I was doing a consultancy session with a client in New York last week which her husband had bought her for her birthday. Although I was very pleased how the session went, when I reflected on the topics and issues we covered, I realised that trying to find the right records and interpret them correctly is difficult for all family historians, no matter how much experience you have.
We did a lot of work on baptism records which are really hard to locate and the dates that the records are available to and from vary widely across the country. Some parishes have records for baptisms for the late 1700s and some only have them from late 18000s. It is so disappointing when searching for your ancestor when you come across missing records, lost records or records that just don’t exist. If you do find a record, it can be very difficult to be 100% sure the record you are looking at is your ancestor due to insufficient information and illegible information in English or Latin.
It is so frustrating but you cannot ‘adopt’ this person unless you are 100% sure. There are so many family trees that are wrong due to adding records because people are ‘nearly sure it’s them’. Definitely flag the record, save it or print it out just in case more evidence comes to light at a future date. When I meet people at various genealogy events, 90% of the time the first question they ask is ‘how far can you go back in your family history’. I find this question irks me somewhat. This is not what researching your family history is about. It is not a competition. You don’t get an A grade just because you can go back to the 1700s. It’s about discovering good quality information about Your Irish Family History to help tell the story of your ancestors.
So when you are doing your research, be diligent with it and remember….
It is not a sprint, it is more of an endurance race.
If you want to find out more about baptism records, you can take my online course ‘Making Sense of Birth Records’ HERE
Happy hunting… Sandra