Sunday, July 8, 2012

Family History Through the Alphabet Challenge: I is for Ireland

I do like a challenge.  And yes, I'm late - terribly late....we're almost halfway through the alphabet but I'm sure I can catch up!

The wonderful Alona Tester who I met for the first time last week at the Family HIstory Expo has devised this meme - bless her! 

At first I was going to use surnames but I think place is a better way to go with this challenge because ultimately I think that's how we can all best connect is through place yes?  The people come and go but the place remains.

So - perhaps rather unimaginatively today I am focussing on - yes, you guessed it...Ireland.

Now, what I'm amused at is how proudly I assert my Irish ancestry.  When I truthfully look at my ancestry - I am way more English.

Of my four grandparents - three were Australian-born and one English-born..Of my eight great-grandparents, three were English and five were born in Australia.  Of my sixteen great-great-grandparents eight were born in England, two in Ireland, one in Scotland and five in Australia. I could go on but I think you get the picture.

So Irish research.  Well I haven't done much.  Let's be honest...none.

So where to begin?  Here are some suggestions for me and you if you are in the same boat.
  1. Join an interest group in your Society - QFHS is blessed with the lovely Mary King and other colleagues to help you find your way
  2.  Borrow a book from your local library - the latest edition of John Grenham's as pictured above is now available for purchase at QFHS or borrowing from Moreton Bay Regional Libraries.  John recommends the following resources for Australian researchers trying to identify their Irish place of origin: Convict transportation records which can be accessed here; Assisted immigration records and Civil Records (e.g. Births, Deaths and Marriage registrations. Chapter 5 is devoted to The Internet and online sources.  In Chapter 8 he provides a generous bibliography for researchers in Australasia.  Chapter 13 provides county sources lists.  Really this is a fabulous book and I may just have to buy it!
  3. Borrow/Buy magazines.  June's edition of Family Tree has two articles which might be helpful to you - one by Chris Paton entitled Inside Story: Ireland's Genealogical Journey and one by Mary Evans called Ulster Folk.  I'm going to try Chris' suggestion of checking out which "offers free access to church records from counties Carlow, Cork, Kerry and Dublin City. "
  4. Read blogs - I found this one today.  Yes, I know it's headed up the Irish in America but it's still got relevant posts for researchers in other parts of the world.
  5. Join the National Library of Australia today - yes I know it's in Canberra but you can still join it online and access some fantastic resources - e.g. overseas newspapers - thanks to Charlie Nolan for that big tip.  
  6. Read an online guide to conducting research in Ireland - Grenham recommends the one at the National Archives of Ireland here or the National Library of Ireland here or this one at IrishTimes here 
So where are my ancestors from?  Well my maternal 2nd great-grandfather Patrick McLoughlin was from County Sligo and his wife Margaret Flannagan was from County Cork.  It's not really enough information.  All I have is their marriage certificate from when they married in Prescot, Lancaster in 1858 and their son John's birth certificate from 1867 in Browns Plains, NSW which is where I found out their county of origin.

Anne's Grove, County Cork courtesy of fringedbenefit on Flickr

I don't have any really verified immigration information though there was a suggestion that perhaps Patrick came out on the Light of the Age to Brisbane in 1864.  

Mary King says you need to know your ancestor's townland to really get anywhere.  "What's a townland?" I hear you cry.  Grenham defines it as:

 "the smallest official geographical division used in Ireland.....There are more than 64,000 townlands in Ireland.....townlands may be grouped together to form a civil turn, civil parishes are collected together in baronies....a number of baronies...then go to make up the modern county." (page55) 

Grenham recommends the following sites to get an idea of geography in Ireland

<> and <> and <> 

Right.   Well I haven't got a townland yet so I will blunder about a bit.  

For Cork I might start with:

Margaret Grogan's website with volunteer-transcribed Cork records here.  (the link in Grenham's book on page 227 didn't work so I googled it and came up with this link instead - it looks the right one to me).  

Waterford Archives also seems to get the thumbs up - you can access it here.

The McLoughlins were Catholic so it seems worthwhile pursuing <> as well given Grehnahm advises that it has Roman Catholic records for Co. Cork.  

Pound Street Sligo coutesy of Fergal of Claddagh on Flickr

I think that's enough to go on with....I hope I knock down a few more brickwalls with these tips.  Have you conducted research in Ireland...what resource did you find most useful?


Ann O'Dyne said...

sorry I can't point you at a perfect Resource. My Irish brickwall is at Warrenpoint 1832 when they sailed to New Brunswick Nova Scotia, before finishing in Bendigo Vic in the 1850's.
I hope I inherited some of their bravery/recklessness. Wishing you luck

irish surnames said...

Nice post.I like the way you start and then conclude your thoughts. Thanks for this information .I really appreciate your work, keep it up.