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Posted by on Dec 17, 2010 in Audio & Video, Featured, Genealogy, Podcast | 26 comments

#113 Discovering Your Irish Roots… Annie Moore, Barack Obama and You -AUDIO

Megan Smolenyak - Who Do You Think You Are?Episode Guide – Podcast #113 Discovering Your Family’s Irish Roots

Expert genealogist Megan Smolenyak delves into the tips and techniques for uncovering your Irish ancestry.

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Show Notes:

Who Do You Think You Are? Book by Megan Smolenyak00:00
Intro: The Devil’s Bit by Theresa Larkin & Noel McQuaid

00:30
Holiday Giveaway – “Who Do You Think You Are?: The Essential Guide to Tracing Your Family History” by Megan Smolenyak – Instruction for how to enter are in the podcast.

Congratulations! Eileen Sullivan Steuernagel won a copy of “Who Do You Think You Are?”

00:48
Irish Drinking Songs for Cat Lovers

01:05
Megan Smolenyak

01:30
The Wrong Annie Moore

02:20
The Real Annie Moore

 

03:53
Barack Obama’s Irish Roots

05:15
Moneygall

07:30
Tips for genealogy

10:50
Tips for a genealogy trip to Ireland
www.familysearch.orgCensus of Ireland 1901 & 1911

12:19
Using the census data

13:00
Counties, townlands, parishes, churches and cemeteries

The actual records from the 1800s documenting Obama’s ancestors.

14:03
Genealogy is gaining popularity in Ireland

15:40
People treat relatives differently

16:00
Most common genealogy mistakes
Spellings and considering ALL possible relatives
Skipping generations and exaggerating history

18:05
Royals, rebels and rogues

19:30
History and science becomes more interesting

20:17
Forensic genealogy
US Army’s repatriation projects
Helping coroners and medical examiners
www.unclaimedpersons.org
Police, NCIS (Naval Criminal Investigative Service) and FBI cases

Downlable PDF

Resources
www.honoringourancestors.com
www.familysearch.org
www.rootstelevision.com
www.ancestry.com
Who Do You Think You Are? Includes the Top 20 Genealogy Websites

25:55
WARNING: Genealogy is additive

26:49
U.S. Presidents with Irish Roots

Outro
Fields of Gold performed by Anne Roos www.celticharpmusic.com

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26 Comments

  1. I can definitely relate to the wrong “Annie Moore” situation! I have come across that so many times for myself. Either I had been directed to a certain ancestor who was to be ours or was matched and once I researched that person, I would find that they were in fact NOT the right “Annie Moore”. Sometimes that would be frustrating, but other times, I found that it may have led me to the right person who was maybe even more interesting than the first person.

    Also, as for the wrong path, not just the wrong spellings…but family stories that become misconstrued during the years. Or the stories may be embellished for one reason or another. For instance: on my Melsom side, apparently there was one who was a Miss America back in the 20′s or 30′s. Then I heard she was one of the first Miss America’s. I have not been able to locate any to confirm that. My husband is to be related directly to Robert Fulton, Sitting Bull and also to have African-American in his background. I jumped into trying to find an established tree for Sitting Bull and Robert Fulton… instead of first going back on my husband’s tree. It is so easy to get caught up in the moment!

    Looking forward to the next season of WDYTYA!

  2. My Barry family came to Canada from Northern Ireland when Jonas Barry was a soldier and sent to Northern Canada (Ottawa area) in about 1820. How do you find them when they are obviously lower class, lower income people?

    My husband’s ancestor (Ulick Burk) was supposed to be from a long line of Ulick Burk’s, and he came to Union County, Indiana about 1840. His tie to his ancestors is really remote. Any Ulick Burk I can find is tied to the wrong family. No telling when his ancestors came to the US. He supposedly was from PA Dutch area.

  3. Looking forward to this next (Who Do You Think You Are? television) series!

  4. Corey & Megan – I’m blown away by this wonderful podcast! I sat here listening with laughter and tears and floods of memories!

    I could go on forever about how much I agree with the wonderful advice & tips! Some things touched me personally – like the work Megan has done for the Army & what the Army is doing. As a military brat myself and then military wife for 30 years and hubby still working for the military – that’s near & dear to my heart of course and I didn’t know about this work and I think it’s wonderful!

