Monday, August 10, 2009

John Grenham's Irish Lectures

As John Reid noted in his blog <>, it was a sellout crowd at Ben Franklin Place in Ottawa to hear John Grenham speak on Irish records. He is a well-known genealogist in Ireland, and is the author of books and of the website, <>.

I always try to come away with one piece of information, and I hit the jackpot again yesterday.

My husband is a French-Canadian from Quebec, and his great-great-grandfather married an Irish girl—Sarah Conroy—whose father was a major in the British Army in Quebec City.

Why was he there, I wondered at the time. And why did he send for his family from Ireland? It didn't make sense to me -

This had only become apparent to me in May while we were up to Quebec City on a visit, and my husband's aunt showed me a family chart she had had done by a fellow in Montreal not that long ago.

And when I checked <> after getting back home, there was the marriage record of where they had been married, and that she was the daughter of a Major Conroy from Ireland.

The reason—as I learned yesterday—was that the British Army at that time was made up of Irish to a large degree - fully one-third of them were Irish!

So I got that question answered!

I also learned that there aren't many records intact back beyond 1922 because the storeroom of the archives building (the Four Corners Complex in Dublin) had been overtaken by rebels and eventually blown up, and not one piece of paper had been saved. (Papers in use in the Reading Room were saved, however.)

If you get a chance to hear him talk, and you do have Irish in your ancestry, please take a minute to listen, because he gives very good lectures, and the questions asked by the audience were fabulous.