A few weeks back, I sent a Letter from Ireland out to all of our subscribers around the word and asked “Which of these do you want more than anything?” I then gave a list of hopes, wishes and dreams that our readers have been sending to me over the last two years.
As I said in the Letter:
“One of the benefits of my “job” is that I get so many interesting stories, pictures and weather reports (!) from all around the world every week. Butyou see, I am a bit slow. It took me a while to realise something. It took me a while to realise what our readers of Irish ancestry wanted more than anything.
Maybe this will be true for you also?”
I then listed out the six categories of wish – from the simple to the difficult, from the factual to the emotional – and asked people to reply to me with their own answers.
And reply to me they did! In the hundreds.
But, before I share some of those replies, it might be useful to go through the six categories of Irish Ancestry wishes, hopes and dreams. They were:
Any of these on your “list”?
The answers were very straight-forward in terms of simple numbers. Most of our (highly educated) Letter readers already knew the following:
About 50% of our readers still had holes in their family tree – paperwork and brickwalls. So they:
The winners by a big margin were the following questions – the questions that OVER 90% of all our readers would love to know an answer to:
Many of the replies I received then explained a lot more to go along with those answers. So, for the rest of this post, I’m going to let those heartfelt words speak for themselves. Be sure and add your own comments and answers at the end of this post!
“What would I like most? I would like to know specifically where my ancestors from Ireland lived. To be able to see the village or neighborhood, to know the churches where they were married and baptized. I would LOVE to actually meet an Irish relative, but not much chance I will ever be able to travel to Ireland from the States. Still, wonderful if I could email with family…”
Meg shared her answers, and then fired a question back at me:
“I keep saying “as soon as I make a connection I’ll get to Ireland one way or another.”
Sherry gave us:
“I could answer yes to all these questions! But of all these, I would love to know if I’ve any kin folks still alive in Ireland, I would absolutely love to meet them! One of my dreams is to do so. See where they live, walk the path my ancestors has walked. Learn all I can about them, and know I have loved ones there and keep in touch with them. Have them to come see me here. This is my number one dream. Thank you for listening to my dreams.”
As for Evelyn:
“The only thing pulling at my heart strings was knowing that I do have relatives in Ireland … somewhere … but not knowing who and where they are. We plan to return to Ireland in 2016, and I hope to be able to find my Irish family before we visit. Meeting them would be the most wonderful dream come true.”
“Mike, I would like to find out which town my closest ancestor was raised in, where the homestead was and to find out if there are any distant relatives still living in Ireland. That would be the ultimate discovery for either my husband or myself. To walk where they walked and see what they saw would be amazing!”
Brigid voiced a frustration that many have:
“I am most interested in # 3 and #4. I wish Irish records were better on the Ancestry.com website. Good luck with all your travels in Ireland.”
Mary gave us:
“That’s an easy answer for me! #5 and #6…I would love to walk through the old homestead, if it still exists; but even more than that I’d love to know if I have any living relatives in Ireland and be able to connect with them. Although there are loads of Foleys (in County Waterford particularly), our particular “brick wall” seems to spring up when trying to determine if any of “our” Foley family remained in Ireland long enough to have children and grandchildren who might still reside there. ‘Twould be a dream come true to be able to get an answer to that question!”
And I could fill this page up with answers that would keep you here for some time.
I guess this has been a learning exercise for Carina and myself – we take so much for granted as we live in Ireland. But, the message came through loud and clear from all of our wonderful readers. From now on, our focus is to help you bring your Irish Ancestry to life – be here on the blog, over in the Green Room or in the weekly letter from Ireland!
What about you? What are your answers to these questions?
Slán for now, Mike.
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