    You already know how much I love Annie Moore! I love the Obama tracing as well as you also already know. I was brought back to my own beginnings in genealogy and remembering the two people who inspired it and that each of them were what I would have considered dead ends with only a fact to start with and how those journeys led me to treasures beyond words! One of those journeys led to my Irish roots and to a little town in County Down and that journey led me right back to where I coincidentally live now. Miracles abound in genealogy!

    I also had to laugh at the mistakes people make and my personal favorite is people who start doing genealogy to prove the family story that they’re Native American. I ran a surname list on Rootsweb for years and I think the vast majority of the people who joined that list joined for that reason alone. However, as pointed out – genealogy is addictive and fortunately a lot of people get past that initial reason and actually really start doing genealogy. lol

    I’m just a simple person who wanted to find out about two people who were special to me – my grandma and my dad. What I discovered on both can only be described as miracles upon miracles – especially with my dad. I always use my stories to show that people should never consider their genealogy journey to be hopeless and that brick walls can crumble and that they should never give up. This podcast has sooooooo much in it! Kudos to you both for this! I love you both! :) Now I need to grab tissues and mop those sentimental tears. lol

  5. Thank You Corey for that interesting interview with Megan. She sounds like she really is a wealth of knowledge and I bet her book is full of good tips.

    I have tried to locate both my husbands & my own Irish ancestors, and with little concrete data to go on (only birthyears and approximate locations), I haven’t made any direction connections to anyone still living over there, or actual family homesteads. But we did go to the Skibbereen Heritage Center and they ran our family names through their computer. They came up with a printout of land occupants in 1851 and there was a whole group living nearby of what appeared to be all our family members names. We drove down on the Mizen Peninsula to the little townships they pointed us too and I’ll tell you what, I once heard someone say there is in our DNA some sort of “Blood Memory” and I have to say, as strange as it sounds, there is something to it.

    Just looking out from that land at Long Island and Roaring water bay, I had the strangest feeling that I had been there before and seen that land and that bay. Even though it was my first visit there. I also had that same feeling in a castle ruin at Kanturk. I loved that castle ruin. I felt so peaceful there and I didn’t want to leave. It was like some kind of sigh of relief when I went in there. Maybe that’s what drives our thirst for tracking down our ancestors. There is some kind of real connection to places and it drives you to want to solve the mystery.

  6. Diana, I totally understand that feeling of connection to a place – knowing that you’re standing on a place that’s tied to your family even before you can actually prove it. That’s very difficult to describe to anyone who hasn’t experienced it but it’s very real and very powerful!

    One of my experiences was totally overwhelming and my blogging about it led to the story recently being published in a book called “True Miracles With Genealogy – Help From Beyond The Veil” Compiled by Anne Bradshaw. I know this seems like plugging the book and I guess it is, but I’m more interested in plugging the concept that you can sense a connection sometimes – to a place. You can stand somewhere and just KNOW that it’s “sacred ground” for you and your family heritage.

  7. I’m sure most of us working on genealogy have a funny “researching the wrong ancestors” story – in my own family we were tracking my great-grandparents Michael & Anna Tierney via a family in Brooklyn that had all of the right children names, plus several more.

    We were marveling at how we never heard of those “new” kids and I, in particular was enamored and trying to find information on a pair of Tierney sisters who were listed in the 1900 census as “Singers on the Stage.”

    Alas, we finally realized it was a parallel family after we located the right one, last name very badly transcribed in all versions of the 1900 census.

    I was sad to leave behind the Singing Tierney Sisters, but one day perhaps I’ll go back to them and see if there might be a cousin connection.

  8. On a side note – I think the world is getting much smaller through genealogy and finding out that we’re more connected than we might think is even reflected in a discovery made a couple of months ago that a tiny little town in Ohio with my hubby’s roots that I was sure pretty much no one in the universe really knew about except a very tiny number of people is actually connected to Megan as well! Suddenly that little town seems a lot more special and I learned history of it I’d never known before. (Thanks, Megan!)

    BTW – not leaving comments to win but because the podcast stimulated a whole bunch of thoughts! :) It’s cleaning day and I can’t seem to get started now. I’m totally lost in genealogy thoughts!

    Someday I hope to stand on the land my family came from. Some of the extended family have been able to do that and there are still living family members there and graves to see and all …. but my turn will have to wait for now. So until then I dream away…..

  9. Thanks for all the wonderful comments. I’m thrilled you enjoyed the interview.

    Irish Mason… no worries about the multiple comments… I love to see the conversion.

