Tag Archives: Research tip of the week.

Research Tip of the Week

He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother…and he holds the key to unlocking my family history!

Okay, so the latter part of that might not quite be true to The Hollies version, but it can be true of tracing one’s ancestors. I’ve spoken before in tips about the importance of lateral thinking when conducting genealogical research.

We often get people who’ve come to us, indicating that they’ve hit a brick wall with research. In some instances, they really do appear to have exhausted all the options with regard to their direct ancestors. “Oh she was born before 1864, and no parish records survive, so we can’t figure out her parents’ names” they’ll say. To which we’ll reply “and what about her younger brother born in 1866, what did his birth certificate indicate?”. “Oh…” they’ll say“…we hadn’t thought of that”. It happens to us all, we get blinkered by our direct lineage.

Gathering documents

This doesn’t just apply to birth, marriage and death (BMD) record sets either. Passenger lists are a classic example whereby a siblings’ record can yield information just as useful as if it were that of the individual themselves. For example, it is well documented that much of the migration to the U.S. post Famine is in the form of ‘chain-migration’, often with siblings or cousins following one after the other.

Lateral research can be time-consuming, you may go through several siblings’ records before striking gold with new information, but where successful the rewards make the effort worthwhile.

By, Expert Researcher,

Stephen Peirce.Stephen 3

Research Tip of The Week!

The search for a birth certificate online.

I have recently been researching a family that lived on Inishbofin, not the island off the Galway coast but a smaller one off the coast of Donegal. I had located the family in the 1901 and 1911 Census and was now interested in finding a birth certificate for one member of the family. I knew the person of interest was born in ca. 1877 and I know his parents’ names. I could find two civil birth registrations in 1877 for the same name registered in Dunfanaghy district on the Findmypast website, so which one is correct?  There is sometimes a way to narrow down options when you have more than one certificate to call up at the General Register Office. The FamilySearch website under its record section ‘Ireland Births and Baptisms, 1620-1881’ details many civil births registered after 1864 giving not only the volume and page number and location of birth but also the parents’ names.  When I used this facility I was able to eliminate one of the entries I had found on Findmypast as the parents’ names were incorrect. So that’s four euro saved!

By, Expert Researcher

Helen Moss,tom-cruise


Research Tip of The Week

Research confirms just how important the extended family network is in Irish life.

In a recent case I used a cluster of marriage records (church and civil).  A close examination of the names of the recorded witnesses – the best man and the brides-maid – opened up the research. At first the witnesses appeared to be unrelated to the bride and groom.  A closer examination proved that the male-witness, who I assumed was best-man for the groom, was in fact the bride’s ‘about-to-be’ stepfather.

I was fortunate in this case to have an unusual stand out name which allowed me to develop a most interesting line of enquiry for this family history. It makes me wonder how many actual family links we may be missing, not realizing that the Kelly or Murphy is in fact an in-law or cousin.

We might expect to see this phenomenon in a rural setting where families living in close knit communities would act as witnesses to each other’s marriages. I have also seen this in my own urban family history.

When Irish genealogy first launched the Dublin parish registers online, I searched for my own Wyse family members.  Among my many discoveries, I found my great aunt Mary Wyse acting as witness to a marriage in the Pro-Cathedral in 1896.

Married 16 Aug. 1896, in the Pro-Cathedral Dublin,

Bernard Breslin, of 4 Northern Ireland (Terrace?),  TO Mary Delaney of 70 Marlboro St.

The groom was the son of Michael Breslin & Julia Coffey, the bride was the daughter of Michael Delaney & Ellen Johnston.

Witnesses William Beechin and Mary Wise.

Initially I thought that great-aunt Mary must have acted as brides-maid for a friend. Further research proved Mary Wise was in fact a witness for the groom, her cousin!  This meant that the information on the groom and his parents was highly pertinent to my own family history and allowed me to bring this branch of my family back to an earlier generation. I had known little or nothing of this family up to this point.

