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Research in Ireland - Guest Blog

   Today I’m sharing a blog by John Seymour who joined me on the 2013 Research Trip to Dublin.  John’s blog focuses not only on his experience in Dublin, but also his follow up trip to Limerick where his ancestors lived.  For anyone planning on joining a research trip, an extended visit to the area where your ancestors lived is highly recommended.  Plans are currently underway for next year’s trip to Dublin the week of October 12th, 2014.  I’m also exploring a week in Belfast as a number of people asked about this last year.  If you’re interested in either trip, please email me so I can put you on the list to notify when the trip is finalized.  

   Thanks, John, for sharing your experience.

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   Planning a trip to Ireland, I re-started research on my Seymour ancestors from Limerick a few years ago.  In the research process, I was fortunate to be able to collaborate with many other Irish researchers in our genealogy society at the Villages, FL.  Earlier this year, I decided to join Donna's research trip to Ireland to access records not available locally or on-line.  I would then be able to go to the churches & old neighborhoods in Limerick ready to focus on what life was like before emigration in 1850.  Understanding what life was like would provide me with good historical perspective to add to my bibliography.

    In visiting the National Library in Dublin, I was able to find names of sponsors at baptisms & marriages & even a newspaper advertisement showing the arrival & departure dates of the sailing vessel that would carry my great great grandparents & their two young children to New York.  At the Archives, I searched a partial list of House Books for the names of Seymour ancestors living in Limerick before 1850.  At the Valuation Office, I followed Griffith's Revision Sheets for any Seymour ancestors that remained in Limerick.  By 1860, nearly all had either emigrated or passed away.  I did some collateral research on my Higgins ancestors tracing a parcel of land in County Roscommon that has remained with the Higgins family.  Higgins cousins still live there today.

    After a week in Dublin I boarded the train to Limerick armed with a more detailed list of things to do.  Upon arrival in Limerick. I walked downhill about eight blocks to my hotel on the Shannon River.  On the way, I passed the home where my great great grandmother was raised & the Broken Heart Memorial where thousands of emigrants waited to board sailing vessels to North America.  After checking in at the hotel, I walked to Bedford Row where my great great grandparents had lived prior to emigration.  The hotel's location provided for some spectacular pictures of sunset along the Shannon. My ancestors may have had such a view on their way to New York.

    The following morning I attended the 10 o'clock Mass at St. Mary's church where my great great grandparents were baptized & married & where two of their children were baptized.  I spoke with the parish priest & established an E-Mail connection with the church secretary.  She has since provided information contained in the church records that was not recorded by the local Heritage Center or photographed by the LDS.  I visited the site of the original St. Mary's behind the existing church built in 1932.  At the site was a holy water font from the original church.  At the City Library, I reviewed the current Register of Electors & found no Seymour voters listed in Limerick today.  The library had original copies of the Limerick Chronicle Newspapers not available in Dublin.  At www.limerickcity.ie under City Library & Local Studies there are on-line databases for the 19th Century that included obituaries, death notices & trades/street directories. I found this information helpful, but somewhat limited to the upper class. 

    Overall, the trip provided insights on the records held at the Dublin repositories.  And how to find the records.   And it provided time for discussions with professional genealogists as well as collaboration with other researchers.  It went a long way in preparing me for a successful visit to Limerick.   

© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2013