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February 19, 2011

Learning About Irish Research from WDYTYA partnered with NBC in Season 2 of Who Do You Think You Are? and last night was Rosie O'Donnell's turn.

I wasn't sure I wanted to watch as I'm not crazy about Rosie. But I love the show so couldn't bear to miss it. I'm so glad I didn't! It was really interesting to follow along as Rosie traced her Irish ancestry on her mother's side.

Having hard-to-find Irish ancestry myself (maiden name McGinnis is a clue...) I found new ideas presented in the show that I can use in my own quest. For example I didn't know that the Irish Poor Law Union records exist. Rosie was able to find details on her Irish ancestors in these records, as their emigration to Canada was noted in the Minute Books.

My Roman Catholic ancestors were from Northern Ireland so today I had a quick peek at PRONI and learned that many of the N. Ireland Poor Law Union records do exist. Wow I am super excited! My Irish came over to Canada about the same time as Rosie's (ca 1845) and since Ships Passenger Lists to Canada were not archived before 1865, it's hit and miss trying to find records of immigration.

Oddly enough I knew that England Poor Law Unions sent many poor to Canada as part of their local assisted emigration. But it never occurred to me that Ireland might have done the same thing! Irish Poor Law Unions began in 1838 (England's in 1834) so it's another tool for those of us searching for early Irish ancestors.

I can hardly wait for next Friday's episode of WDYTYA!


Abby said...

My mother and her family came from Cork in 1930. When I started doing this side of the family genealogy I thought it would be easy to find them and track them back. I had forgotten about the Rebellion and the records that were lost in Dublin. Being a researcher by profession, I have traced the family to 1860 and my great great grandfather. I have also founnd a second cousin in Manchester England that I didn't know about. I am at a disadvantage because I am the only one left of the family and I'm working with letters and offical papers. But it can be done, with patience and time.

Abby said...

My mother's family is from Cork. They came to America in 1930, so I thought it would be easy to find the records. I forgot about the Rebellion and learned that records were lost in Dublin. Luckily for me I am a researcher by profession and I have traced the family to 1860. I am brickwalled now, but I will work through it. I am at a disadvantage because I am the only one left of the family and am working from memory and what I have found in letters and offical papers. I have managed to find my second cousin w