The Irish Family History Centre (IFHC) has officially launched its new, innovative, genealogy service by which anyone across the globe who needs personal help in tracing their Irish family history and genealogy can now do so. This new service allows the public to take a personal genealogy consultation from anywhere in the world with one of the centre’s four genealogical experts: Maura Flood, Noel Jenkins, Declan Brady, Patrick Roycroft. The media options for taking a consultation are either via Google Hangouts or Skype, whichever one prefers.
The very first person to avail of the IFHC’s new service was a lady from Canada, Patricia (‘Trish’) Potter, who needed help in preparing for a planned family history visit to Ireland soon after. That first consultation took place 16:00 (Irish time) on Wednesday 4 July 2018 with Patrick Roycroft doing the genealogical honours.
Trish was so pleased that she booked a second online consultation, this time getting Declan Brady. Trish then booked a third consultation for 20 July, but now to be taken in person at the IFHC itself (in the CHQ Building, Dublin) during her visit to Ireland. By pure coincidence, on the day she arrived, Trish once again got Patrick!
And that is when the unique chance to get a photo of Trish and Patrick was taken by Trish’s husband, Gary.
The manager of the IFHC, Fiona O’Mahony, got the reaction of Trish Potter to having that first online consultation (reproduced below with permission).
Fiona O’Mahony: How did you hear about the Irish Family History Centre’s online consultation service?
Trish Potter: My uncle’s wife had reached various dead ends and realised she needed help. It was her who initially talked about the IFHC. I actually found the IFHC through ‘EPIC: The Irish Emigration Museum’ and discovered, to my joy, that I could do a consultation online. I live in Canada and was going to go to Ireland on a genealogy holiday visit. It seemed obvious that doing an online consultation was what was needed. I was over the moon!
Fiona: How was your online experience?
Trish: Very easy. Talking to Patrick [Roycroft] was like talking to an old friend. Declan [Brady], with whom I did a second follow-up consultation, was very good too.
Fiona: Was the time difference between Canada and Ireland a problem?
Trish: The time difference was fine for me but for others it might be tricky because it would depend on where you are dialling from. But it was all very easy … despite a tiny bit of trouble initially getting the Google Hangouts link established.
Fiona: Was your online consultation a useful pre-requisite to your planned visit to Ireland?
Trish: I had done lots of research, but the online consultation was really very useful before taking my trip to Ireland because I wouldn’t have known where to specifically look otherwise. It was very beneficial. I would judge that for most people, a minimum of an hour’s consultation would be needed.
From a tourist’s point of view, scheduling one’s activities on a holiday is very important – the consultation was a real help from that perspective. It prevented me from wasting precious time during my planned visit to Ireland.
Fiona: How would you sum up your experience at having had not one but two IFHC online consultations, including being our very first customer?
Trish: I needed an expert to help; having an online consultation – in the comfort of my home in Canada – proved really useful. Especially for help with specific information. For example, I would not have been able to properly interpret a Griffith’s Valuation record without help. Having an expert there saved me a huge amount of difficulty and got me to where I needed far quicker than I could have done myself. Totally recommended!