The fact that witnesses often prove to be family members has been replicated in a number of cases I have worked on for clients recently.

Witnesses to a marriage should,never,be ignored!

By Eneclann Research Expert, Carmel Gilbride


Research Tip of The Week

It’s worth celebrating John Ballance’s birthday today.  On this very date in 1839 he was born in Antrim to a tenant farmer, Samuel Ballance and Mary Ballance (formerly McNeice), a quaker. John moved to Birmingham as a young man and using the findmypast website for the 1861 Census we can locate him in Cheapside, Birmingham enumerated as a 22 year-old factor’s clerk, born in Ireland, boarding in the home of Charles Bevan, an iron merchant’s clerk and his family.Gov09_05Rail017a(h280)

Ballance then emigrated to New Zealand and having followed a varied career, he entered politics and was elected to parliament in 1875.  He was elected Prime Minister of New Zealand in 1891 and died only two years later.  He was a keen advocate of women’s suffrage and New Zealand was the first country to introduce the right of women to vote.  New Zealand women had their first opportunity in 1893, although John Ballance did not live to see it.

We had to wait another twenty-five years before women were allowed to vote in Ireland and the privilege came with restrictions – women had to be over thirty years of age and landowners. It wasn’t until ten years later that these restrictions were lifted and all women in Ireland over the age of twenty-one years were allowed to vote.

At Eneclann we frequently refer to electoral registers, we’re fortunate in that if we are tracing a Dublin city family we can track them from 1938 to 1964 in the Dublin City Library and archive reading room using digitised records.The 1939-1940 electoral list is available online at.


By Eneclann Research Expert,

Helen Moss.


Research Tip of the Week.

Social networking and the genealogist.

“For the times they are a changing”, Bob Dylan’s immortal words can be applied to many things, not least genealogical research in the digital world. The greater availability of records online and the surge in global interest in family history over the past decade has meant that never has there been as much genealogical information available to as many people.

While the “digital revolution” dramatically altered access to records, in many ways it didn’t alter the practice of genealogy to the same degree, records were still studied and mined for information in the same way. However, one aspect of the “digital revolution” which is truly changing the practice of genealogical research, is social networking.

Where in the past the genealogical researcher may have ploughed a lonely furrow, with the advent of social networking, new opportunities to engage with others ploughing similar furrows have been created. Blogs, family trees, message boards, etc. all offer new possibilities in terms of sharing information and advice.

Below are some tips on how to take your first steps in genealogical social networking.

Age is but a number Many think of social networking as the preserve of the youth, but ‘silver surfers’ are one of the major growth groups in the sector. You’ll be amazed by how many of your contemporaries are already networking.

Do your research – As with anything to do with genealogy, it’s worth putting research in. Don’t simply join the largest networks or those marketed most actively at you. Seek out the groups and sites most relevant to your line of research. This can be done by focusing on a geographic location or family name.

Connect, like, follow – When you’ve identified the groups, organisations and sites that are relevant to your research, connect with them through your preferred medium (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Google+, newsletter, etc). You’d be amazed how many are running events that could be of use to your research. One such example is Eneclann and FindMyPast’s “Ask the experts” Facebook Q&A events which are held during the year (Next event: Friday 20th February on Irish central’s Facebook page).

Be active not passive – When you find information of use in discussion groups or forums don’t just read it and move on, be brave, post a comment or if you don’t find what you’re looking for, start a discussion topic, you never know who might reply!

The genealogical landscape is no longer shaped by long straight furrows, but rather a criss-cross patchwork of intersecting research. Get out there and make some connections, you never know where it might lead, or who it might lead to.

 By Stephen Peirce

Expert Researcher at Eneclann.

