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Addressing Mental Health in Family History

It’s Mental Health Awareness week in Ireland. Prompted by my recent review of a book about Grangegorman Mental Hospital, I’ve been re-reading my great-grandmother’s medical file. Mary Bradley, née Lawless, spent the last 10 years of her life at the hospital following suicidal thoughts. She had been widowed young in her 50s with 4 children.…

Guinness is Good for You

For St. Patrick’s Day 2024, I’m taking a look at a new collection on Ancestry of Guinness records. Guinness, in case you didn’t know, is one of Ireland’s most famous exports. The Guinness Store House is a top tourist attraction in Dublin. I actually don’t much like the black stuff, but I do recognise the…

Illegal adoptions

If you’ve lived in Ireland in the past 25 years, you can hardly be unaware of various historical scandals that rocked the country. These included, but were not limited to, industrial school abuse, Magdalene laundries, Mother and Baby homes and illegal adoptions. A couple of years ago, I helped a man called Denis O Sullivan,…

Christmas 2023

And so we reach the end of another great year in genealogy. Prompted by a recent discussion, I’ve been looking at the Old Age Pension search forms. This collection is held by the National Archives of Ireland. If you’re not familiar with this small record set, let me enlighten you. In 1908, Ireland was still…

Irish Wakes

It is often said that the Irish “do death well”. It is quite normal for people who never met the deceased to attend their funeral because they are a co-worker of a bereaved person. As I’ve been researching and revising death & burial recently for the International Institute of Genealogical Studies, I wrote some material…