Behind the Scenes: Sometimes We Find Nothing – But Not Because Nothing Can Be Found.

Thankfully it does not occur too often, but every once in a while, we genealogists at the Irish Family History Centre (Dublin) just cannot find anything new for a client who comes to visit us. And there can be many reasons for this. This story is one of those reasons.

A very beautiful young Scottish lady and her Dutch boyfriend arrived in late one afternoon in early April. She wanted to know more about her father’s side, but, for various reasons, had very little information.

We started with her own father. He was born in 1937 in Dublin North. But she didn’t have his birth details and we could not access them online – she would have to get the cert from the General register Office (GRO) in Dublin.  She did not know for sure his father’s name (i.e. her grandfather) and did not know, except for a nickname, who he married. The marriage would be in Dublin, but was not online either: another GRO request would be necessary. Her grandfather was born in Belfast pre-1922, so should be on an Irish census. But we did not know his real name, so could not search that.

So very quickly we were stuck and stymied. None of the records we needed to prove connections back to a time when records are widely available in the Republic of Ireland were immediately to hand.

However, we had done now was establish a plan of action. Get the birth certificate for the client’s own father (and his siblings for added evidence) in Dublin; find the marriage certificate for her grandfather in Dublin; find the birth certificate for her grandfather in Belfast, and once all that had been gathered then that would lead us to the wealth of early 20thC and all 19thC records for the family.

So, although I found nothing for the client, I gave her the ‘key’ that would open the portal doors to many other records. Exciting times ahead for her.

Patrick Roycroft
Patrick Roycroft










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