Stephen 3


31st of January 2014,Latest Eneclann Newsletter

In the latest edition of Eneclann’s newsletter we fill you in on some recent events in Irish genealogy. The new series of Expert Workshops for Continuous Professional Development returns in 2015; Learn the truth behind George Clooney’s Irish Roots as told by Eneclann’s own Fiona Fitzsimons interviewed recently on Midlands Radio ; We share a lovely testimonial from Ray Judge who commissioned our expert researchers to work their magic on his family history; Listen to the latest podcast from Lorna Moloney’s Genealogy Radio Show; and of course our readers’ “favourite bit” – the Research tip of the week; Enjoy 🙂

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The Expert Workshops Return

The Expert Workshops for CPD return in 2015. This year, Fiona Fitzsimons of Eneclann is joined by John Hamrock of Ancestor Network, to develop a new and diverse range of workshops for professional family historians and independent scholars. In February, our first speaker is,Catriona Crowe speaking on the National Archive’s publication plans in 2015,Our second workshop takes place on Valentine’s Day.  Mary Chaill will give a special presentation on IT for professional genealogists in the National Library of Ireland. Read all you need to know about these talks here.


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RootsTech 2015

There’s less than 2 weeks to,RootsTech 2015 conference in Salt Lake City, Utah, February 12-14, 2015. The Eneclann contingent are looking forward to Roots Tech.  Come and meet Brian Donovan, Paul Manzor and Laura Carroll, at Stand 1342.  And ask them about some of,the exciting new projects we’re working onnewsletter bar

George Clooney hits the headlines again!

Will Faulkner recently interviewed Fiona Fitzsimons on,Midlands103’sToday Show and asked her some hard questions about George Clooney’s Irish ancestry.
Listen to what Fiona had to say about the evidence, and the story it tells us. If you’re partial to Mr. Clooney, read all about his Irish Family History,here.newsletter bar


We have so many wonderful clients here at,Eneclann.  Good feedback from you, really makes our day, and makes the researchers’ job all the more worthwhile.  Here’s a testimonial email we received from a,recent client, If you would like to read some amazing stories from previous clients of ours you can view them all on our,website.newsletter bar

The Genealogy Radio Show

Tune in to the most recent episode’s of Lorna Moloney’s,Genealogy Radio Show”, broadcast on Community Radio Corca Baiscinn,Listen to  Episode 1- Series 2 Trade Directories,‘Your Ancestors did What? and  Episode 2, Series 2,Marriage and Burial customs, Folklore in practice – Sean O’Duillnewsletter bar

Research Tip of the week

“The research tip this week is by Helen Moss, Eneclann’s senior researcher.
Helen is one of the most able family-history researchers in Ireland, and heads up the Eneclann research team, read her,Tip of the week here.newsletter bar

Latest Eneclann Newsletter December 13th

In this week’s newsletter we offer you more from Eneclann, and all that is going on in the world of Irish Family History this festive season. We include a little reminder about the Eneclann EII (Employment and Investment Incentive) Scheme 2014; Eneclann’s own Fiona Fitzsimons recently made the September edition of the APG Quarterly; we bring you up to speed with the latest podcast from Lorna Moloney’s Genealogy radio-show; and our research team have a Research Tip of the Week. Plus there’s so much more to enjoy 🙂

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Christmas Gift Certificatesgold

Are you still trying to figure out what to get that person who has everything this Christmas? A family history gift-certificate is a personal and memorable present for that special someone. It is unique to the person you give it to and their family. This year, give your loved one the gift of working with the experts who discovered Obama and Tom Cruise’s Irish family history, Click on the image to purchase yours today.

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APG Quarterly

Eneclann’s own Fiona Fitzsimons made the September edition of the APG Quarterly – “TheProfessional’s Voice.”The APG Quarterly is a journal for those interested in professionalism. It’s one of the many benefits you receive on joining the Association of Professional Genealogists. Click on the image to learn more. newsletter bar Eneclann Winter Sale.WINTER SALE IMAGE

On December 26th,Just when you think you have received all your Christmas presents, Eneclann will be offering you the best one yet, In the form of our BIG WINTER SALE! and the best part is you don’t even have to leave your couch to receive it, because we all know how hard that is after a day of indulging 😉  So don’t forget to save the date and get ready for 50% OFF all publications, More info to come nearer the sale. newsletter bar

