My thoughts are definitely in Ireland right now, probably along with those of you who were scheduled to travel with me in just a few weeks. This is the second year that I have had to postpone the Research trip. Last Spring I was feeling pretty confident about October, but as we got into June and the Irish Government began to postpone various openings it became clear that it was not yet the right time. Although some of the repositories had opened in May, there were strict limitations on the number of people with some not accepting groups until 2022. That made the decision for me...no point in doing a research trip when you can't research.
But I am eager to get back. There are definitely materials that you can only access in Ireland (and my list is getting longer each day)! I encourage anyone traveling with me to Dublin or Belfast to spend some time at the end of the trip visiting the area where their ancestors lived.
When you’re out and about Ireland, don’t forget to stop at the County Library/Archives. Every Library is different and you don’t know what you’ll find until you check. On one of my trips, I had reviewed the holdings of the Longford Library before I left home and was intrigued by their reference to “Estate Records.” There was a story that Pat Moughty had been evicted from his land in Barnacor and that’s how he ended up in Westmeath. Like most places in Ireland, the Library didn't have a specific address and the Library wasn’t embedded in my GPS. Once I got to Longford Town, I pulled over and asked where the Library was located. "Just go down past the light and through the arch on the right" I was told. The arch was simply an alley (very narrow) between two buildings connected by a walkway. Of course I missed it the first time and had to go through town, turn around and head back. The alley opened up to a large parking lot for a supermarket and in the back was the small Library. When I checked at the desk I was told the Archives was in another building across the parking lot. The Archives housed a substantial collection of local history and genealogy books as well as some original records. One wall contained the original Workhouse Registers for the three locations in Longford (although you had to use them on microfilm). Same with the maps. Unfortunately, the small estate collection they had did not cover the landlords listed in Griffith’s Valuation for the estates where my ancestors lived. I've written on Estate Records in the past and they might be found in any repository in Ireland or even in England if the Landlord's main estate was there.
But there were lots of local history books that I hadn’t seen in the US. Definitely spend some time reviewing these. The book on Cashel above (this is the parish of Cashel in County Longford) had maps of the townlands in the parish. Another book listed the changes in the estate ownership between the Tithe and Griffith’s and I discovered one Moughty was on the King Harmon estate during the Tithe. I had overheard the Archivist talking to another patron about the records they had for King Harmon but when I checked they only had personal papers after 1850…too late for me. The Archivist did say that the rent books for the estate were at the National Library, so that was a possibility for Dublin. I spent about two hours in the Archives and then went back to the Library for another hour of online newspaper research into the local papers.
Earlier on my trip I had met with the cousins and they had told me that their father, along with his two brothers had become “wards of the state” after their father died in 1911. I found a newspaper clipping in the legal notices in 1916 which listed the case (Moughty - minors). Unfortunately, due to the fire, the records no longer exist but I was able to confirm the story from the newspaper notices. Where court records no longer exist, frequently you can find some type of notification in the newspapers.
A number of years ago, I had the opportunity to visit the Leitrim County Library. They have a large wall of index cards for the local newspapers (this was before online newspapers became available). So when you’re traveling in Ireland check out the County Library. You never know what you’ll find until you look.
One last thing...check out the Irish County Links on my Links and Resources page. You'll find most of the County Libraries and Archives listed there.
Happy Hunting and Stay Safe!
Interested in researching in Ireland in 2022? Information for the trips can be found here. There are two spaces still available for researchers in Dublin in May and seven for Dublin in October. Space is available for Belfast in both May and October. Download the registration form from the website and mail with your deposit to reserve your space.