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Expert Q&A :: Irish family history research with Findmypast Ireland

For our Expert Q&A on Thursday, May 23 we had Cliona, Vicki and Aoife from the Findmypast Ireland team to answer your questions and help bust down your Irish ancestry brick walls. Thanks again to Cliona, Vicki and Aoife for giving us all the benefit of their time and expertise.

Don’t forget our Expert Q&As happen every Thursday night on the Inside History Magazine facebook page

When: NSW – ACT – VIC – TAS: 8:30-9:30pm AEDT | QLD: 7:30-8:30pm | WA: 5:30-6:30pm | NT: 7:00-8:00pm | SA: 8:00-9:00pm | Weekly on Thursdays nights!

Please find the transcript of the Q&A and links below.

Summary of links from the Q&A:

Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry
Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry


Transcript of Expert Q&A – Findmypast Ireland

Our Expert Q&A with the Findmypast Ireland team starts in 15 minutes at 8:30pm AEST. Join us with your questions! Please ask your questions in a comment below, and Cliona, Vicki or Aoife will answer in a following comment.

Comment: IHM: Welcome everyone, thanks for joining us. Please welcome Cliona, Vicki and Aoife to tonight’s Q&A!
A. IHM: Tip :: Keep refreshing your browser to see the answers as they appear and remember to look through the entire list of comments, as Facebook may order your questions and answers out of sequence.
A. Aoife: Hi everyone, looking forward to helping with all the questions.
A. Cliona: Hi everyone!
A. Vicki: Hi everyone.

Q. From Belinda: Hi there, just interested in knowing if there’s much out there on the Limerick area. I’ve had lots of trouble getting anything about my ancestors from Castle Connell?
A. Aoife: Hi Belinda Castleconnell is in the civil parish of Stradbally and their records begin in 1850, what date did the family leave?
A. Belinda: I believe they left in the 1850’s I’m still searching for there shipping record, although 2 brothers at least came out they left their parents Richard Bourke and Fanny Wilkinson there, everything that comes up under Richard Bourke is to do with Govenor Bourke.
A. Aoife: Many parish records still reside in the local churches although some can be found on commercial sites. Names tended to move through families, with the information of Stradbally & Castleconnel you may be able to find the family in our Land records by cross referencing common family names’s%20valuation%201847-1864
A. Belinda: Thanks Aiofe I’ll give it a go, otherwise i’ll just have to visit 🙂

Q. From Kay: I have ancestries from Northern Ireland can’t anymore relatives that stayed behind, mine married in Belfast Oct 1857, John Lee n Mary Nethercote. She had a brother John, they left in 1862. Would love to know what relatives they left behind.
A. Cliona: Hi Kay, their marriage cert may have information such as a witness who could be a family member.
A. Cliona: A possible useful resource would be PRONI
Q(b): Kay: Hi Cliona, what’s the best way to get the cert. please?
A. Vicki: I’ll answer for Cliona, you should be able to get information on how to obtain the certificate from PRONI.
A. IHM: Hi Kay, here’s is the link to the findmypast marriage finder ::
A. IHM: Hi Kay, you can order Irish certificates from The General Register Office :: and services like

Q. From Joan: My husband’s ancestor Eugene O’Shannon was born in County Carlow c. 1843. He was married in Melbourne March 1868. I have not been able to trace his background other than his parents possibly were Eugene O’Shannon and Catherine Murphy. Any suggestions to move forward?
A. Aoife: Hi Joan the name in Ireland may have been Shannon and searching for the name in our records in the Carlow area show a cluster of of that name. It is likely that Eugene was the eldest son as he has the same name as his father, do you know if the family all left Ireland or if some family stayed behind? Narrowing down a location in Carlow will be key to moving forward.
A. Joan: Unfortunately we do not know anything about him. His son was the 5th child and the only one to survive childhood. Eugene died 1867 so no family members have any knowledge.

Q. From Rebel: Hello Cliona, Vicki and Aoife, I’m looking forward to this! I’ve two Irish/Australian brick walls. 

  1. Patrick DELANEY/DELANY of Carnew, Co Wicklow, probably born c 1750. He was arrested in 1799 charged with ‘crimes committed in the late Rebellion’ (of 1798), court-martialled in December 1799 but later freed from Wicklow Gaol. He was convicted on the word of Bridget ‘Biddy’ Dolan, the notorious Wicklow informer. Patrick may be the uncle of my ancestor, Nicholas Delaney, transported on Atlas II in 1802 for his part in 1798. 
  2. Julia HARRINGTON, wife of Thomas Harington. They married on 7 Feb 1833 at St Leonards Church, Shoreditch. She is recorded as being a widow, with the surname Russell. The 1851 census has her coming from ‘Ireland’. My mother had her maiden name as GAMIN though I don’t know the source for that. 

