I was recently asked if it was easy to locate a person in Co. Cork, if you had their exact date of birth in 1830. My answer was: “No, it is not easy.”
Why did I say this? Well, civil records started generally in Ireland in 1864 so the church records are all you have to go on up to then except for Church of Ireland marriages which were registered from 1845 onwards. familysearch.org (Mormon site) has the Irish Civil Records Index from 1864 to 1958.
Church Records for Cork are available on https://rootsireland.ie/corknortheast [paying site] and www.irishgenealogy.ie [free].
The former link is to the Mallow Heritage Centre (online) which has the Roman Catholic church records for the Diocese of Cloyne. It also has Church of Ireland records. You have to pay for each record but you can search for free, once you register. This site lists the parishes for which it has records. Of course, some parish records didn’t start till after 1830!
The second link is to irishgenealogy.ie and it has free church records for South, South West Cork and North West Cork (where the Catholic Parish is actually in the Diocese of Kerry). Availability of records is listed on the site…note it is not a complete set of records. It does have records for some of Cork City too but some areas of the city are excluded. That is another story (Sin scéal eile)!
So, searching for a person by date of birth in 1830, is not straightforward. You might be lucky but you would need to know the parents’ names to know if you have found the right person or not. Knowing the location helps but often people who are researching do not know this. Using land records such as the Tithe Applotments (1820s-1830s) and Griffith’s Valuation (1850s) can help locate the surname or first name-surname combinations. Later, the 1901 and 1911 Censuses can help.
In the past ten years, I have spent a lot of time dealing with DNA results relating to Family History research. I have also done a lot of traditional genealogy. I have tended to favour DNA or, as it is now called “Genetic Genealogy” as it can help to answer questions which the traditional paper trail research cannot answer. Traditional genealogical research can be restricted by absence of records or lack of access to existing records or just not knowing where to start. So, we turn to DNA to break down “brick walls” in our research.
DNA (Genetic Genealogy) can give information on paternal lines, maternal lines and recent family relationships. I have found it to be a wonderful asset in my research and it is offering more and more as the science and technology evolves. However, it often relies on a genealogical paper trail to interpret and make sense of the results.
Even the paper trail is not the full story!
I was reminded of this last night when I looked at the census records for my great great great grandfather Lewis Jenkins. I knew that he was born near Swansea in 1796 and that his grandson, also called Lewis Jenkins had a provisions store in a small mining village in the Rhondda Valley in Wales. However, I had not paid much attention to the fact that Lewis Jenkins, my great great great grandfather had been a collier in the mining village. His wife had died after a few years of marriage. His son William was a coalminer in the 1851 Census, a “Coalminer and Occupier of 4 acres” in the 1861 Census. He was a labourer in 1871 but by 1881, he was a “Farmer”. William died, aged 67 in 1894, of “chronic bronchitis and emphysemia and exhaustion”. William’s son, Lewis was a Grocer’s Assistant in the 1881 Census and married the Grocer’s daughter in 1888. In the 1891 Census, Lewis was in charge of the Grocer’s Shop.
The real story is the day to day life of the family, of which the paper trail is a mere chronological listing. DNA provides a glimpse at the molecular level as an aid to filling in gaps. Photos, diaries, family lore etc. help to flesh out the clinical analysis. Let us not forget this.
The Genetic Genealogy Ireland Conference 2013(GGI Conference 2013), held in Dublin, was very successful. Here is a link to videos of the excellent lectures, which were given by the presenters over the three days.
Family Tree DNA had a stall at the conference and ISOGG volunteers worked hard dealing with enquiries. I hope to see more DNA testing in Ireland as a result of the highlighting the benefits of genetic genealogy in family history.
Family Tree DNA at GGI 2013
In October 2013, Ireland will have its first Genetic Genealogy Conference. This will take place as part of the Back to Our Past event in the RDS, Dublin, from the 18th to the 20th October 2013. The conference is a 3-day series of DNA lectures kindly sponsored by Family Tree DNA and organised by the International Society of Genetic Genealogists (ISOGG).
Topics will include:
Using DNA to break down Brick Walls in your own family tree research
The 3 main DNA tests – which one is best for you?
The DNA signatures of specific Irish surnames
What does DNA tell us about the Irish Clans?
How DNA can help pinpoint your ancestral Irish homeland
Using DNA to connect adoptees with their biological families
What DNA reveals about the migration of peoples into and out of Ireland
Here is a link giving further information:
Geneatic Genealogy Conference 2013
Here is a link to a blog which summarises the latest sale prices from Family Tree DNA:
CeCe Moore’s blog
There is so much going on in genetic genealogy, it is difficult to keep up! There is now a new y-chromosome sequencing test. See Y-Chromosome Sequencing for details.
Here is a link to The Legal genealogist’s blog where she lists the top genetic genealogy blogs. [added 15th July 2013]
Several companies do autosomal DNA testing for genealogical purposes including Family Tree DNA, Ancestry.com, 23andMe and the Genographic Project Geno 2.0. ISOGG has a very useful comparison chart put together by Tim Janzen: ISOGG Autosomal DNA Comparison Chart.
I have used Family Tree DNA for my family, a friend has tested with 23andMe and a relative in the USA has tested with Ancestry.com. So, I am most familiar with Family Tree DNA.
As a person living in Ireland some issues come to mind:
Ancestry.com does not send kits outside of the USA. 23andMe attracts a lot of people who test for medical reasons as this is built into their testing. Also, although the 23andMe Relative Finder kits are relatively less expensive than others, there is an incredibly large postage applied to mailing kits to Europe. Family Tree DNA kits are more expensive but postage is less. So, living in Ireland, I can’t get an Ancestry.com kit. A kit from 23andMe is $99+$80 (approx) giving an approx total of $179 (approx). Family Tree DNA’s Family Finder autosomal DNA test is$99+$6 postage (for outside the USA). The Geno 2.0 kit which is available worldwide is $199.95 plus a shipping charge of $20 (as per the chart on ISOGG). Note prices change over time and should be checked.
GEDmatch.com is a voluntarily run website where you can upload autosomal DNA results from Family Tree DNA, 23andMe and also Ancestry.com. This website is as vital to autosomal DNA testing as Ysearch is to yDNA testing. So, Gedmatch enables people from many of the various testing companies to compare results with others who have also uploaded their autosomal results to it.
Some websites and blogs which would be of benefit in the decision about which test and which company to use are:
It is a minefield for the unitiated but price and availability are two critical factors for those of us who are not in the USA!
I have been involved in genealogical research for many years. However, I have also been interested in genetic genealogy for over twelve years and enjoy dealing with yDNA and autosomal DNA in family history research.
While I still have an interest in traditional genealogical research, my main interest lies in using DNA in family history research. I am a volunteer administrator of two y-DNA projects at Family Tree DNA.