Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Irish Eyes Are Smiling

It’s a great month to be Irish! Find My Past has announced the release of their online index to digital Catholic Parish Registers held by the National Library in Dublin.

A few months ago, I would have shrugged my shoulders and sighed, “Oh well.” That’s because a few months ago I was not able to picture my great-grandmother Mary Theresa Sheehan Killeen Walsh anywhere but in New York and Portsmouth, Virginia. Conflicting dates of arrival from Ireland as reported in census records plus the little known information about her sisters and brothers plus the sheer number of Mary Sheehans immigrating to America made any hope of pushing back a generation almost futile.

A few months ago I didn’t have Mary Theresa’s scrapbooks filled with greeting cards, cards with NAMES in them, names that have been teasing me with the thought that just maybe I will be able to learn more about the woman who helped raise my father.

A few months ago I would not have had the nerve to ask Dara of Black Raven Genealogy for help with my Irish ancestors. I thought I asked a simple question: What sources are available? Dara asked me to send her what I knew and she would compile a list. But she did more than that: she sent me my family.

Until March 8, access to 40 million names in over 1000 parishes – over 110 million Irish records – will be available free at Find MyPast. I am eager to add to what I have been able to learn already, thanks to Dara.

This month Jollett Etc will go green – Irish green, that is – as I share my discoveries about the Sheehans who came to America and those that remained behind in Ireland.

from Mary Theresa's daughter Cat

© 2016, Wendy Mathias.  All rights reserved.


  1. I will look forward to your new "series"!

  2. That seems like a great find! Looking forward to what you share!


  3. How wonderful, you must be over the moon to find this new source and trace more family.

  4. Sounds like a lot of fun! This is one beautiful card!

  5. Looking forward to hearing more about the Sheehans and seeing the excerpts from your scrapbook. I'm loving the newly released church records on FMP :-)

  6. This is very, very cool. Can't wait to read more!