  10. I love how you talk about genealogy making history personal! I discovered that for myself a few months ago, when an article about the cholera outbreak in Haiti referenced the 1866 cholera outbreak in NYC. I instantly felt a sense of “ownership” of the history – because my great-great-grandmother had lost a brother and a sister to that cholera epidemic. As it turned out, it also personalized the present to me – I became much more aware of the reality of people dying, today, in Haiti from cholera because it had also affected my ancestors.

  11. Thank you, Corey, for your reassurance! ;) Much appreciated on a day when Craic definitely beats Cleaning!

    JJT, I understand wanting to hold on to those people we research and think are ours only to learn later that they really aren’t. I still love an Arch McDonald that unfortunately isn’t mine. I read a lot about mountain men and fur traders and history of things like the Hudson Bay Company – anything that even might remotely mention this Scottish Arch McDonald I was sure was mine. I was wrong. Alas…. he stays in my heart but apparently not in my blood. I wonder if MY Arch McDonald is upset with me for being disappointed that it wasn’t HIM that I was so fascinated with. Hmmmmmm…..

  12. I went to Monaghan to discover my Donaghmoyne roots and found the country marvelous. The suite at Castle Leslie was amazing as well as their stables. Can’t wait to go back and research the other half of my Celtic roots.

  13. I wish I could find my Irish ancestors – the most recent came over in the 18th century, and records were rather scarce back then as to origins :(

  14. “there is always another ancestor to chase” isn’t that the truth and what I love about this hobby, it is never ending!

    So glad I found your podcast, I’m always looking for quality podcasts to add to my library. Looking forward to more!

  15. Corey,

    I have not yet listened to the podcast, but I look forward to it. Thanks you for doing it. As you know, my fascination with Ireland began when my sister died suddenly at 49 years of age. We were devestated and heartbroken. I needed to know who she may meet in the afterlife. It lead me to open up many family secrets on both my mother and father’s side.

    My most exciting experience was when I wrote to 3 Hughes in County Galway and got three letters back. I had found the address in an old will my mom had and looked up in the Eircom digital phone book the name in the town. I found one at the exact same address, one in the same town and one down the road! Two of my contaacts were a father and son and yes they were my cousin’s! And lots of them. I found a family in Athlone, Belfast, Kilkenny and the original contact in Ballinamore Bridge co Galway. They had inherited the farm that my Great Great Grandparents had aquired in the 1870′s and my great grandmother grew up in.

    In 2008 my mom and I visited with my sister’s ashes to leave a part of her in a magical place she always wanted to visit. The farm was run down and my relatives were very traditional Irish farmers.

    We nonetheless were thrilled with the experience and I even found the graves of our distant relatives. My family knew where they were buried but it was so overgrown they could not find them. I persisted and found not only my great great grandfather’s, but his father’s grave as well.

    It is so addictive and there is alway’s someone else to find. I have many stories of discovery and cannot tell you what a joy and comfort it is to know that my sister’s spirit is with some other pretty stunning spirits!

    We did not leave her ashes at the family farm it was a bit too run down to feel comfortable leaving her there. We did find a beautiful spot to leave her on our second trip. Her 2 daughters my mom and my daughter returned in 2009 and left her ashes near the gothic chapel at Kylemore Abby facing the lake. I could not think of a more beautiful and tranquil place to spend eternity!And I am so sure she is thrilled to be there too!

    I cannot wait to hear the podcast!

  16. nice job, Corey and Megan. the idea of using geneaology skills to work on civils right era mussing persons is sometning I had not considered.

  17. I’m tracing my Irish side of my grandmothers family. I can REALLY relate to this podcast. This family has been really allusive. It was driving me crazy. I was using Ancestry.com to do the research. It’s a great resource. I found my 3rd great grandmother but her husband to be who came on a different ship is a little more difficult to find. He could be one of two different men. I will have to check 1860 U.S. Census of Hamilton Co., OH to find the family. That should give me the birth year. The clues are leading to Hamilton, OH. I had to hire a professional researcher to do research in Ulster Co., NY. She found out thru a NY State Census his name was actually Maloy, which got changed to Mallory. On Sarah’s death cert. online it was spelled as Melloy. Make sure you check out State Censuses they occured between the U.S. Censuses. And be flexible with spellings of first and last names.

