Letter Archive

Welcome to the letter archive page for the weekly "Letter from Ireland". We started to write these letters in 2013 covering Irish Genealogy & Family History, Irish Surnames, Irish Culture & Customs and Ireland Travel, here you'll find a link to all of them.

 

Browse the letters listed on this page and jump to one that interests you, or enter a placename, surname or other item in the search box below to see related letters.

All of our weekly letters to date

An Irish Bog Story for You.

Many of our Irish ancestors would spend days on the “bog” in their parish – digging peat (we call it turf in Ireland) with a special shovel called a “slean” and then setting it out in low piles to dry on the surface for a few weeks. Days in the bog were filled with hard…

Irish American Genealogy – Tips from a US Genealogist

In 2018, we travelled to the north-east of the US where we were invited to speak at a combined NEHGS/TIARA conference in Boston. Our host was Pam Holland, a US-based genealogist and vice president of TIARA at the time (The Irish Ancestral Research Association). She was also a very helpful member in our Green Room. While…

Patrick Cleburne – From Cork to The Battle of Franklin

Have you ever walked into an old house and immediately felt a sense of history between those four walls? Today’s letter is all about a house located ten miles from us here in county Cork and the man who was born in one of its bedrooms almost 200 years ago.   Patrick Cleburne is born in…

Is It Time To Start Your Irish Fan Club?

People join us in the Green Room with the aim of breaking down brick walls in their Irish family tree – while having a lot of fun alongside people with a similar goal. One piece of advice I hear our genealogists give constantly is to “go wide” rather than “go deep”.  They mean that when…

Famine Memorial Sydney

Do You Have Irish Famine Orphans in Your Family Tree?

When the Irish famine came to an end in the late 1840s, the workhouses were full to overflowing with those who were destitute, sick and unable to work. Over 4,000 orphan girls were removed from these workhouses and sent to the Australian colonies where they were to become domestic servants and wives to the many…

St. Brigid of Ireland

Remembering St. Brigid of Ireland.

Given the connection to this celtic festival, it is no coincidence that we celebrate Lá Fhéile Bríde (Law Ail-ah Bree-da) – St. Brigid’s Day – on February 1st in honour of our greatest female saint. St Brigid has a special place in the hearts of the Irish and her story and traditions have passed down…

Irish Church Records: Are You Looking In The Correct Place?

Over in the Green Room, we often ask our members to share the religion that their Irish ancestor practiced. This is a purely practical matter – as once we know the religion we can look at the correct set of Irish church records. A good example of this can be found in this week’s letter.…

Our Irish Christmas Traditions – What are Yours?

Looking back, candles played a big part in my childhood Irish Christmas traditions. Of course we had Father Christmas (“Daidí Na Nollag” – pronounced “dad-ee nah nul-ug”) but the countdown to Christmas was anticipated by the lighting of candles. First up was Advent. You are familiar no doubt with the Advent Calendar (Féilire Aidhbinte” –…

An Irishman and the 99th Regiment of Foot.

It can be quite difficult to track down the origins of an ancestor who left Ireland in the early 1800s. Useful records may be non-existent in parts of the country – and this can lead to a lot of guesswork on your part. Do you know what I mean? This was the problem facing one of our…

County Donegal Ancestry

Looking for County Donegal Ancestry

Today we feature a letter from one of our Green Room members, Marie Irwin, as she chats about the life and times of her family and their origin in the very north part of County Donegal. Marie: Hello Mike, a very warm welcome from sunny North Queensland to you. Mike: Nice to meet you too, Marie. A little…