Monday, April 18, 2011

Love of the Irish

You might wonder why I'm writing about Irish research in April, instead of on St. Patrick's Day. I decided to write on the anniversary of Ireland becoming a republic and no longer a part of the British Commonwealth, which took place on April 18, 1949, with the coming into force of the Republic of Ireland Act 1948.

As far as I can tell from my research, I have not one drop of Irish blood in me.  My mother used to claim we were part Irish through her side of the family (the Jewish side!), but I think it was wishful thinking on her part.   Ireland has that kind of mystique about it, that people want to associate themselves with it.  I fell in love with Dublin when I was fortunate enough to visit in 1996, as one of the gaming guests at Gaelcon.  I also managed to pick up an incredibly heavy Irish accent while I was there.

I enjoy the Irish research I've had the opportunity to do, and it's all over the island.  My half-sister's mother's family is all Irish, all the way.  So far I've found that she had family from Carrickmacross, County Monaghan, and Tullamore, King's County (now County Offaly).  A good friend of mine has Irish ancestry on his mother's side.  I've tracked them to Riverstown, County Sligo, and County Roscommon (don't know the townland yet).  And my stepsons have family lines that I've traced to Ballyvourney, County Cork (where there is still a family inn!), and Belfast, in Northern Ireland.

I know that it's important to find out the townland the family is from to be able to move forward with research in Irish records.  Most of the townlands I know about came through family information that was handed down.  I found one listed in a biography in a county history and was able to confirm it through civil birth registrations.  I'm still getting my feet wet with Griffitih's Valuation, which I've been using for the family in Ballyvourney.  I know I have a lot to learn.

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