EII Remindertom-cruise - Copy


A gentle reminder about this year’s Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme (EII). The Employment and Investment Incentive Scheme (EII) is one of the only remaining ways in which Irish investors can reduce their 2014 tax liability. Eneclann EII is very attractive for investors, as it focuses on what has been recognised as a key component of Ireland’s economic recovery – our heritage,View here,for all you need to knownewsletter bar

Add Virtual PMC to Your Holiday Wish List

Refresh your professional skills with the Association of Professional Genealogists (APG) Professional Management Conference, this January 2015. With individual sessions beginning at just $20, a special $45 DNA bundle, or access to the full virtual conference for $145, Virtual PMC is a gift that fits every budget. Let your friends and family know which classes you want to attend,read more here.

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Give History Ireland as a Gift

Are you a little lost on what gift to get that History lover in your life? How about a subscription to History Ireland, Ireland’s best History Magazine.Remember someone special and give 12 months of fascinating, lively and compelling discussion, reflection and insight into matters of our past that remain significant for today.Check out the,full details here.newsletter bar

final fairy Image Irish Fairies seek new homes for Christmas

We still have some of our ‘little folk’ looking for new homes this Christmas, The parents of St.Laurence’s National School in Chapelizod, want to find homes for the ‘Sidhe na Nollaig’ – Christmas Fairies. Help an Irish fairy find a new home this Christmas! All proceeds go to St. Laurence’s National School.Click here to purchase. newsletter bar

Findmypast Christmas Countdown is live!

fmp Findmypast are delighted to announce the launch of their first ever Christmas Countdown! They have lined up a host of festive treats, from history quizzes and prize draws to guest columns, historical recipes, and expert family history tips. Click on the image to check it out. newsletter bar g radio show

Genealogy Radio Show:episode 14

You could light the Christmas lights along Grafton Street with the energy and verve of our good friend and colleague Lorna Moloney! Tune in to the most recent episode of “The Genealogy Radio Show”, broadcast on Community Radio Corca Baiscinn,Listen here to Episode 14,WW1 soldiers with Marian Furlong and Ann Marie Coghlan.newsletter bar last delivery dates christmas 2014

Christmas Delivery Dates

Don’t leave it too late! Have you been meaning to purchase some online publications with Eneclann before Christmas, to keep you entertained over the holidays? Perhaps you intended to buy a loved one a consultation with an Eneclann expert? Click on the image to find out more on the last delivery dates. newsletter bar research tip of the week

Research Tip of the week

Each newsletter we offer you a research tip written by one of our expert researcher’s, in the hope that we can help you along your genealogy path. This week Stephen Peirce has written a research tip on Researching Families,which you can view herenewsletter divider on blog

Research Tip of the week.

Each newsletter we offer you a research tip written by one of our expert researcher’s, in the hope that we can somehow help along your genealogy path. This week Stephen Peirce has written a research tip on….

Researching Families.

When researching families we often use evidence from civil certificates to guide our searches. In particular townland addresses are of use to avoid doppelgangers where a name is common.

However, addresses can sometimes be more instructive on certain documents than others. For instance, a series of birth certificates for the issue of marriage can offer an indication of how long a family were resident in an area. If five children were born in the same townland over a 10 year period, it is a safe bet that the family were resident in that townland for those 10 years.

Therefore, even if you’re only interested in a direct ancestor, often obtaining birth certificates for older or young siblings can be useful if you’re experiencing difficulties in locating a family outside of the birth of an ancestor.

One to be wary of however is residence at time of marriage. Time and again we see instances where the residence recorded for individuals, particularly men, is just that, their residence when they married, rather than actually their place of origin. In particular be wary when dealing with potentially ‘nomadic’ professions, such as ancestors that may have worked as labourers on the railroad.

