I found a baptismal entry on RootsIreland for County Wicklow which I thought was for my client’s ancestor. The clincher was the ancestor’s sister was not listed in the family. Was this really the ancestor? The name was uncommon enough that the Wicklow entry was certainly reasonable. However, I also knew church registers can be incomplete.
Creating Your Own Research Strategy on the Spot
I had to formulate an immigrant strategy right on the spot to address this situation. What I came up with was to trace out the two Irish men who acted as godparents at the baptisms of the immigrant’s children in Quebec. I couldn’t find one, but I did find the other and traced out his family.
At this point, I took all the Irish godparents to the original godparent’s children and assumed they may have been connected to my client’s ancestor in Ireland. Could I have been wrong? Of course. Yet, this is how you create your own research strategies, tailored to a particular problem If you find your wrong, you simply move on!
One Step Further Removed but Still Within the Targeted Strategy
Once I translated the Catholic parish in County Wicklow into the corresponding civil parish, I could then utilize the Griffith’s Primary Valuation (1847-64) database online at AskAboutIreland (there are others). I found my client’s surname was indeed rare and was from across the border in County Wexford. However, for the Wicklow research, I found the surnames of both godparents which I had identified in the Quebec Catholic registers. Did this prove my case? No, but it added more evidence, especially since some of the surnames acting as godparents for the godparent’s children were also found in that Wicklow parish.
Now with this knowledge, I have a good possibility and I can go back into the Quebec records and see if I can continue to match up findings there with that specific parish in County Wicklow. I now have a target family which could be the one I’m looking for and I can see what happened to them.
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