In August 2013 the magazine asked our own Fiona Fitzsimons to author a regular column on family history, which she has been doing ever since. Fiona has taken a different tack to the topic from what you are likely to read elsewhere. Her starting premise is to inform the curious about the wealth of historic records that survive that can be used for genealogical research, many of which will be unknown or poorly understood. Her aim is to show that these records are not difficult to use, and they are much more accessible than you might think.
Her column has dealt with records from the 15th to the 20th centuries, from Fiants and Inquisitions post mortems to records of children in care and Adoption. She has also written at length about the records of the great institutions in Irish history, like the Poor Law Unions with their workhouses, hospitals and relief programmes. Or the records that survive for the large numbers of Irish involved in WW1 and the War of Independence. An important focus for Fiona are some very large collections which are sadly under-utilised and misunderstood, like the Valuation Office field, house, tenure and other books from the 1830s to 60s, the enormous Land Commission archive, and the hugely important Quit Rent office manuscripts.
As she stated in her first article “The key to successful research is a rigorous knowledge of the primary sources” which she has provided with her series. They are an essential resource for those engaged in family history, so another excellent reason to take out a subscription to,History Ireland.