A good rule of thumb if you believe the recorded townland may not be the place of origin is to turn to a census (if the event is between 1880 and 1930), census substitute (if the event is before 1880) or best of all the Cancelled Books, and see if the surname is in that townland. If there’s no sign of the surname, this may be an indication that you need to broaden your search.


By Stephen Peirce,

Stephen 3

Latest Eneclann Newsletter: 15th/11/2014

In this week’s newsletter we offer you more from Eneclann, and all that is going on in the world of Irish Family history. We include Eneclann’s story of Princess Charlene of Monaco’s Irish Family History, as featured in the latest Irish Lives Remembered Genealogy Magazine. This week we conclude the expert workshops for CPD for 2014 with a focus on church of Ireland records. Lorna Maloney Genealogy Radio show is now available on podcast, and we have that very popular research tip of the week, contributed by Carmel Gilbride. Enjoy

newsletter divider on blogChapelizod Dereliction Exhibition.

On Thursday 6th of November The Chapelizod Derieliction exhibition was officially opened by Minister Simon Harris. The exhibition now runs from 10am-5pm,Thur-Sun until 23rd November 2014. It is the culmination of a nine-month community arts project led by Irish artist Debbie Chapman. The project was funded by Dublin City Council, the Ballyfermot/Chapelizod Partnership and supporting historical research was provided by Eneclann, You can find all the details on this amazing exhibition here.

newsletter barExpert Workshops

The Expert Workshops in Irish Family History series conclude this November on Saturday 15th at 2pm with Derek Neilson on a workshop entitled:“Church of Ireland records – extent, quirks and pitfalls”’ Read the full details here.




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Irish Lives Remembered

The latest version of Irish Lives Remembered Genealogy Magazine is now out, and this month features the work of Eneclann’s own Fiona Fitzsimons on Princess Charlene of Monaco’s Irish Family History. This is the first part of a 3 part story, go to page 8 to read this wonderful story.

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Princess Charlene’s Irish Roots

The newsletter of the Certificate of Irish Heritage also focuses on Princess Charlene’s Irish Roots, to go behind the scenes in the palace in Monaco read the full article here.

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Genealogy Radio Show: episode 11


Our friend and colleague Lorna Moloney has really settled into her stride on “The Genealogy Radio Show”, broadcast  on Community Radio Corca Baiscinn. Listen to episode 11 with Criostoir MacCarthaig, Senior Archivist UCD on ‘Digitisng the 1937 [folklore] school scheme’, available here.



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The Carmichaol Centre Talk

On Saturday 22nd November at 4.00pm Stoneybatter & Smithfield People’s History Project are hosting a public talk that will take place  in the Carmichael Centre, North Brunswick Street (beside the old Richmond Hospital). Read all the details here

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Research Tip of the week

Each newsletter we offer you a research tip written by one of our expert researcher’s, in the hope that we can help you along your genealogy path.This week Eneclann’s Carmel Gilbride writes.Click here to view the tip.

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Research Tip of the week: 15th November 2014

Each newsletter we offer you a research tip written by one of our expert researcher’s, in the hope that we can somehow help along your genealogy path. This week Carmel Gilbride has written a research tip on.

Family History Research and what trends to be aware of

carmel gilbride

Each family is unique in its decisions and history. We see this over and over again in our work here at Eneclann. Nonetheless, as family historians we need to be mindful of the wider patterns at play.

Knowing the general trends of say, population movement, helps us deduce certain probabilities from these facts and guide us to making informed choices when selecting records online.  Working as we do in a post digitisation age, online records are selected, often without regard to the wider context.  We see a  record that matches some of our criteria and before we know it, we have ‘our ‘ ancestor, let’s just call her Mary “No Name”,  in a UK census; then back in Ireland having a child during the Great Famine;moving again to another part of the UK ; and returning to die in Ireland. In reality, it is very unlikely that this Mary “No Name” recorded in all these records is one and the same person. At all times our research needs to look for corroborative evidence from different sources while at the same time being mindful to locate our family in the wider narrative of history.

By Carmel Gilbride.