Top 5 Irish Genealogy Sites

If you find you have branches of your tree that trace back to Ireland, here are a list of five useful genealogy sites that provides information on Ireland and (hopefully) your ancestors.

Library of Ireland… Besides a selection of village, town, and city directories, there are texts of several books on names that should prove useful in searching through Birth, Marriage, and Death records, and in pinpointing locations in which a particular family is most likely to be found.

Irish Genealogy… The website is now home to the historic records of Births, Marriages and Deaths of the General Register Office. These records join the Indexes to the historic records of Births, Marriages and Deaths that were already available on the website.

Irish Genealogy Tool Kit… You’ll find page after page of relevant advice on this website plus the very latest information on genealogical resources in Ireland.

From Ireland… Here you will find millions of free records, compiled by Dr. Jane Lyons, including: gravestone records, gravestone photographs, 1901 census records, 1911 census records, 1931 trade directory records, birth records, marriage records, death records, Lewis’ topographical records, Griffith’s valuation records, and more.

The National Archives of Ireland… All of these records are free to access, through searchable databases and linked images of relevant pages. Eventually, the site will contain all of the important and easily accessible genealogical material in the custody of the National Archives.

While sites such as Ancestry provides a lot of information for researchers, I tried to stick with free websites. Ancestry is too expensive and provides little more than free sites such as Familysearch.org. Check out this list, and stay tuned for Friday – when I’ll be posting a freebie: A family sheet that helps you track your information.


International Women’s Day

Today is International Women’s Day… A day to celebrate women and their contributions to the world. When I think about International Women’s Day, I think of the women who influenced my life – regardless of their level of fame (or infamy) or world-wide contribution. Here are a few of the women I believe heavily influenced who I was, who I am, and who I will be.

Anna with Me (the gypsy in the back) and my little sister (a bandit) and cousin
Marjorie and Me

The Grandmothers… They are Anna and Marjorie. Neither are alive today, but they both made a lasting influence on me while they were here. Both encouraged education, independence, and family. Neither tolerated complacency. And with all they had in common as grandmothers, as women they brought their unique self to the table. Marjorie was feminine and loved to sing and garden, while Anna was a tomboy (even as an adult) who loved to bake, play dominoes, and took no guff off anyone. While Marjorie taught me the power of a smile, Anna taught me silence equates to condoning.

Mum and Me

My mum… She is one of those people who other people gravitate around because she radiates this warm, loving, comfort. Complete strangers have literally asked her for a hug, while it takes her a matter of minutes before she knows the life story of everyone she comes in contact with. She doesn’t have to say a word, they simply share. I’ve seen shoulders ease and a sense of contentment settle upon people. For my little sister and I, she is our bedrock.

George Sand… I’m not sure when I first learned about George Sand (aka Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin), but I know that when I did – I knew I wanted to be her when I grew up. She lived life on her own terms – an independent writer in a time where a noble woman was meant to only marry, look pretty, and have plenty of children. She was smart, independent, wore men’s clothes (because they were more comfortable than all those skirts), cussed up a storm, and loved (and was loved) by brilliant men. While I’m not a fan of her writing (think romance novels from the 1800s) nor would I have made some of the decisions she made, I loved that she lived the life she wanted to live instead of living the life everyone else expected her to live.

Kate Chopin… Unlike George Sand, Kate Chopin is not someone I admire because of her life. Rather, I admire her because of her work. Well, one piece of work she wrote that literally changed my life forever… The Awakening. I first read this book when I was 12 or 13, and it created the weird, wonderful epiphany deep within me: it’s my life. The Awakening tells the profoundly sad story of a women who had two choices – to live the life she wanted or to live the life that society expected of her. She chose the later, and the consequences were profound. It is a story that is rich, textured, and sad. It is a story I’ve held up as my Geiger Counter for regrets.

What about you? What women have played a strong role in your life? What women do you appreciate for their role(s) in your life?

Doing my due diligence and being straight up, it is important I state the links to the above items are links via an affiliate program I’m involved in with Amazon.  While the price, through the program, remains the same for everyone – I do receive a small amount of money based on whether you follow the link and purchase the product.  However, I can verify that I’ve purchased these products and recommend them.


What Made Me Happy in February

One of the nasty habits I have is that when time passes, I often focus on what I didn’t get accomplished during that time period.  I’m very goal focused, and when I don’t complete the goals I intended to complete – no matter what the circumstances – I mentally beat myself up and wallow a little too much.  I do this with each passing New Year, each passing birthday, and even at the end of each day.  Whatever wasn’t checked off or crossed off on my list is ammunition for me to focus on the negative – focusing on what didn’t get done instead of what actually was done.  This tends to skew a person’s overall perspective.  Not this year!

