Finding Family – One Woman’s Story

In 2018, we were approached by a lovely young American lady who was seeking to know the Birth Date of her Great Grandfather, the man who is responsible for her Irish Heritage. He had gone to America at a young age, settled and had his family but never forgot his roots. This is evidenced by the strong sense of Irish pride in his Great-Grandaughter, the lovely Jeannie.

After Jeannie’s attempts, without luck, to locate a Birth Registration for him, we were delighted to assist her on what can only be described as a quest of the heart. She felt it was important to honour her Great-Grandfather, Michael, by erecting a headstone in his name. His grave had not had a gravestone because nobody knew his Date of Birth and critical information. Without that, it would have felt incomplete.

After much searching we did manage to uncover his Birth Certificate and the answer to why it could not be found became plainly obvious…
When Michael was born, Births were verbally reported for Registration by either a parent or local midwife. Often, the spelling of a name was open to interpretation and because of this, errors were made. We found him registered under a different spelling which was similarly pronounced to his own name. An ecstatic Jeannie called me from the States to share her relief that it had finally been located, she was at last able to lay a gravestone over Michael’s place of rest. We sent the Certificate of his Birth out to her that day and the gravestone was laid!

The story only began there, through the details supplied on the Certificate, she was able to connect to extended family, distant Irish cousins who still live in the area Michael came from. 2018 saw a new chapter begin for Jeannie, new relationships were formed and she came to spend time with her new family in Co. Cork, she has finally succeeded in validating Michael’s journey through life and her associations with Ireland. She has completed the circle on his behalf, returning to Ireland for him and forming links with the wider family. We Irish are a resilient and stubborn race of people, when we decide that something should be done, we make sure it gets done!

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, I send our regards to Jeannie, to the extended family and to all our friends of Irish Descent around the World. Beannacht Dé Díobh ☘️☘️☘️ (Photo taken by Jeannie at Michael’s Graveside)


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