Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Finding My Irish Roots

Carnival logo 154x160 "My Key to Ireland" is the topic for the 11th edition of the Carnival of Irish Heritage & Culture.

If you have found your ancestral county or village in Ireland, just how did you find your way there? What resources led you to learn the original county or townland or your ancestors? Tell us how you did it and what your feelings were when you made the exciting discovery.

If you have not yet found the area where your ancestors made their homes in Ireland, tell us about the resources that you hope to use to find out. What records and documents do you hope will lead you to that information? How do you plan to go about the search?

If you have always known the place or places where your family hailed from, tell us about them. What draws you there and what else have you learned throughout your search for family history?

My Irish roots come from my dad's side of the family.  I have second great-grandparents that immigrated to America from Co. Kilkenny and third great-grandparents who immigrated from Co. Tipperay.  Most of the family planted roots in Chicago between 1860-1880.

So how do I know where they came from? 

Well, somewhere along the line, I picked up my Co. Kilkenny knowledge, but from where, I couldn't tell you.  It was just one of those nuggets I picked up without sourcing.  However, I did confirm this by locating some birth and marriage records through the Irish Family History Foundation (IFHF).  Personally, I do not like this database, but I'll save that for another post.  The point is, I confirmed, with records, the information I had acquired previously.

I got lucky on my third great-grandparents, I think.  The birth certificate for my second great-grandfather revealed that his parents were born in Co. Tipperay.  Usually, these records simply say the country, if not the U.S., so this was a pleasant surprise.  I haven't explored this piece of information any further yet.  I'll likely explore the IFHF site (despite my beef with it) and try to find other potential sources.  My first stop will be to review the article 12 Top Sites for Researching Irish Ancestors by Kimberly Powell at About.com, and explore the sites she recommends.

One day, I'd love to visit Ireland to see where I hail from, and of course, do some research!

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