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Day 2 - The Irish Family History Centre

Kayleigh Brealin, Consultant at the Irish Family History Centre

What a great day I had breakfast with an old friend, who was with me on my first research trip back in 2012. She’s over here doing some additional research as well as some sightseeing with her sister. They also invited me to dinner tonight.

Today I had an appointment at the Irish Family History Center for a consultation. It’s always good to have someone else look over your research and perhaps suggest some new ideas. It was a great session with Kayleigh Brealin. I had put together some information prior to the meeting to let her know what my research question was, what I already knew, and what I planned to do.

If you followed my blog you know that my research surrounds the Johnston family from County Leitrim and that the church records (Church of Ireland) only start in the 1880s. One of the things she suggested was the Johnston DNA research group of which I’m already a member. My issue is that I don’t have a direct Johnston male descendant and this group focuses on Y-DNA. Kayleigh was able to provide me with a methodology for looking at the people that are in that project, including an individual with whom I have an atDNA match. I can use her male ancestor as a proxy for my Johnston even without knowing how we are directly connected. This will be a case of indirect evidence that I will have to build from secondary sources. When building a case this way you can never definitively "prove" the case, as it would always be open to new primary evidence becoming available. To do this, you need to use multiple entry on a family tree is not proof. Does the entry have a source citation, and if so, can you view the source yourself? Is the source a secondary source such as a compilation in a printed book? Like a tree, this type of resource is open to errors. A well written compilation should have footnotes citing the sources and you cannot cite those sources unless you have personally viewed them. Unfortunately, may older books/genealogies don't have sources. How many different sources can you find to corroborate that single piece of evidence. Remember that the Genealogical Proof Standard requires a "reasonably exhaustive search."

The Irish Family History Centre is located in the CHQ Centre (the same location as EPIC) in Dublin. But even if you can't get to Dublin, you can take advantage of their terrific consultation resources by booking a 30, 60 or 90 minute online consultation. Each of the people on my research trip receive a 30 minute consultation and this past May a number of people booked an additional consultation later in the week. Here is the blog from May with some of their comments.

So all in all it was a great day. Some of the research group has begun to trickle in...more are arriving tomorrow and the rest of the group on Saturday. Stay tuned!

Happy Hunting!

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