Tips on genealogy session at ICC June 25

The Friends of Irish Research will present The School of Irish Genealogy at
the Irish Cultural Centre on June 25 at 1 p.m. Richard Reid will discuss advanced methods on the genealogy search tool FamilySearch, and Robert Murphy will talk about dual citizenship.

Users generally only need some basic information to get started on FamilySearch, such as parents’ and grandparents’ names, county or town locations, and partish names if known, says Reid.

Primary sources like newspapers have also been digitized and made available on FamilySearch, he says, so users can better understand their ancestors’ lives in historical context.

FamilySearch is particularly useful to those hoping to obtain dual Irish-American citizenship, because it provides access to the documents they need, like birth and marriage certificates, to present to the consulate. Before digitization, these documents may have been impossible to retrieve. Or, a person may not have known they existed at all.

For those hoping to claim dual status, Robert Murphy will be speaking on how to go about it, guiding attendees through the steps and providing insight into various idiosyncrasies they may encounter when dealing with the Irish government.

Murphy was born in Massachusetts but was able to become an Irish citizen because his grandfather was born in Innishannon, Co. Cork. To gain citizenship, a candidate must have a parent or grandparent who was born in Ireland. He or she will need a grandparent’s birth and baptism certificates, parents’ birth certificates and marriage certificate, and his or own birth certificate. Each document is necessary in order to trace the candidate’s history back to the parent or grandparent.

These all must be original documents, so while programs like FamilySearch can confirm their existence, the person still has to send away for the original, physical documents.

While citizenship does provide tangible benefits like voting rights,retirement options, and work and educational opportunities, Murphy has found that many who pursue it are looking for more than just faster airport queues. An Irish passport can represent a familial connection and patriotism that people have felt for a long time.

In Murphy’s experience, the Irish welcome his and other Americans’ efforts to become citizens, and appreciate that they want to claim the culture not just as their father’s or grandfather’s, but as their own.

The application could be considered an act of mending ties, he said.

“I’ve never met or heard of anyone who left Ireland because they wanted to,” he said. “Those people in the 19th century didn’t leave on their own accord. They were forced out. And the Irish have a very deep conscience. They like to right what they consider to be wrongs.”

For many, in other words, it’s not so much obtaining citizenship as regaining it.

Prior registration is preferred to guarantee that attendees will receive all necessary materials. Those interested can register by emailing