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Day 6 - The National Archives of Ireland

Finding Aids at the National Archives

Today was the first day of research. We walked to the National Archives this morning for an orientation, followed by research. If you're not used to working at an Archive it is a different experience. You're not likely to type in your ancestor's name and get a result. I had an archivist tell my group one time that it's difficult to know what to do, since you're not sure of what you're looking for. You might find your ancestor's name in an estate record (which means you need to know the landlord), or a school record (you need to know the school they attended or at least what schools were in the area where they lived), or in a list of people who supported a particular organization or society. Wills can be helpful, but the majority prior to 1900 were destroyed in the 1922 fire. Luckily, a number of genealogists in the early 1900s (before the fire) abstracted wills and other documents and those abstracts have survived. Abstracts from Bethan, Thrift and Crossle can provide some possible information on your family, but these would mostly be for the middle and upper classes. I was able to view Thrift Abstracts today for some Johnstons back into the early 1700s.

Mirna also worked on some will abstracts for her McCabe family...

"I just got done going over the materials from NAI on my McCabe and Maziere families. As I mentioned, in one will from 1718, was able to confirm that the people mentioned were not from my tree. That good to know so I can eliminate them from future searches. [Negative searches can also help focus your research and move you forward.]
Another will, very early (1637), gave me several clues to follow and try to prove or disprove any relationship. This will take some doing since some of the words are unknown to me. Even the name McCabe was written in a new way: “MyCabe.”
A third will from 1814 also has possibilities from the names and locations mentioned but I will have to verify these carefully."

Pati worked with a completely different set of records...

"I was able to look at files from the Convict Relief Papers collection.
I have an ancestor who was tried and convicted in 1836 to transportation for assaulting a man who had been hired by the Sheriff to serve some "peace orders" to people in the area. I knew about the sentence to transportation for assault but these documents gave me more information and color about the incident.
The documents were letters sent to the government in Dublin. They contain a synopsis of what happened that day and the testimony given at trial. Also pleas for a reprieve from the sentence signed by local clergy, magistrates, shopkeepers and a member of the landed gentry. There is a document indicating that the plaintiff was recanting his story, now saying that instead of assaulting him, my ancestor was actually assisting. So what happened to Patrick Lyden? What are "peace orders"? Was he eventually transported? Was there prior history between these two? More work for tomorrow!"

One record will frequently send you to something else. For Pati, perhaps viewing newspapers will tell her more about the trial and the results. That's something for the National Library tomorrow.

Happy Hunting!

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