Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Genealogical Atlas of Ireland, Spreadsheets & a Magnifying Glass

Dear Uncle,

It had been my intention a year ago to start on the Irish side of the family. In preparation for what I knew would be walls everywhere I mentioned to my family what I would be very happy to see under the tree.

1. Brian Mitchells: A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland
2. Family Tree Pocket Reference
3. A book of humor regarding digging up the dead folk

My Beloved gave me all three and made me a very happy woman.

Now it's taken me a year and a bit to actually get down to the Irish side. I've played with it a few times.  Just sorting out what I already know, getting the easy online confirmations of what I had written down 15 years ago when I was on my trip up North.  I double checked the Natick database to confirm dates that I had.  I filled in causes of death for the ones I hadn't already. The filler stuff.

Having done that there was my foray into the land of emigration where I shared with you finding William Sr. coming to America.  I guess it was that spark that really got me going.

Now here is something you may not know about me Uncle.  I am a firm believer in there is no such thing as too much information.  Hence the spreadsheets.

I've gone through Griffiths Valuation to find the surnames, the first names,the parishes etc. I've entered them into a spreadsheet. I also photocopied the cover of my atlas and divided it into 4 parts.  My brain likes things organized and this method was the easiest way for me to sort the counties out.

Sections 1 - 4 are the Irish Free States.  Census records have indicated that the ancestors came from Irish Free States.

Section 1: Kerry, Cork, Waterford, Tipperary, Limerick and Clare  (Munster)
Section 2: Kilkenny, Wexford, Carlow, WIcklow, Laios/Leix,Offaly, Kildare, Dublin, Meath, Westmeath, Longford and Louth  (Leinster)

Section 3:  Galway, Mayo, Roscommon, Leitrim, Sligo  (Connaught)

Section 4: Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan   (Ulster)

Section 5 : These would be the "other" Ulster counties. Fermanagh, Tyrone, Armagh, Down, Antrim and Derry

So now I have a huge spread sheet with names of ancestors, having culled the lists to names that I believe are ancestral in nature. A thousand Johns but no Jonathans, Williams, James, you get the idea.
Here are the headings of my spreadsheet:

Surname, First Name, Townland, Parish, Roman Catholic Parish, Diocese, Barony, County and last of all, Section.

Now with most of the information that I have already I can populate the fields with the help of my Genealogical Atlas ( I am currently blessing Mr. Mitchell hourly for this genius of a book.)  If you do not have this in your library ask for it as a gift or get it your self.

I can manipulate the info by sorting it, I have the info by county ( color coded of course), or section or whatever way I want it. And as a result I think I may have found one of the couples I was looking for.

He and she, same section, same county, same Diocese, same parish.  Not the same town but the same Roman Catholic parish. Pretty exciting.

I am holding off getting deeper with these two because I must get the rest of the info into the spreadsheet.  We know what will happen if I go off on another tangent lol.

Then the big map of Ireland will go up on the wall, the timelines will go up, the town historys will be found and accessed, may be even a picture or two that some generous soul has put on the web.

This is getting VERY exciting!  So that's all for now Uncle.  I hope you are getting as excited as I am.  It's The Hunt! The Chase! The Mystery!  Following the clues!

So until the next time,
Your Devoted Niece

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