Ancestry.com 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!