppose you traced your ancestors to a rascal, and you might even find cousins you didn't like or who didn't like you??!

Mostly I am doing this to connect with my beloved Irish grandmother, and to provide some family history to hand down to future generations of our family. If there are gaps, well, that's okay. There have to be some mysteries.

Thanks everybody.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 7th, 2005, 12:49 PM
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Here's a link that explains the 5 O'Connor families:


You might check at your local library to see if they have computer and/or genealogy classes (it's a popular topic as you've learned).

Hope this little bit helps. Best of luck to you.

mvor is offline  
Oct 7th, 2005, 01:39 PM
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Melissa - If I recall, the software on ancestry.com is Family Tree Maker. That is the software that my dad and I have been using for many years. My 70 year old dad uses it a lot and has found it quite easy to use. I think it is quite user-friendly also and the screens seem pretty intuitive. I think you'll find it a valuable tool for organizing the information you find (I have not used the software from LDS). There is a lot of information on how to research there as well. Some that I wouldn't have thought of on my own. I have really enjoyed doing the geneaology and then visiting the town where my ancestors are from was a thrill!
cls2paris is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 02:33 AM
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That's a great link mvor gave you ...

Once, in west Limerick, I went to visit my cousin Peggy O'Connor: It was a Thursday and the minibus had come to pick her up and take her to Abbeyfeale to a weekly Senior Citizens free lunch. I made a resolution that if I got back there on a Thursday I would visit that Seniors' lunch: it seems to me that could be a treasure trove for local Genealogy.

It seems like there should be similar Seniors' things in other parts of Ireland ...
NEDSIRELAND is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 09:56 PM
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cls2paris, good to hear from someone who's used the software that coordinates with ancestry.com Maybe it's worthwhile for me to get. I"m glad you had the thrilling experience of visiting the town wherre your ancestors were from. Thanks for your reply.
Melissa5 is offline  
Oct 9th, 2005, 09:58 PM
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NEDSIRELAND: Yes, the seniors are Ireland's history embodied. And often they love to have someone to listen to their tales. Lucky for us. Good idea. See, that's the hard part about planning our itinerary. It's so tempting to squeeze in lots of must-see sights, but then we wouldn't have any time to slow down and chat with those seniors!
Melissa5 is offline  

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