Vacations and Relations


A recent trip down memory lane, literally, with my Dad to the city of Birmingham UK got me thinking of the value of revisiting the past. When I was young I loved the summer. It was when our relatives might arrive on their vacation and call to see us. One particular aunt who lived in England loved taking photos of us and we all had to stand outside with a suitable rural backdrop! I was the eldest of a large family and we grew up in the country so it was exciting to have relatives we didn’t see very often come to visit. This visit would be planned for weeks so the house was painted, best clothes put on and apple tarts made!

My aunt would catch up with my Dad (her brother), ask about other family members and what was happening in our lives. We loved sitting in on the conversations but didn’t really know who they were talking about most of the time.

Now that I’m a genealogist I’d love to have those moments back. Sadly my aunt is no longer alive. My trip to Birmingham though was a chance for my Dad to catch up with his two younger brothers – out of a family of 10 there are just three ‘boys’ and their sister who is over 90, left. We got to talking about family connections and my recent DNA test results. I had found a match to a family that I couldn’t find a link to – one short conversation with Dad and I discovered there was a definite connection to this day. Of course when I got home I was on the trail and quickly unlocked the mystery. Despite the plethora of online databases and resources you can’t beat a conversation with an older family member to bring down that ‘brick wall’ – very apt analogy as my Dad was involved in the construction industry in his younger days!

My Geni Tips

So, what are your plans for Thanksgiving and the Christmas Holidays?

If you are planning to meet up with relatives and want to research your family tree, here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Know what you don’t know!
  • Start with what you know, work back from yourself, your parents, their parents
  • Are there gaps – do you know your grandparents names on both sides? Do you know your grandmothers maiden names?
  • Do you know your parents and grandparents siblings names?
  • Do you know where they were born or lived?
  • Do you know what your father/grandfather’s occupation was?
  • Arrive prepared with your questions but give your relative advanced warning so they too are prepared
  • Have the right setting – not in the middle of a busy coffee shop or wedding venue with loud music!
  • Ask their permission if you plan to record video or audio and let them listen back before you share with others
  • Family stories and anecdotes are embellishments to any record searches you might do and make the whole family history process more personal.

If you would like more tips or individual advice email me at 

 These are just some of my suggestions and tips – I would love to hear your experience of interviewing family members at a get-together!


Website: Hibernia Roots

Facebook:  Hiberniaroots

Instagram:  nhiberniaroots

Twitter: hiberniaroots

My Genealogy Journey

Where it all began

I was bitten by the genealogy bug over 8 years ago. It all started when I wanted to find out more about my husband’s family for our son and then realized I didn’t know where to look beyond family photos. I decided to do a course to learn more and ended up with a professional qualification – Diploma in Family History (Genealogy). I never intended becoming a professional genealogist but a year after I graduated I had a website up and running. That’s how easily you get sucked in! I named it Hibernia Roots as ‘Hibernia’ is the Latin/Roman name for Ireland.

Why I do what I do!

I’ve made some great friends through researching their families – I treat each case as if it was my own family,  and I still get excited when I find a piece of the puzzle. I’m like a dog with a bone, I don’t give up! I love connecting people with their Irish homeplace and have worked for clients all over the world – anywhere there are Irish Diaspora.

I’m passionate about Irish family history and local history and added another qualification string to my bow – a Certificate in Oral History.

As anyone who has started their family research knows, its the stories you’ve heard from older relatives that whets your interest in finding out more so Oral History is just as important – and more interesting than document searching! They complement each other though.

Hiring a genealogist

You might say ‘why do I need to hire a genealogist – a lot of information is online now‘ – but its not as simple as that. You need to know the reliable sources, how many sources are out there, and how to search for and identify the facts. We are all time-poor these days so ‘outsourcing’ your family research makes sense.

If you’d like me to help you find your Irish Roots then get in touch using the links below and we can start the journey together.

Talk soon,


Website: Hibernia Roots

Facebook:  Hiberniaroots

Instagram:  nhiberniaroots

Twitter: hiberniaroots

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