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How Far Back Can You Trace Your Family.
# 1 : Monday 6-10-2014 @ 16:07
A post by Krasiva in another thread gave me the idea for this thread.
Before my mothers father died, she tried to trace his family as he had always wanted to know if he had brothers or sisters, he grew up in an orphanage in Cork, alas there was little to no joy.

I have also noted recently on another site how Americans seem to be able to tell you where their Irish roots go back to, often by hundreds of years (and usually to some clan leader, never just any old fella)

Have you every compiled a family tree?
How far back did it go in generations or years.
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# 2 : Monday 6-10-2014 @ 16:17
We've very little info on my Mams side but on my Dad's we've got back to my great great grandparents.

They were living on Camden Street and Summerhill before the turn of the 20th Century so I'm pretty sure we can say we're proper Dubliners.
# 3 : Monday 6-10-2014 @ 17:08
My brother began trying to trace the family routes, must ask him exactly how far back he went....

My Maternal Grandfather arrived here from Scotland with his parents, I know my Great, Great Grandfather was a Scot.....
Maternal Grandmother originated from Clones, we know nothing about her family, she never spoke about them ever.....

Dads Father and his people were from.different areas of Donegal, including the Gaelteact regions....
His Mum came from Tyrone as did her ancestors, she was an only child, educated in a boarding school after she developed polio.....
# 4 : Monday 6-10-2014 @ 17:43
On my fathers side, I can only get back to him and no further. He never spoke of his family, always told us to leave his sisters out of some occasions and he never said why. I don't know, If it was him or them and found out later that my mother created a lot of trouble with her outlaws?
# 5 : Monday 6-10-2014 @ 17:46
I don't know if Ery has left the site or not yet, hopefully not. I know she is a big historian type and i am pretty sure that she would be the sort to have traced her people back to the stone age.

I think we have details back to my great, great grandparents. I must try to assemble a family tree on the computer with photos of all living and dead relatives where possible.
I do have some early memories of my great grandfather.
# 6 : Monday 6-10-2014 @ 21:10
1816 father's side

mother's side 1817
# 7 : Monday 6-10-2014 @ 21:33
Father's side - definitely back to 1821 - possibly 1796. Mother's side - roughly 1820s/1830s. I find that the farther back I go, the less the ages make sense. People who were 50 in 1901 were 65 in 1911. Old age pensions were introduced in 1908 and a lot of people adjusted their ages accordingly.
# 8 : Monday 6-10-2014 @ 21:36
My ancestors came from very different backgrounds, Portuguese Ashkenazii family records back to 1246

English Lincolnshire family 1316

My dad is a genealogist so most of the credit for research is down to him.

My great great great grandparents came to Ireland from Tattershall in Lincolnshire in 1830, they bought a house in Co. Kilkenny and called it The Lawn.
Two years ago while doing a clearout at home I found a copy of my GGG grandfather's will. I was amazed to find that it was signed with an "X", these were monied people who had access to the best of education, but he apparently was illiterate.
Further research threw up an amazing story.
My GGG grandmother had literally run off with the gardener, and the family's money.
Her actual husband had sustained injuries at the battle of Waterloo in which he lost a little bit more than his left leg.
So armed with the family silver and cash she legged it to Ireland with the gardener. The house she left in Tattershall was called The Lawn, so she attempted to replicate her English life in Ireland and seemingly passed off the gardener as her actual husband.

A year ago I went with my twin brother to Tattershall to meet the family who still farm there. The local church vicar was only too delighted to introduce us to the family, so a meeting was proposed for after church on the coming Sunday. However on the Saturday evening the vicar phoned me and told me that the family could not meet me as "the wound was still too raw". I was stunned, some people never let go, even after 190 years.

My dad received a phonecall from the University of Toronto to say that in researching papers of D H Lawrence they had made a connection to the legend of my grandmother. Tattershall is about 20 miles from Eastwood in Nottinghamshire so it seems the story was the catalyst for Lady Chatterly's Lover.

# 9 : Monday 6-10-2014 @ 21:41
Someone asked me to put together a list of sites I'd used to compile family histories. I had a good head scratch and came up with these.

What it says on the tin - it contains details of the census forms for 1901 and 1911 and also bits and pieces from 1821-51.

These are from the first couples of decades of the last century when the old age pension was introduced. People aged 70 or over in 1908 were eligible but needed access to census data from 1841 or 1851 to prove their age. So they submitted requests to the authorities who would then check the census records. So, there are in some cases details of census records that were subsequently destroyed in the early 1920s.

More info here:

You can run searches here.

Griffiths Valuations - carried out between 1848 and 1864 to assess liability to pay the Poor Law Union rate. They're on this website:

You can search the records here:

Only the head of household is mentioned.

The website is etc ...

The information is from the 1820s and 1830s. It was compiled to determine the amount which occupiers (of all faiths) of holdings over one acre should pay in tithes to the Church of Ireland.

Might be useful - it contains some 60,000 records.

The website is It has a lot of church records, baptisms marriages etc. You have to pay to do meaningful searches.

This one is handy for looking up relatives who emigrated to the USA -

The last two are free. The first three sometimes do special offers.

I got some bits and bobs in here. It's hit and miss though.

Not much use for names but comparing the 1830s map and the 1890 (approx.) map with the ones in the Griffiths Evaluations can be handy in terms of figuring out who lived where.
# 10 : Monday 6-10-2014 @ 21:46
Krasiva, that's an amazing story, would make a great book ! Reminds me of the story of the aftermath of the Battle of the Boyne. King William (victor) went out for a walk on the banks of the Boyne. He came across King James (vanquished) who was crying inconsolably over his loss. Billy put his arm around Jimmy and said "don't worry, in just a few years this will be all forgotten about ".

Gadjo, thanks for those useful links.
# 11 : Monday 6-10-2014 @ 22:57
My fathers side were a farming family in Wicklow, my Mothers side were London people. But my mothers G grand fater came from cork, a wealthy coal stevedore, he owned the land that jury's hotel is built on in cork city. He sent his daughter over to Belgium to be educated, she could speak 6 languages. They were O'connells from cork.
# 12 : Wednesday 8-10-2014 @ 14:15
Gadjo, thats a great selection of resources!
I know a lot of information was lost during the civil war.
My family have all been traced back from Dublin apart from my grandfather who was an orphan
# 13 : Thursday 9-10-2014 @ 02:25
I quite like the idea that with a blood test they can give you a virtual geographic map of your paternal and maternal ancestry .
# 14 : Thursday 9-10-2014 @ 02:35
As an adopted person I have no way of doing so.
# 15 : Thursday 9-10-2014 @ 07:23
Someone said :
As an adopted person I have no way of doing so.

Can you not ask if you can meet your parents?

Alternatively, what about learning your adopted family history?
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