Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [Stuart Miles] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today is the 6th birthday of the Passionate Genealogist Blog! It has been a fun six years. I have connected with many wonderful people and even found a few cousins along the way.

I look forward to many more years sharing the Passionate Genealogist blog with all my readers.

Thank you for your support!

 

 

 

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin
Flying into Dublin

Flying into Dublin

In October 2015 I had the opportunity to go back to Ireland for a couple of weeks and visit family. Of course you can guess that family history research was also scheduled into this trip. We flew into Dublin and then went straight to Belfast for a few days. We left Toronto at 6pm and arrived in Belfast at 9 am Toronto time the next day. No sleep. After settling things in the hotel I went to the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) to start my research. I had a full research plan and only a couple of days to complete it. You can read more about how I organized my research plan here.

That first day I got the readers ticket and started my research. Since I had little to no sleep the night before my reader’s ticket picture looks a little blurry eyed. I was quite surprised how much I was able to get done in the few hours I had at PRONI on that first day. My plan made the process fairly easy. I was only allowed to order five documents at a time. The catalogue entries that were flagged for my research meant that the documents had to be read to make sure they were connected to my family. Once that was done they were handed back with the form for copies. The first day ended when I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open.

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland - PRONI

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland – PRONI

The next day was a little later start because we had to go and book our train tickets for the trip to Dublin the next day. Then it was off to PRONI while my mother went to visit the Titanic Exhibit. I had three hours at PRONI and was very pleased that I completed my research plan.  It turns out one of the documents I ordered had been microfilmed so the copy had to be done from the microfilm. The microfilms that were on my plan were self serve so that eliminated a lot of wait time. When I left PRONI I had a plastic bag filled with copies and a memory stick with some digital images of pages that were so large they didn’t really allow for copying.

 

My documents from PRONI

My documents from PRONI

 

This visit to PRONI allowed me to go back another generation on my Moon family in Dungannon County Tyrone and gather some more information on my Bourne family from Dublin. When you do research in Ireland you need to visit repositories in Dublin, Belfast and London.

One document I got for my Bourne family must have measured 4 feet by 4 feet. It was written with calligraphy and illuminated letters.

When you arrive at PRONI you have to apply for your reader’s ticket. You will fill in the form, then they take your picture and print off the card. You wear it around your neck while you are in the building. You need it to order documents and enter any of the rooms upstairs. There are security people in each area. The people are so nice and friendly and were extremely helpful. They made the day more enjoyable.

You can’t take much upstairs with you and are handed a clear plastic bag to take what items you can take. You must put everything into a locker that you lock with the key. The slug to get the key out is in a holder on the inside of the locker door. The plastic bag came in very handy when I was taking all my copies home.

2015-10-07 07.38.47003

 

I hadn’t been in Belfast since the 1970s and it has changed a lot. The waterfront is beautiful and on a warm day a nice place to sit and watch the world go by. There are cafes around so you can enjoy a drink and a light meal.

We took a taxi to and from PRONI and the service was great. They were well dressed and had the gift of the gab which leaned towards the history of the city so you learned something during your taxi ride. My Mum was saying that the last time she had been in Belfast was when the newly crowned Queen had come for a visit in 1953. She was attending ceremonies at Belfast City Hall. Mum and her Mum had gone to Belfast to stay with a friend and see the spectacle. She remembers going into a red brick building that had windows where you could sit on the window sills and look right over the City Hall. We were in a taxi on our way to Marks and Spencer and when we stopped it was a red brick building with windows sills that overlooked City Hall. The driver said it was the only one in the area. It brought back lovely memories to her. She told me that my Dad had been a cadet at this event so they were in the same place at the same time four years before they met. I hadn’t heard that story before and it was a great family history moment.

 

© 2016 Blair Archival Research – All Rights Reserved

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

 

All the best for 2016 from the Passionate Genealogist!

 

Image courtesy of [sscreations] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of [sscreations] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin
Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

 

 

Merry Christmas from the Passionate Genealogist!

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

Thank you. Lest we forget. Oh Valiant Hearts.

Ottawa War Memorial - First World War Side

Ottawa War Memorial – First World War Side

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

On November 7th I will be speaking at the Waterdown-East Flamborough Heritage Society 25th Annual Book Fair in Waterdown. I will be presenting two lectures “Beginning Your Genealogy” and “Researching Your Halton and Wentworth County Ancestors.”

©2015 – Blair Archival Research

Book Fair Seminar Poster LL_0

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin
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

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin
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 info@heritagemississauga.org

©2015 – Blair Archival Research

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

On September 23rd and 30th I will be speaking at the Oakville Public Library, Central Branch. The topics are: “Scottish Research from a Far” and “Scottish Research beyond the Census & Civil Registration.”

If you are interested in attending this lectures you can sign up through the Oakville Public Library website.

©2015 – Blair Archival Research

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

IMG_1871

 

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

 

 

 

Share This:
Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedin

« Older entries § Newer entries »