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Day 6 - The National Library

Main Reading Room at the National Library

It's Day 6 for me, but only Day 3 for the Researchers. Today was the first full day of research and we visited the National Library of Ireland. Like most libraries and archives in Ireland you need to begin by placing all of your articles such as coats and backpacks in a locker. You can take your computer or any files that you need with you but nothing that’s bulky. You can also take your phone and use the camera to take pictures of the various documents (with flash). After everybody got things stored in their locker we had an orientation by Stephen Skelton who works in the Genealogy Advisory Service on the mezzanine level of the Library. The National Library is a research library and all material must be ordered. The current library system allows you to order material for either 9:30 in the morning or 2 o’clock in the afternoon. For each time you can order up to eight items. The Library has multiple reading rooms and when you’re using the catalog it will tell you where the material is going to be sent, either to the Main Reading Room (books and periodicals) or to the Manuscript Reading Room (original material) which is just a short walk down the street from the main Library.

After Stephen‘s presentation those that had not gotten their Reader's Ticket over the weekend were able to pick that up from the Ticket office and begin working. The genealogy advisory service located on the mezzanine level has 10 computers that provide access to the major repositories in Ireland as well as major databases such as Ancestry, Find my past, John Grenham‘s IrishAncestors website. There is also access to the Irish Newspaper and the British Newspaper Archive. Hopefully you’ve done most of your online database work prior to the trip but if you don’t have access the newspaper archives it’s a great place to be able to catch up with that work.

Tomorrow we will be heading to the National Archives which works on a similar system to the National Library. A readers ticket is required and you need to order material rather than just browse. More on that tomorrow.

Happy Hunting.

Here’s some comments from today.

From Andy...

The attached photo was e-mailed to me by Gerry Kavanagh from the Manuscripts Section of the National Library of Ireland earlier today. Today I was able to read an actual letter that Captain George Sweeny [my ancestor] wrote to John Devoy in 1926. Many of Devoy’s papers are at the National Library of Ireland. I read Terry Golway’s book titled John Devoy: Irish Rebel years ago. I would highly recommend the book to everyone.

photograph of John Devoy and Piarais BéaslaÍ.

From Kathleen (regarding yesterday's consultation)...

Declan encouraged me think outside the box, something I needed to hear at this stage of my research. The majority of my data has come through Ancestry the company and supplemented with subscriptions to newspapers and roots. He stressed a geographical search, while I had focused on individuals and reminded me of other places to look. I also had a remote session over the summer and was referred to loads of websites. I think the center is especially good for those starting on their research journey, but everyone can learn something.

I left Sunday's session so excited to try Declan's perspective, that I skipped the EPIC tour. Don't worry, I'll go back later this week.

From Pat T...

Another whirlwind day, literally, starting with breakfast at Buswell's with our genie friends. The rain of the night before has blown on past as we crossed to the National Library. We renewed our Reader's Tickets, received a much-needed re-orientation to the many changes and updates, and started planning our pull-requests for books and manuscripts. In the afternoon, Bill and I hiked over to the Irish Lives Center and the Valuation Office. The V.O. still has a few wise Covid precautions, but staff were cheerful, efficient, and eager to help us with our requests. Happily, I was able to track forward through time for some of my elusive Carneys on the land in rural Ballydonnell townland, Co. Wicklow. From 1850 through June 2000 I watched the revision of their stories as the Carney generations passed over the land and even married and became Mulloys. I've now learned that I will have more work to do to locate descendants of those Carney/Kearney people. But tomorrow I'll be turning the clock backward from 1850 to try to solve the Great Carney Family Mystery! From Patty G...

Had a great day at NLI where I read up on Westmeath ancestors before I raced back to the hotel for a “Great Find” - met up with a 3rd Cousin DNA match who had traveled in to meet in-person. We had found each other on Ancestry, but were thrilled to meet in person & exchange family stories.

And finally, some of the group went out for pizza (an Irish specialty😀)

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I am living through all of your comments, perspectives and sharing about this journey and SO wish you were going to continue offering these tours. It inspires me to continue my searching for my ‘Johnston’s’ from Fermanagh County and hopefully, I will be able to get to Ireland and further my limited research. Blessings to all of you as you continue to search and explore your past. Georgia Gander (Canada).


Georgia, I'd love to hear more about your Johnstons from Fermanagh. Are you aware that there is a very active Johnston DNA project (through FamilyTreeDNA). It is a Y-DNA project (my line has daughtered out) but the majority of the group are focused in Fermanagh. This past Saturday I met with one of my Johnston cousins from Enniskillen and he agreed to do a DNA test. Our 2x great grandmothers were sisters, so it's an atDNA test. Sorry for the delay in getting this out to you...I just returned and am trying to catch up.😀

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