I’ve tried Family Search, FMP and (shh) Ancestry and I can’t get any further. Can you give me any pointers?
A. Rebel: (This is a repost of a question on the earlier thread)
A. Cliona: Hi Rebel, I have a couple of questions if that is ok?
A. Rebel: That’s fine!
A. Cliona: You have a lot of information here and do seem to have tried a lot of the sources that are out there.
A. Rebel: Yes… but I’ve come to the end of my ideas. To be honest I’ve only just started looking at these two, so I’ve probably missed something.
A. Cliona: I’ll take #2 first – if you don’t have any further information on origin other than Ireland, this would be very challenging to trace. Geographic information is really important for Irish Family history research, do you have anything else that may have this information? Later Census records perhaps?
A. Cliona: #1 – any information on Parish / county of Birth? Oor Prison register records are amazing, but don’t cover Wicklow.
A. Cliona: Our – apologies for the typo!
A. Rebel: #1: Parish of Shillelagh for the Delaneys, I think. It’s complicated because they’re sometimes said to come from Ballyellis, which is on the Wicklow/Wexford border, diocese of Ferns.
A. Cliona: For # 1 I would suggest that you consider getting in touch with our Partners Eneclann, We work closely with them every day and they are experts in unlocking genealogical puzzles such as this one!
A. Rebel: Thanks, Cliona! For #2, I haven’t found Julia Harrington on the 1861 or later. She’s hiding really well. So no clues to where in Ireland.
A. Cliona: That is a real pity, it’s the missing piece of the jigsaw that’s needed, Irish research really requires geographic information.
A. Rebel: Maybe she’s just a permanent brick wall. You can go off your ancestors, sometimes…
A. Cliona: Or maybe we’ll have records in the future that will smash that wall down! Don’t lose hope 🙂
A. Rebel: 🙂 I’ll keep checking! Thanks, Cliona.

Q. From Andrea: My great grandfather, Samuel Moore, died in 1938 in the Belfast Mental Hospital. Is there a way I can get any records of his stay there? Thanks. 
A. Cliona: Hi Andrea sensitive records such as these may not be available but I would suggest PRONI – let me know how you get on?
A. Cliona:
A. Andrea: Thank you.
A. IHM: Hi Andrea, there might also be info held in The National Archives UK ::

Q. From Carmel: Hi all, I have got nothing on my Irish ancestors other than what is written on the Australian certificates. Murphy and Nolan in Wexford is a bit broad. Hagan from either Mayo or Tyrone and Farrell is from Leitrim.
A. Aoife: Hi Carmel, the first thing to do is to narrow down a location. If you search the names in our land records you will begin to see where the names cluster within the counties you mentioned, hopefully you will see patterns emerge with regard to firstnames which pass down through families. Just to note Tyrone & Mayo are quite far apart (for Ireland!).
A. Carmel: yes have tried that and full stop every time! quite frustrating. I also have one that is named as McCarrie m Bernard Hagan he is a farmer. Having problems just with McCarrie.
A. Carmel:  I don’t think the Irish like me! LOL I have lots of them.
A. Carmel: Would it be easier to find marriages, I am talking early 1800s?
A. Aoife: Wexford records are not available online and reside in the local parish churches. I feel your pain as I also have family from Wexford!
A. Carmel: See I told you the Irish do not like me! LOL

Q. From Andrea: I have a football medal which was won by my Great Grandfather Robert Samuel Moore in 1902-1903. It has Belfast Printing House Football League written on it. I have done many searches on the Belfast Printing House and have found no information. On the back on the medal it is engraved “Won by R. S. Moore”. I have had a Jeweller look at it and the imprints of an anchor, lion and the letter C are on the back of the medal. As you can imagine this medal is very special to me and I would love any insights on how I can find more information on it. Thanks heaps.
A. Cliona: Andrea this is a lovely question I am working on my answer for you!
A. Cliona: I think Andrea I may have to say that we will look at this and get back to you in a week if that is ok? What do you think Inside History Magazine?
A. Andrea: Thanks, that would be great. Would you like me to post a photo of it on here?
A. Andrea: Link to photo:
A. Cliona: Thanks Andrea I’m going to ask more people about this and we will be in touch!
A. Andrea: Thanks heaps 🙂

Q. From Kellie: I have a 3x Gt Grandfather from County Kerry born 1819 he is in London in woolwich working as a tailor until his death in 1900 in the infirmary in plumstead. Is there any way that I can search for him? With the limited information I have?
A. Aoife: Hi Kellie records for Kerry in general begin after the 1820s, if you could narrow down where in Kerry he was from you may get lucky with a parish with early records. Tailoring was also a family business and it may be that he learned his trade from his father. He probably also named his eldest son after his father. Would you know when he moved to the UK?
A. Kellie: That’s the thing, I don’t know where to start? He had 3 sons and the 1st was named William the 2nd son was named after him. On the English census returns he writes Kerry Ireland. I found him on the 1851 census living in High St Woolwich. I have never been able to find him marriage certificate either?
A. Kellie: I forgot to say his name is Francis Hull is this a Irish name?
A. Aoife: Hi Kellie, Hull would not be a common name in Ireland.
A. Kellie: Thank you Aoife.
A. Aoife: Hi Kellie, from the evidence you have is it likely that he married in Ireland or England? Were his sons born in Ireland or England? It is likely that his eldest son was named after his father.
A. Kellie: His 3 sons and daughter were all married in England. I have never been able to find a marriage certificate. I suppose he could have named his first son after his father, I come from the line of his 3rd son Henry. None of children went into the same trade?
A. Kellie: All his children were born in Woolwich. He married a Woolwich girl.

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