The actor John Cusack was invited to visit Belfast (Northern Ireland) in early April 2017 to participate in the Belfast Film Festival. Wanting a good reason to interview the actor, Ireland’s national radio and television broadcaster Raidió Teilefis Éireann (RTÉ) encouraged their flagship daily afternoon chat and variety show, called, rather appropriately, The Afternoon Show, to commission from the Irish Family History Centre some genealogical research on Mr Cusack. This time, it was not one of the public faces of the IFHC who did the research but one of the behind-the-scenes members of staff – in this case, Stephen Pierce (IFHC Case Manager).
Stephen beavered away for three full days on John Cusack’s ancestry. At the time of writing, I do not know what he found because the results are still under wraps [though by the time you read this, all will probably have been revealed]. However, the Afternoon Show, as a part of putting together their piece for broadcast, wanted to do some filming of Stephen in the IFHC itself (in the CHQ Building in Dublin). So, on the morning of March 31, Stephen – who does not normally get to make ‘public appearances’– arrived down, and there was a definite air of excitement when the RTÉ film crew itself arrived shortly after. They set themselves up, directed shot angles, and had Stephen talking about Mr Cusack’s ancestors while standing next to one of the IFHC’s large computer screens on which we can display where families of a given name were living in the mid-19th century. The whole process took only 20 minutes. But everyone, Stephen included, left very happy.
With genealogy, one just never knows quite what is going to happen from one day to the next. One of the reasons we love this profession.
By Patrick Roycroft