Genealogy and Ireland – one fan’s experience


Kim for Dublin 2019!

Many of our US supporters can trace their roots to, or have relatives and family members who are of Irish descent. The connection is so prevalent that the Dublin 2019 Bid have contacted a genealogist who can help supporters do this. (You can read more about doing this here). Kim Burkhardt contacted us a while ago to discuss her own experience when trying to find her ancestors. It’s a fascinating story that lead to the first family reunion for 34 years!

Kim Burkhardt’s experience with Irish genealogy:

I am of Irish descent and live in North America.

My great grandfather emigrated to North America from County Wicklow in 1907. Eight of his nine surviving siblings and his parents followed over the next several years. I started rooting around online for info about his parents in the fall of 2013. I was to eventually discover that 2013 was the centenary of when his parents emigrated with the five youngest of his siblings (the last of the family to emigrate).

I was mostly getting nowhere in my genealogical research in the fall of 2013, but did “piece together” the following:

1) I found his mother’s maiden name.

2) Based on 1901 and 1911 census data that reported age and place of birth, I calculated that his mother was born in County Sligo in approximately 1865. However, the County Sligo genealogy office could find no birth record for her in the years near 1865.

3) I tracked down that she and her husband (my great-great-grandfather) married in Dublin in Sept 1882. I couldn’t find their marriage record online.

I did discover that there are “professional genealogy researchers” in Ireland who will go to Irish records offices for a fee to search for genealogy records. So, I paid one of these paid researchers to go to the Dublin records office in January, 2014. She found my great-great-grandparents marriage record, photocopied it, and sent it to me via email. The information proved absolutely invaluable.

The information included my great-great-grandmother’s father’s name and his profession. That day, I did a Google search for his “name and profession.” Through that search, I was fortunate to find an online genealogy post by one of his descendants living in Dun Laoghaire (South Dublin). I contacted that descendant. That descendant turned out to be my great-great grandmother’s younger brother’s grandson. Turned out that this descendant has been doing family research for 20 years. He had much info to share.

I then organized all that info provided by the relative in Dun Laoghaire into book format AND tracked down ALL of my great- great-grandparents direct descendants (more than 95% of them, anyway).

Six months after contacting the relative in Dun Laoghaire, we published a full-blown genealogy book with a list of our ancestors going back several generations in Ireland, a broad collection of family stories about family life in Ireland, old family letters and family photographs submitted by a good many descendants, a nearly-100% complete list of my gggrandparents descendants (nearly 300 people!), etc. In the end, 50 copies of the genealogy book were printed for private distribution to family members. More copies were distributed via DVD. “What’s more, the printing of the book resulted in the first family reunion in 34 years.

Myself and my relative in Dun Laoghaire are now writing the biography of my great-great-grandmother born in Sligo. We were able to piece together her exact date of birth in Sligo and have much other data about her, based on research and info shared by descendants. We plan to have the book published. She even has her own Facebook page (Harriet Susannah Ellis).”