19 Jan 2021
The New Year is the ideal time to discover a new you and your connection to the Irish global family.
The man who will be the 46th President of the United States of America is immensely proud of his humble roots in County Mayo on Ireland’s famous Wild Atlantic Way.
As one of the 70 million people around the world who can lay claim Irish heritage, Joe Biden did what many dream of doing and brought his children and grandchildren back to Ireland in 2016 to learn about their roots, which also include family on the east coast of the country in County Louth.
Whether you know for sure, or whether you’ve just got an inkling that you have Irish blood in your family, the good news is that it has never been easier to delve into tracing your ancestors.
For those starting an Irish genealogy adventure, there are a great many resources that can help. Lots of records, archives and historical documents are available online, and there is an array of government, community and professional genealogy services around the country to assist a search.
Among them is the National Archives of Ireland website, which lets you to browse detailed records for the island of Ireland, and the Irish government-run IrishGenealogy.ie, another excellent starting point for official records.
EPIC- The Irish Emigration Museum
The National Library and General Register Office in Dublin are also good starting points, and if your investigations indicate Northern Irish connections the Linen Hall Library, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast and the General Register Office NI are all good either online or in person.
Many enjoy looking into their family history online, then following up with a visit to the island of Ireland. Some like investigating in person on successive trips to Ireland, while others like to have the research done for them by professionals so they can go straight to the place of their ancestors.
Whatever the approach, the best part of uncovering your Irish roots is the trip ‘home’. Discovering the county, townland, village, or even the very house where your ancestor was born and walking in what was once their world is an experience never to be forgotten. The Irish love to claim their own, so the welcome is always huge.
For those wanting to know more about how and why their family emigrated, a visit to EPIC, the Irish Emigration Museum, is a must. Located on the banks of the River Liffey in Dublin’s Docklands, the original departure point for many Irish emigrants, EPIC is a hi-tech, interactive experience that tells the authentic stories of how Irish emigrants helped shape the world. It also contains an Irish Family History Centre operated by the genealogy specialists who helped in documenting Joe Biden’s family tree.
You can also follow in the footsteps of brave emigrants who set sail for the New World in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries at the Ulster American Folk Park in Northern Ireland, or unpack an appreciation of the Irish Famine, which resulted in the death of over a million Irish citizens and the emigration of a million more, at the National Famine Museum in Strokestown Park in County Roscommon.
There are many more genealogy resources around the country, so if you are one of the millions who claim an Irish connection it’s time to start searching to see what comes up.
Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, County Tyrone
Linen Hall Library, Belfast
Strokestown Park House, County Roscommon
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