  18. Corey, I have not yet listened to the podcast, but I look forward to it. Thanks you for doing it. As you know, my fascination with Ireland began when my sister died suddenly at 49 years of age. We were devestated and heartbroken. I needed to know who she may meet in the afterlife. It lead me to open up many family secrets on both my mother and father’s side. My most exciting experience was when I wrote to 3 Hughes in County Galway and got three letters back. I had found the address in an old will my mom had and looked up in the Eircom digital phone book the name in the town. I found one at the exact same address, one in the same town and one down the road! Two of my contaacts were a father and son and yes they were my cousin’s! And lots of them. I found a family in Athlone, Belfast, Kilkenny and the original contact in Ballinamore Bridge co Galway. They had inherited the farm that my Great Great Grandparents had aquired in the 1870′s and my great grandmother grew up in. In 2008 my mom and I visited with my sister’s ashes to leave a part of her in a magical place she always wanted to visit. The farm was run down and my relatives were very traditional Irish farmers. We nonetheless were thrilled with the experience and I even found the graves of our distant relatives. My family knew where they were buried but it was so overgrown they could not find them. I persisted and found not only my great great grandfather’s, but his father’s grave as well. It is so addictive and there is alway’s someone else to find. I have many stories of discovery and cannot tell you what a joy and comfort it is to know that my sister’s spirit is with some other pretty stunning spirits! We did not leave her ashes at the family farm it was a bit too run down to feel comfortable leaving her there. We did find a beautiful spot to leave her on our second trip. Her 2 daughters my mom and my daughter returned in 2009 and left her ashes near the gothic chapel at Kylemore Abby facing the lake. I could not think of a more beautiful and tranquil place to spend eternity!And I am so sure she is thrilled to be there too! I cannot wait to hear the podcast!

  19. I’d love to have a copy of “Who Do You Think You Are”. I love Megan and it would be very special to have a copy of that book. I feel a bit guilty throwing my hat into the ring because I’m not a beginner – but when do we ever stop learning? We should never stop. Megan is such a special person and I’m sure I’d love reading the book. I feel like it should go to someone who needs it to help them as they’re starting out and learning – but maybe it could also be considered to go to home of someone who may not be a newbie but who would cherish the book. I loved the podcast (as you can tell by my multi postings! lol)

  20. Admitting you have a problem is half the battle – or so they say. There is always another branch of the tree to research and always another story to chase. I’m still thinking about how I can find the stories behind the Brennan family bible and the possible Grimwood shipwreck off Prince Edward Island! More stories waiting for me after I conquer those – or after they conquer me.

  21. What a wonderful website! Listening to Megan, right now and enjoying the podcast.

    I went to Ireland last summer for the first time. Not knowing anymore than what County my Sullivan’s were from I knew that I would not have a chance of finding any information regarding my family so I didn’t spend much time searching. I did go to the Beara Peninsula and met Mr. Rioban O’Dwyer. Unfortunately, he could not find anything on my family. I also went to Macroom where I knew most of the Lucey’s came from (my ggrandmother was a Lucey). Even though I didn’t find any info it was amazing to think I was walking where my ancestors once walked.

    I am hoping to go back to Ireland and spend sometime at the National Archives and hopefully find a hole in my brickwall.

    I haven’t been able to explore all of this site with the holidays and all but I look forward to sitting down in the near future to see what else it has to offer.

  22. Just now got a chance to listen, very informative and a great listen. I look forward to exploring some of the websites listed.

  23. Wow. would love to have a copy of that book. It has been very difficult tracing my roots. I know the first of my family came here from county antrim in 1726. I have been able to trace everything from 1726 to now, but having a heck of time finding anything from Ireland pre 1726.

  24. Corey and Megan, thanks for sharing a great and interesting interview. I’ve just now had a chance to listen, and I’m so glad I did. I’m a Sullivan and thus somewhat daunted by my ancestry – I must have millions of cousins. My husband’s family name is Keon, and they seem to have the opposite problem. I’ve tentatively planned to start delving into our family histories this year, and this podcast was just the right gentle nudge.

  25. I am coming to Ireland in July 2012 and had contacted several Heritage Centers about my Great-Great-Great Grandfather, Patrick Whalen. Nobody seems to know anything and it’s kind of frustrating, because it seems that he almost didn’t exist. I would like to visit the town he was from while I am there and would love to meet some long lost relatives. Is there anybody to contact that can help? I would like to finish putting together the pieces of my puzzle and hopefully have something for my Grandmother.
    Thanks,
    Kelley

    • Roadblocks are common in genealogical research. It’s important to approach it from a different angle and keep digging… don’t give up. I’d suggest contacting Megan Smolenyak directly (or another researcher) and ask what she thinks would be the next step. (http://www.honoringourancestors.com/contact.html)

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