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By Carol Regan (From the McClelland Library’s blog Nov. 26, 2014)

Did any of us wake up one morning and say, “Today, I’m going to start researching my family history?”

Interest is often generated by a family story, bible or picture. With Thanksgiving upon us and family getting together; take advantage of this opportunity to ask for family stories. You could begin by looking at old family photos and asking about the people in the pictures.

Usually, our very first goal is to discover more about a particular person in the family but can quickly expand to include discovering all our ancestors.

My genealogical journey began because I didn’t want to embarrass myself over a pint of beer, while on a business trip in Ireland.  Before going to Ireland, I read the book, “Ireland Culture Shock.”  In this book, it stated that the Irish like to talk with Americans of Irish descent about their roots. I didn’t know anything about my roots. Not wanting to embarrass myself, my goal was to learn just enough to carry on a pub conversation over a pint.

That first goal soon expanded and sent me on a genealogical journey. Through my research, I have connected our American and Irish extended families.  The results of my research was a gift to my family with the added bonus of connecting with living relatives in Ireland.

Genealogical research begins at the library. The library has information which can help you locate and understand your specific family history. They can also help increase your research skills and expand research strategy.

In the Phoenix area, we are very fortunate to have a genealogy centre at the McClelland Library. There is a professional genealogist on staff, available for consultations, and trained volunteers to assist with basic research.

You can begin your genealogical treasure hunt, with the help of the Frances McClelland Genealogy Research Centre. It’s not too late to get started and have a write-up for your family as a Christmas gift.

Interested in contributing to our blog?  The Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library blog is always looking for cultural pieces!  Items of interest include, recipes, poems, introductions to topics, traditional crafts, traditional music, family history tidbits and tips, book and film reviews, and more! To submit and article for possible inclusion please email your piece to info@azirish.org.  Blog inclusion decisions are subject to review and blog policies of the Irish Cultural Center and McClelland Library.

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