Planning a Genealogy Research Trip to Ireland – The research plans are complete

National Library of Ireland

National Library of Ireland

As you know from previous blog posts I am going to Ireland in the Fall and have been busy preparing my research plans for the trip. My plans for PRONI are complete and I have just finished the plans for the repositories in Dublin.

National Archives of Ireland

I have a relatively small list of items to check here. Unfortunately they don’t have a complete online catalogue. It starts about 1980 and is only updated with the new items that are donated to the archives. They do have a long list of wills and testaments but I researched most of those in 2003 but have one or two to check on this visit. There are some parish registers on microfilm that need to be checked. When I go to the Archives I will see what they can suggest for further research.

A written synopsis on the person of interest has been prepared. This will help me focus on the subject and will help the archivist/genealogist to understand what I am trying to achieve.

They have a free service for researchers. There are professional genealogists who will provide you with suggestions for your research.

National Library of Ireland

There is a long list of items for this repository. There are quite a few newspapers I want to check and they have a good selection on microfilm. There are some online but unfortunately not the ones/years I am interested in researching.

There are a few manuscripts and books that also need to be checked.

Dublin City Libraries and Archive

Here I will be searching parish registers, newspapers, a few books and manuscripts. I did a search in their online catalogue and came up with a few interesting hits so they need further research.

Valuation Office

The Valuation Office is a stop on this research trip. There are properties in Dublin and Tipperary I want to check. Fortunately these appear to be digitized and available for the public to view in their offices. I have checked and copies from this office could be expensive, especially with the current exchange rate, so I will have to be choosy about my copies.

General Register Office

There are a few birth, marriage and death records that I need to get. I already have my index references so it should be a relatively quick visit to get the copies. The office is located on Werburgh Street and is near St. Werburgh’s Church which I would like to see so I can do both at the same time hopefully.

Representative Church Body Library – Church of Ireland

I am going to the RCBL to search some parish registers. I have done research here several times and always find something I wasn’t expecting. They have online lists for some records that they hold.

So that is my plan for my research trip to Ireland. It is about 25 pages long and has addresses, opening hours, email, phone numbers, catalogue listings and any other pertinent information listed on it. I will be going through it several more times before I leave. Cleaning it up, adding more information that may be relevant. I always add a little extra so that if I have time it would be nice to find out more.

©2015 – Blair Archival Research

October Speaking Engagements

Photo Courtesy of Heritage Mississagua

Photo Courtesy of Heritage Mississagua

On October 3rd I will be doing a First World War workshop at Mississauga Heritage. The two lectures are “In Search of the Men and Women who served in the First World War” and “You Won’t Find it all in the Military File.”

If you are interested in joining us you can contact Jane Watt at 905-828-8411 Extension 0 or email

©2015 – Blair Archival Research

Summer Reading: “A Curious Mind The Secret to a Bigger Life”



Lately I have been reading “A Curious Mind The Secret to a Bigger Life” by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman. You may recognize the name Brian Grazer. He is a movie producer and business partners with Ron Howard. Together they have made memorable movies from “Splash” to “A Beautiful Mind.”

In this book he discusses his lifelong devotion to curiosity. He has “curiosity conversations” with well-known people from varying backgrounds. He is at heart a story teller. Brian Grazer says: “Curiosity motivates us to explore and discover. Storytelling allows us to share the knowledge and excitement of what we’ve figured out. And that storytelling in turn inspires curiosity in the people to whom we’re talking.” [Page 82]

This got me thinking about family historians. The main reason we get involved in researching our family history is curiosity. We are curious about our past, our family, the unknowns that are directly connected to who we are. If you don’t have curiosity I don’t think you would ever start on the path of researching your family history.

Many family historians take this a step further. We find a person who has no connection to us but our curiosity pushes us to learn more about them. We find a piece of ephemera, a newspaper article, a lonely tombstone and we want to learn more. Curiosity pushes us to tell the story of these apparently lonely items and the people attached to them. We can take it a step further and try to reunite found items with living family members.

Brian Grazer says: “The vividness of someone’s personality and energy really only comes alive when you shake hands and look them in the eye. When you hear them tell a story. That has a real emotional power for me, and a real staying power. It’s learning without being taught, it’s learning through storytelling.” [Page 90]

This is another part of family history. We interview and connect with the generations before us. They could be parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins, no matter how distant. We meet with them, connect with them, we look in their eyes and see a part of our own story. They may have parts of the story that we are unfamiliar with and the sharing of the story connects us.

He also says: “…the curiosity is all about the story. What’s the story of your life, and how are you hoping that money or a new hairstyle will help you shape that story and help you share it.” [Page 94] Now as family historians we are not worried too much about a new hairstyle. We may worry about money so that we can pay for the documentation to help us further our research.

Isn’t family history all about the story, our story? Isn’t it the goal of family historians to write our family story? We want to share that story with other family members. Our aim is to have our ancestors honoured and remembered by future generations.

The curiosity of family history usually starts with one person and one link to the past but it is shared with multiple generations with the hope that they can learn something from those that came before.

Wouldn’t you love to have a “curiosity conversation” with one of your ancestors?

©2015 – Blair Archival Research