August 4, 2012

Come to the Dublin Irish Festival for Genealogy Help

If you’re within striking distance of Central Ohio this weekend, be sure to visit the Dublin Irish Festival, which is celebrating its 25th year. As the second largest Irish festival in the nation (after Milwaukee, according to The Columbus Dispatch), it’s a lot of fun, with live music and Irish dancing on seven stages, as well as good food, events, and shopping. As an added benefit, you can get free help with your questions about U.S. and Irish genealogy.

Three exhibitors will be handling queries at the ever-popular Genealogy Tent all weekend:

Dwight Radford—Dwight is a knowledgeable, friendly professional specializing in Irish and Scots-Irish research, in addition to African-American genealogy. He has helped me quite a bit with my husband’s Northern Ireland ancestors in previous years. If you have Irish ancestors in your family tree, I highly recommend having a few questions in mind to ask him.

Irish Roots Café—Michael O’Laughlin is a prolific author and publisher of Irish resource books, including surname books for every county in Ireland. His exhibit space is always a hub of activity. While writing this, I noticed that he hosted Megan Smolenyak Smolenyak on episode #10 of his popular Irish Roots Café podcasts. Copies of his books will be available for browsing and purchase.

Franklin County Genealogical and Historical Society—this group, my local society, will field all types of questions about U.S. research and resources. We’ll have packets to hand out on starting your family history search, and computers to show visitors how to find information online. While most of the people who visit our booth have a casual interest or are newcomers to genealogy, we also get people who have already done some research and pose more challenging questions. We welcome them all with individual consultations. 

Between the three exhibitors, we usually have a crowd around the tent, and frequently a line for consultations. It’s fun and interesting work. One of my most rewarding experiences last year was talking to a girl of perhaps 12 or 13 years old. I suggested she start by asking her older relatives for help in filling out family group sheets and a pedigree chart. She came back the next day with some pages neatly filled out, eager to know what to do next. It’s neat to plant those seeds, even though you can’t see how or when they might sprout.

If you come to the Dublin Irish Festival on Sunday, August 5, be sure to stop by and say hi to me at the Genealogy Tent. And if you think you stand a chance in the “Best Legs in a Kilt” contest that afternoon, may the luck of the Irish be with you!

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  1. Oh, Shelley, we were so close, yet so far away! Our brief visit to Dublin ended on Wednesday. We saw all the activity as the Festival was getting set up. I had no idea it was such a large event. We are hoping we will make it on our visit to Ohio next year, and will definitely make a stop at the Genealogy tent! What a great resource you all are offering to people interested in their Irish heritage.

    1. Sorry to miss you, Jacqi! Yes, the Festival is huge. Hope you can make it next year--be sure to let me know so we can meet up!

  2. When will you be there? I will be there tomorrow too! 12-5!

  3. My shift is 3-close but I'll probably come a little earlier. See you there!


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