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  • Familia1997article
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Irish Genealogical Research: Not Always at the Bottom of the Pile

by Familia Ulster Genealogical Review: No. 13, 1997


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by Brian Trainor

"I was honoured to have been invited to give the annual Meredith Colket memorial lecture in 1997. Meredith was an archivist and his approach to genealogy was very much that of an archivist eager to encourage researchers to use the full range of documentary resources available for research. This is essentially my own position and I could identify with him more fully than with any other member of the genealogical establishment that I have encountered.

I spent most of my working life in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, just as Meredith did in the National Archives in Washington. For the last 17 years of my time in PRONI, 1970-87, I was Director of the institution and as such responsible for managing the affairs of the Ulster Historical Foundation, a non-profit making organisation managed by a Board of Trustees which was established by the former government of Northern Ireland back in 1956 to provide a family history research service on a fee-paying basis.

I thought I would use the occasion of this memorial lecture to Meredith, who led the first research tour to Ireland of a North American Genealogical Society, to dispel the view held by some that family history research in Ireland is virtually impossible. I will review the situation and note some little-known sources which are available."

In this article, the author seeks to dispel the view that Irish genealogical research is virtually impossible, by noting little-known sources of information.