Saturday, March 05, 2016

Free Family Searches with Ancestry #302 is offering free access to all their Irish records for the month of March. However, since I had registered for a free trial several years ago I could not take up this offer - but I decided to sign up anyway and pay the annual fee. Like a lot of people, I am interested in finding out more about my family, and Ancestry seems to have great access to a lot of records. There are no non-Irish ancestors in my family (that I know of) going back several generations, so Irish stuff is of the most interest to me. 

The first thing I did was to transfer my family tree from to This is easily done by saving your tree as a GEDCOM file in one site and importing it to the other. While this worked very well, it did not bring over any photographs. The Search tool is great - within minutes I was able to find both my mother and father's birth registration in the "Ireland, Civil Registration Births Index, 1864-1958" - though the original documents were not available. As this ends in 1958, I can't find my own birth registration in 1959.

My Mum's Birth Registration (screen grab from
Image source: The 18th Century Headstones of Denis Cullen.
(Link only - no permission to reproduce).
I had a great chat with my Mum today talking about her family - particularly on her Mum's side. My grandmother, Kathleen Cullen, was related to Admiral William Browne, Bishop Browne of Killala, and the actor Dónal McCann. We don't know what these connections are, so it might be a nice project for me to work these out. Mum also told me about one of her ancestors, Denis Cullen, who was a well-known stonemason in Wicklow and Wexford. His name is on several headstones in the region as the stonemason who created these grave markers. We may not be able to link this Denis Cullen, whose work work spans the 1750s to about 1790,  to my family tree. The nearest connection I have is to my great-great-grandfather Richard Cullen who died in 1903. He was from Glendalough and was a master plasterer. He was married to Julia Browne (his 2nd wife) - this is the possible connection to Admiral Browne, the founder of the Argentine navy.

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