Monday, September 28, 2015

The Reality of Irish Genealogy-Cavan Genealogy Center

Nothing brings home the reality of Irish genealogy like a visit to one of Ireland's genealogy centers. As part of our trip to Cavan we visit the Cavan Genealogy Center in Cavan town. It is located on the second floor of the Johnston Public Library on Farnum Street. 

Did we have a breakthrough? No. Did we found out anything new? No. Was it disheartening? Yes. Basically what we were told is that there are no records for the church we need for the period we need. There are also no civil records. That leaves us nowhere to go with this. 

Was it a total waste of time. Not at all. They have a cute gift shop and I did learn a few things that made my brain work in a different way and come up with a couple of alternative ideas for ways to tackle this. 

At the end of the day we all know that genealogy is never easy. We often hit brick walls and the only way is around them or over them. Sometimes we can't do either but this time I think I have found a way around to at least figure out who was living in the area in the period we are looking for. 

Not all of Cavan is as much of a wasteland of records so it is still worth trying to see what is available and PRONI does have some Cavan records and needs to be explored.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A Moment of Silence for the Lost Irish Census'

It seems like I have always known that we didn't have the Irish census' to help us with our genealogical research. It is just a fact, get over it and move on. 

Well the work I have done with the remnants of the Cavan census of 1821 has brought home to me the extent of what was lost. I need to take a moment and mourn them. Not only does it give the names of every member of a household, it gives their age, relationship to the head of household and occupation. 

It also tells about any thing unusual on the townland such as a cemetery, a mill, a school and how many boy and girls attend the school. It is a wonderful resource and when I consider how helpful it would have been I want to just cry. 

So everyone who is Irish, let's just bow our heads and have a moment of silence as we mourn what could have been if it wasn't for the thoughtlessness of our ancestors and the government who have shown just how little they cared about keeping amazing records safe. 

We may never be able to find what we need to make our family connections because of this and it happened within the last 100 years. How sad is that?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Sometime Genealogy Research is Just Grunt Work

It may seem from some of my posts that genealogy research is exciting filled with wonderful discoveries. Some days you do get that but the majority of the time it is just grunt work. In order to get to those moments of triumph where you find that illusive ancestor after years of research you have to put in the time doing the work that gets you there.

Last night I spend two hours cutting and pasting the residents of the townlands in Cavan from the remnants of the 1821 census who might be an ancestor of Kathy or me. It was tedious work but these are the kinds of things you need to do to get results. 

I cut and pasted over 100 pages of information. Now I will  need to extract the good information from all the useless information. I did whole villages because it is always possible that the people living next door are relatives. Good to see who lived around our ancestors. 

So be prepared to spend many days hunched over a census, going through parish records one entry at a time and searching endlessly. After years of doing this you may find something, the chances are just as good you may not,  so you need to be prepared. This is not instant gratification, genealogy is years of work for one little gem. 

Why do we do it? Because any amount of work is worth it for that one little gem. Genealogy is a labor of love.