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Ancestor Search

Washington DC...
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Ancestor Search

Could anyone tell me where I should start searching for grandmother? She was in the USA in 1900, but I don't know how she got here. She was born in Ireland on St. Patrick's Day in 1880. She spoke of Cork, but didn't speak English at first. Any help would be appreciated. I'm planning a trip to Ireland next year as a surprise for my husband. It could be grand if I could introduce him to some local relatives while we're there.

Dublin, Ireland
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1. Re: Ancestor Search

As your grandmother was in the US in 1900 she will not appear on the 1901 Census in Ireland which is available online. However, if you know the name of her parents you may be able to find them, especially if their name is a bit unusual. It seems as if she spoke Irish and so came from an Irish speaking area (the Gaeltacht).

If you know her year of birth, try searching on familysearch.org for the entry on the index of births. If you locate the right entry, you will have to visit the General Registration Office in Ireland to get full details of the birth.

You could also try searching irishgeneaology.ie for the entry on the baptismal register (only available for part of the country).

Basically, it is difficult to get started without some knowledge of the area she was born in.

Ventry, Ireland
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for Dingle Peninsula
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2. Re: Ancestor Search

If she was from Cork and had Irish as her first language, chances are that she was from West Cork from between Macroom and the Kerry border,

Dublin
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3. Re: Ancestor Search

Do as much research as possible online in advance of travelling - there's no point in spending you time in Ireland sitting at a PC doing research which could be done in advance.

There are many genealogical website which hold records for Cork and also give advice on how to search for records. In addition to the site mentioned by dub24046, you could also check out www.genealogy.com, https://familysearch.org and www.rootsireland.ie.

Saginaw, Michigan
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for Western Ireland
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4. Re: Ancestor Search

Somebody here might be of assistance, if only to direct you appropriately:

http://tinyurl.com/3qyd7kh

http://www.mallowheritagecentre.com/

http://www.westcorkgenealogy.com/

I agree with Domhnall's recommendation to do as much research as possible, in advance of any visit to Ireland.

Edited: 31 May 2012, 01:12
Cork, Ireland
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for Cork
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5. Re: Ancestor Search

By 1880, the Irish language was already massively weakened in Cork., so that really should narrow it down a lot.

Currently, there are two distinct Gaeltacht areas in Cork, Muskerry and Clear Island.

Back then, you could probably extend to Carriganimmy (on the northern edge of the Muskerry Gaeltacht, Carrignavar (just north of Cork City), Knockadoon (not far from Youghal in East Cork) and some of the remote parts of Beara.

However, those areas were already in the process of anglicisation in that era and I would be surprised if someone who grew up in them at that time could speak no English.

Just to throw the cat among the pigeons a bit though, if she emigrated from Ireland prior to 1900, it's very likely that she left from Cobh and her mentions of Cork may have been associated with her departure point.

Are you wiling to giver her surname on here? Irish surnames can be very location specific, so that could give a big clue as to where she was from.

Edited: 31 May 2012, 09:46
Washington DC...
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6. Re: Ancestor Search

Thank you all for your responses. I don't mind providing her surname - it was Dempsey. One US Census has her immigrating in 1895. A later US Census has her immigrating in 1900. I don't know which is correct. Both list her birthplace as Irish Free State in 1880. She may have come through Cobh but I can't find a record of her in either year. The only other pieces of information I have is that she was RC and had a brother, already in the USA since 1861. Can't find his immigration either. He was 11 years older than her, so I'm guessing there must have been more children in between.

Saginaw, Michigan
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for Western Ireland
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7. Re: Ancestor Search

Probably of no practical help, but, a snapshot of the distribution throughout Ireland of people named Dempsey, who owned land or other property in the mid 1840s:

irishtimes.com/ancestor/surname/index.cfm…

If the above link doesn't hold, fill in Dempsey here:

http://www.irishtimes.com/ancestor/

Merced, California
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for Killarney
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8. Re: Ancestor Search

You may wish to check the years 1879 and 1899 as some ships took a long time to reach the US and may have begun the journey the previous year.

Huntsville, Alabama
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9. Re: Ancestor Search

Not sure if you have checked the Ellis Island records yet but I found my grandfather's record (with his mother) for 1914. If you go to their website (http://www.ellisisland.org/) you can type in the name and then put in a year of birth and then gender, hopefully you will have a few 'hits' to review and one will be her! It was so thrilling to see that part of my family's history!

Cavan
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for County Cavan
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10. Re: Ancestor Search

As above I would thoroughly recommend you visit the Ellis Island website, perhaps your mother travelled with other family members.

The Irish Free State is a generic term, particularly as the Free Staste didn't officially come into existence until 1922. Prior to this time Ireland was not partitioned and came under British administration.

Also as mentioned above if you think that your grandmother came from Co. Cork it is very possible that she left behind other siblings, cousins etc, which you could pick up on the 1901/1911 Irish Census: www.census.nationalarchives.ie

Get answers to your questions about County Cork