Store the shamrocks and shillelaghs and get down to real Irish legacy

June 26th, 2015 12:33 am

First Posted: 3/28/2013

Tom Mooney

Out on a Limb

With St. Patrick’s Day over and done with for the year, it’s time to get busy with the real Irish pride – finding ancestors in the old Emerald Isle. Here are some useful websites, the first three courtesy of the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania.

One good site is It’s keyed pretty much to beginners, but more experienced genealogists could find it useful as well. It has pages on finding your ancestors’ home parish as well as emigration data, maps and many other topics.

Another is It has an excellent listing of research sources available in Ireland and numerous other helps.

If you’re trying to find out where in Ireland your ancestors lived, you can look for the same family name in the 1901 and 1911 census records at The site enables you to put in your surname and find out where most people with that surname were living in 1890.

Besides those sites don’t forget the Genweb, which now extends nearly all over the world. Go to and you’ll find a huge site with resources and message boards for every county. Just click on the county you need. The Irish Genweb coordinator, incidentally, is none other than Mary Ann Lubinsky, the coordinator of the Luzerne County Genweb. You’ll find a link to the Northern Ireland Genweb as well.

You should also check, a government-sponsored site that – among other things – lets you search online records.

Genealogical Research Society: Joanne Bogdanovicz will portray 19th-century Scranton Mayor Ezra Ripple when the Genealogical Research Society of Northeastern Pennsylvania opens its 2013 schedule of events next month. The presentation, open to the public, will be at 7 p.m. on April 17 at the society’s headquarters, 1100 Main St., Peckville. The group meets on the third Wednesday of the month, April through October. Reservations are suggested. Call (570) 383-7661.

Research Aids: It’s easier than ever for out-of-town researchers to access materials in the Luzerne County Historical Society’s Bishop Memorial Library. Just go to and look for “Forms and Document Requests.” You can print out the forms and mail them in to order obituaries and various other materials. Fees are listed. You’ll also find a form to take out a membership, a tremendous bargain for anyone who plans on using the library frequently.

Genealogy Seminar: I’ll offer my “Getting Started in Genealogy” program at the West Pittston Library 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on April 13. It’s free, but because of limited seating you have to call and reserve a place. Call (570) 654-9847 and leave a message. The library is at 200 Exeter Ave., West Pittston.

News Notes: If you’re hoping to visit Ellis Island, the famous gateway for immigration in New York Harbor, don’t expect to see it anytime this year. There is no projected reopening date for 2013, the National Park Service told the Associated Press recently. The buildings on the island were inundated by water from Tropical Storm Sandy last year, and restoring them is a time-consuming and expensive project. Meanwhile, the museum’s massive collection of artifacts is being stored offsite.

The search for a site to house Luzerne County’s 200-plus years of records continues. The old juvenile detention center is inadequate for the job, The Times Leader reported recently, because the floors aren’t strong enough to support the weight of records and because “the structure’s choppy, prison-like layout isn’t conducive to a records building or other county uses,” the paper said.