Today the group researched at the National Archives. Archives can be overwhelming if you haven’t experienced a close stack repository. Most of the information on the open shelves are finding aids to help identify the records you want to look at. But where do you start?
We were very lucky to have Gregory O’Connell, one of the senior archivists, do an orientation. He had pulled samples of various records for the group to see that covered a range from the 1600s to the 1900s. As I often mention, everything in Ireland is dependent on time and place, so you might not find your ancestors in all of the records, but as he pointed out, not everything burned. You might also find your ancestor mentioned in a record that you don’t expect. I found a Mary Moughty applying to administer the estate of a James Nolan. Probate material primarily after 1900, has to be requested from another location, but Gregory had kindly put in the request for me last week. It turned out that Mary Moughty was the first cousin, once removed of James Nolan and was the closest living relative. James never married, had no living parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts or uncles, nieces or nephews. Mary is always mentioned in the document as the wife of John of Multyfarnham, so I knew immediately who she was.
In the past one of the bottlenecks has been getting Reader’s Tickets for a large group. This year is was a smooth process. I had sent the applications to each of the participants prior to the trip with the reminder that 2 forms of identification are required (this is the only place where that happens). You need to have your passport, plus a secondary ID with your address (such as a driver’s license). The desk personnel collected the forms and checked the ID’s as people entered in a quick clean process. While Gregory did the orientation, all of the reader’s tickets were processed and delivered to the conference room. Thanks to all of the staff.
As always, people had varying levels of success, some left early, but others remained until they kicked us out at 5 pm!
In the early afternoon, I walked a few people down to the General Register Office, the location for civil birth, death and marriage records. A few years ago this was a popular stop, but now, many of the images are on line at IrishGenealogy.ie. There are, however, still some early marriage and death records that have not yet been imaged. It is also possible to get records here or by mail that are not available online because of privacy laws. There are no date restrictions on picking these records up at the GRO. I got a marriage record from 1950 and was surprised to see that both the father AND mother were named on the certificate (where it only requires the father’s information…thank you registrar.) If you need to go to the GRO it is on Werburgh Street, not far from Christ Church. It is easy to miss as it’s set back from the street with a parking lot in front.