I can still remember the excitement I felt the first time I searched for my grandparents in the 1901 and 1911 Census records. Of course, in the process, I found my great grandparents too. I had heard of most of them, but one or two were new to me.
Seeing their names, along with those of their families, was like being able to reach back into the past in some small way, and communicate with them.
Hello, I’m here. I’m here because you were here.
I couldn’t help but wonder what their lives were like, those people from over a century ago. All of my great grandparents and all but one of my grandparents were dead by the time I was born. Who were these people? What did they do? How did they live? How did they see the world?
And who were their grandparents?
This curiosity drove me forward, slowly at first, to find out more. From early searches of the Census archives for my grandmother, Johanna Sinnott, of whom I knew nothing, to unravelling the lives of generation after generation, all the way back to…
Well, if you’ve spent any time researching your own Irish ancestors, you will know you can’t go very far back due to the lack of records. But I’ve found about half of my great great great grandparents, some of whom were born in the 18th century. By Irish standards, that’s pretty far.
With every generation I discovered, I was revealing details of long-dead ancestors – their lives, their homes, how and when they died, and where they were buried. Every little detail was a revelation. People who had died so long ago that their names had been forgotten were suddenly there, speaking across the centuries through the records they had left behind.
I started more than 10 years ago, not long after the Censuses were published online. Since then, I’ve been diving deeper and deeper into my own family history. I’ve learned both by doing and by delving into every resource I can find to learn more about genealogical records and best practice. The researching, reporting, and verification skills I’ve developed during my 23 years in journalism have also come in useful.
After a few years, I started researching other people’s family histories because it turned out I was quite good at it, particularly when it comes to solving brick walls. And now I want to help you, too.
To find out more, have a look at the genealogy services I offer, or you can contact me directly using the form below.