Paperback and eBook 240pp Price US $26.99; CAN €33.99 (€28.00)
By Claire Santry
Published by Family Tree Books, Cincinnati, Ohio www:shopfamilytree.com
Claire Santry is a well-known figure in Irish genealogy circles. She hosts the www.irishgenealogynews.com blog and @Irish_Genealogy twitter account. Her website www.irish- genealogy-toolkit.com is an invaluable resource to beginners and experienced family historians alike. She is also a fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society. Now she has written a comprehensive guide to searching for one’s Irish ancestors, aimed primarily at the USA market.
The informal tone of the book belies the considerable planning which has gone into its structure and illustration. Part 1: Linking Your Family Tree to Ireland weaves guidance on discovering one’s links back to Ireland with advice on following sound genealogical principles of research. Part 2: Getting to know the Old Country brings the researcher through the complexities of Ireland’s history and geography, then moves through a discussion of names and naming conventions, to the challenges of searching key types of records, namely civil registration, church, census, land and property, printed and other records. Each of these chapters is comprehensively supported by illustrations of typical records, maps etc. Part 3: Using Advanced Sources and Strategies provides case studies on challenges which may arise for the researcher, such as identifying the correct family among a sea of identical surnames, and overcoming those infamous brick walls!
Each chapter is structured in an accessible manner with clear subheadings. There are research tips in shaded boxes, which are extremely helpful for the more experienced researcher. As mentioned already, the text includes a wide number of illustrations which give the researcher an immediate introduction to the source material. A brief set of notes at the end of each chapter, entitled “Keys to Success” provide further suggestions and tips for the more advanced researcher. The latter is also well-served by a series of informative Appendices, which deal with such topics as “Latin in Irish Catholic Parish Registers” and “Irish Graveyard Research”, as well as listing various heritage centres, repositories and societies.
This book will be an invaluable resource for its primary target audience in the USA. However, its comprehensive and accessible approach mean that it should not be overlooked by the Irish-based researcher, particularly someone who is beginning their journey into this fascinating field.
Reviewed by Lucinda Mac Mahon