Saturday, February 19, 2011

Irish Research ~ Thanks WDYTYA!

I hope you had a chance to watch Rosie O'Donnell on last night's episode of Who Do You Think You Are (WDYTYA).  The show was excellent for several reasons!

  • Rosie's ancestors had a story that many of us with Irish ancestors can relate to: 
    • Her family was devastated by the continuing Famine in Ireland and the British government's response.  Many Irish Americans are unaware of this aspect of Irish history.  There are several excellent sites and books that explain this tragedy in great detail ~ check them out.
    • Her family consisted of poor, hard working people who left Ireland to make a better life for themselves and the families (the majority of our ancestors started out in this socio-economic group whatever country we come from).
  • Rosie was quite involved in the research process and WDYTYA made a point of showing some of the nuts and bolts of research:
    • Going through old family documents and photographs
    • Meeting with relatives to learn what they knew
    • Using online resources
    • Using a combination of Archives, Libraries, and other Research Facilities
    • Meeting with professional genealogists and acknowledging their work
    • Learning about and using Church Records and Poor Law Union Minute Books
    • Analyzing the information received in newly found documents
    • Visiting those places that give you a flavor for your ancestors' struggles
If you have Irish ancestors, Google terms that will bring up Irish History websites and blogs.  Be sure to check out my summaries of the Irish Family History Research course held at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy 2011 (check out the archive at right).  Some of the books and websites mentioned may help you in your research.

A big thank you to Lisa Kudow for helping to bring this show to the American market, to NBC for putting the show on their network in prime time, and to the celebrities who are sharing their family stories with us.  Well done! 

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