One of my goals is to do a better job appreciating time and what I accomplished in that time.  So, every month I plan to identify what I appreciate about the month – not necessarily in what I’ve accomplished or haven’t accomplished, but to simply identify a few things that I’m grateful for – that I’m happy about happening…

Snow… It snowed!  While most of the people around me hate the snow, I absolutely love it (as mentioned in an earlier post).  And we got a lot of snow to love in February.  Most of it is gone now, but I’m incredibly happy it paid a visit.  It just made everything feel fresh, cozy, and still.  Stillness in live is definitely under-appreciated.

Blogging again… I met my scheduling goal for the month, and I’m very happy about it.  Yeah, blogging!!

Ghirardelli Chocolate and Caramel Hearts… These evil creations are wickedly wonderful, and I inhaled an entire bag of these.  I received these as a little Valentine’s gift, and I devoured the bag.  I love them so much that I ended up going and purchasing another bag to share with my mum.  Though, I do admit there wasn’t much sharing involved.  I believe she ate a total of 4 of these bad girls… Not because she didn’t like them but because there was only 4 left.

Treatments begin… 2019 has been a devastating year for me and my little family.  My mother’s cancer returned with a vengeance, a friend was diagnosed with breast cancer, another friend was diagnosed with a brain tumor (not cancer but growing out of control), and a friend’s husband was diagnosed with brain tumor (don’t know if it is malignant yet).  In February, Mum started her radiation treatments while the friend with breast cancer has her surgery (and will soon start her radiation).  The friend with the brain tumor started her over 30 radiation treatments, while the friend’s husband was referred to treatment at a prestigious hospital.  While February was the start, at least it was a start for everyone.  More gratitude will be felt when everyone is done with their treatments and can celebrate.

A good hair cut… One should never under-estimate the power of a good hair cut.  In February, I decided it was time for a change.  I had been spending the last 6 months pulling my hair back, pushing it out of my eyes, and annoyed that after 4 hours of “air drying” – my hair still wasn’t dry.  So, I simply stepped out of the shower, took a pair of scissors, and gave myself a blunt bob cut.  It reaches down to my jaw line.  I love the hair cut and have received a lot of compliments, but I wasn’t too clever because I still have it falling in my face (pulling it back behind my ears doesn’t work for long) and even though it is shorter – it still takes over 4 hours to “air dry” my hair.  While I wanted to go short, I didn’t want to go too short, so this is the best for now.  No matter how short my hair was cut, though, I feel fortunate because my hair grows relatively fast, so I’ll be able to change it up again in a few months.

What about you?  What was it about February that made you happy?


Keeping in Touch

I grew up in a family of tightness. It started with my grandmother’s generation – whose family had a family reunion every 2 years. Specific families would take turns hosting the bi-annual tradition, luring relatives far and wide to attend the 3-day event in various parts of the country. When we weren’t attending a family reunion, it only took the slightest excuse for families to get together for large, mostly pot-luck, meals. It became nearly impossible for anyone to go a few months without seeing your aunts, uncles, and cousins.

When my grandmother’s generation were unable to continue maintaining the connection (due to aging or other reasons), it fell upon my mother’s generation – which dropped the ball. Those reunions ceased to happen, while seeing those aunts, uncles, and cousins were limited to weddings and funerals. That familial connection became limited to the annual Christmas card and form letter.

A few years ago, I noticed even the annual Christmas card was no longer being observed. Fewer folks were sending out cards – relying on places like Facebook to maintain that family connection (even though a majority of folks weren’t on Facebook). While technology has made connecting with others faster and cheaper (the rising cost of postage is enough to deter regular snail mail correspondence), there is a loss of relationship that is rising with the increased reliance on technology (and social media). This year, my mother and I vowed to make a change.

In an effort to regain that connection with aunts, uncles, and cousins, we decided we would not limit the outreach to only Christmas cards. Instead, we would send out birthday cards. When we heard of a cousin being sick, we would send them a “get well” card. “Thinking of you” cards would be a regular post, while anniversaries will also be observed.

We’re two months into this special project, and we’ve already found great success. A cousin we haven’t seen or heard from for over 10 years (since her mother’s funeral), wrote us after receiving her birthday card. Another cousin, who we haven’t seen in at least 6 years, send us a card when we sent him a “Thinking of You” card.

While this project is still in the beginning stages, we’re absolutely thrilled to be seeing solid results from our efforts. I’ll keep you posted on how it goes, but from these early results – I encourage all of you to take on this project as well. Nothing beats a little piece of mail waiting for your in your mailbox – sealed with hand-written thoughts and good wishes.