Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Book Review: "New Pocket Guide to Irish Genealogy" by Brian Mitchell

Brian Mitchell has written a new and updated edition of the standard classic book - New Pocket Guide to Irish Genealogy - for 2020.  The book (122 pages, $25.00) is available to purchase on Genealogical.com - see https://genealogical.com/store/new-pocket-guide-to-irish-genealogy/.

The publicity for this book says:
"Pocket Guide is a bit of misnomer, for in fact this 7″ x 10″ publication is one of the most complete and informative books on genealogical research in Ireland ever written. When Brian Mitchell wrote the original Pocket Guide to Irish Genealogy in 1991, with revisions in 2002 and 2008, access to Irish record sources was through examination of original and microfilm copies of historical sources in record offices. Genealogists now, however, have ready access online to most of the Irish record sources. Therefore, Brian Mitchell has completely revised his guide to meet the needs of today’s researchers and direct them to the most current websites and resources.
"Mitchell’s original premise remains the same: that the examination of seven major records will throw quite detailed light on most peoples’ Irish ancestry. By skillfully blending Irish history, record sources, case studies, maps, charts, and his own mastery of the subject, Mitchell has put together a masterful handbook to Irish genealogical research.
"Following introductory chapters on the background of Irish genealogy and how to get started in your research, Mitchell describes the nature and uses of all significant record sources in Ireland, including but not limited to civil and parish registers, gravestone inscriptions, wills, census returns and census substitutes, the Griffith’s Valuation, tithe books, newspapers, hearth money rolls, the registry of deeds, estate records, and ordnance survey memoirs. Also included are the addresses, phone numbers, e-mail addresses, and websites for the major record repositories, as well as a section discussing DNA and genetic genealogy as applicable to Irish genealogy research. Finally, Mitchell offers a step-by-step guide to tracing your Irish ancestors, first itemizing the three steps researchers should take first, and then including case studies to illustrate how to apply these steps.
"Enriched by the author’s experience as a professional geographer and leading Irish genealogical researcher, the New Pocket Guide to Irish Genealogy is an invaluable tool for all those seeking Irish ancestors."
As a researcher with little Irish research experience, but a need to learn more about the Irish records, repositories and research process, I found this book to be "just right" for me.  It provided an excellent overview, and enough detail to understand the history, geography and available record collections.

This is a modern genealogy book - with plentiful links to websites and inclusion of genetic genealogy information.  The "Three Steps" and the two Case Studies are very helpful.

In my decades long collection of "Seaver" surname materials, I have found many Seaver families resided in Ireland, and some of them migrated to North America.  With the help of the information in this book, I have added hundreds of Seaver people to my family tree database with reference to the sources described in this book.

All-in-all, this is an excellent book for the bookshelf of a beginning or intermediate Irish genealogist and a public library genealogy section.  It does not overwhelm the reader, but serves as an introduction to the challenging and fascinating world of Irish genealogy research


Disclosure: Genealogical.com contacted me recently and asked me to provide a review of this book. They mailed me a review copy for my personal use as remuneration for this review.

Copyright (c) 2020, Randall J. Seaver

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