I made it! My fight out of Tampa yesterday was delayed for 2 1/2 hours but I still had enough time to make my connection to Aer Lingus in New York. I arrived in Dublin a bit after 9 a.m. this morning. It rained earlier, but by the time I had cleared immigration and collected by luggage it was sunny and in the 70s. I had some Euros from my previous trips, but I stopped at the ATM machine (just to the right after coming out of customs) to get some additional cash. I took the Air Link bus into Dublin (€6) but when I arrived at my hotel, I found my room wouldn't be ready until 3 p.m. That's not unusual, and as much as I wanted a few hours sleep, I checked my luggage and headed to the General Register Office for my (daily) five civil registration certificates.
I've written many times about the issues at the GRO. Although the office has moved since my first visit 20 years ago, their policies have not changed. You can only obtain five certificates each day, even if they're not busy. If you're going to be visiting Ireland (there's still room for a few more people in October) you should do your homework using the FamilySearch Irish Civil Registration Indexes to make a list of the certificates you need. I did that before I left, so each day I'll stop at the GRO to get my 5 certificates. So how did I make out today? (You never know if you have the correct certificate until you pay your money and look at the certificates.) Two certificates were the ones I'd hoped for. My previous search for Henry Mackey's marriage and death had focused on Ballyshannon and Belfast where he appeared in the 1901 and 1911 censuses. I expanded my search and found the records in Dublin South…in both cases his known address in Belfast was noted on the certificates. His occupation was laborer, he worked in the ship yards in Belfast and I wonder what took him to Dublin. Sometimes records appear where you don't expect them.
The other three were a mixed bag. The marriage certificate for Isabella Mackey was not from my family. The father of this Isabella was John (not James) and one of the witnesses was an Alice Mackey (not anyone I've identified). I have not been able to find a marriage or death for this Isabella, born 3 Nov 1869. Although the family was from the registration district of Ballyshannon, I've expanded my search. This marriage took place in Belfast, where I know other family members had moved. So one of my requests for tomorrow with be for another Isabella Mackey married in Belfast in 1903…if that's wrong, I've got one more Isabella married in Belfast in 1907. So each evening, it's evaluate and revise the list.
I'm trying to find siblings of my James Mackey/Mackay (whose father was Mathew), and because the family was Protestant, the marriage records begin in 1845. I'm looking at marriage certificates for Mackeys in the surrounding registration districts since they provide the father's name. The father of the Elizabeth Mackey that was married in Carrick-on-Shannon in 1856 was William. Not what I was hoping for, but perhaps I'll be able to connect this family in the future.
The last certificate was interesting. I have found duplicate certificates in the LDS index. If you find two individuals by the same name in the same year and quarter, you compare the volume and page number to see if they are duplicates. On my last trip I had obtained a marriage certificate for Eliza Mackey married in Ballyshannon in 1856…her father was James (unfortunately there are multiple James in the area). There was a second entry for an Elizaeth Mackey, also in 1856, and when I checked the volume and page number they were different, so that was my fifth certificate. It is the same person and there were clearly two registrations done. The handwriting is different; the bride is listed as Eliza in one record and Elizabeth in the other; one was done in the Registrar's Office in Ballyshannon on 4 January 1856 with one set of witnesses and the other was done in the Parish Church of Rossinver on 17 January 1856 with different witnesses. In both cases the groom was John Melia (an unusual name) with the father's listed as John (Melia) and James (Mackey). The residence at the time of marriage was listed as Kinlough for both on one and Cloone for both on the other. This is just another example of the issues we face when trying to determine the townland of our ancestors…these two locations are only about 2 miles apart.
So, after I obtained my certificates, I had lunch (no breakfast on the plane) and headed back to my hotel for a two hour nap. I flipped on the TV this evening and The Genealogy Roadshow was on. This program has "regular" people bring in documents or stories and professional genealogists (like John Grenham) try to verify the information. Like Who Do You Think You Are, there's not a lot of "meat" to the stories with limited details on how the records were found.
There were a few sprinkles today, but not enough to bring out the umbrella. The forecast for tomorrow is for rain and cooler, so we'll see what happens.