Family Research – English, Scottish and Irish Genealogy

21/6/2013

Irish Genealogy

Genealogy has long had an important position in Irish society: a large proportion of the surviving medieval Gaelic manuscripts consist of accounts of the pedigrees of the native elites. From one perspective, this is just the universally familiar legitimation by the powerful of their power. Another aspect of early Irish society may also have contributed, however. Under Brehon law, property was not vested in individuals or families, but in the derbhfhine, a large kin-group extending out to second cousins, descendants of a common great-grandfather. In other words, what you could own depended on who you were related to. Such a perspective on genealogy, with present kinship as its focus, is still a deeply embedded part of Irish culture. My own mother, who could recite from memory the family connections of what seemed like most of East Galway and North Roscommon, responded to my questions about her grandparents and great-grandparents with “What do you want to know about them for? Sure aren’t they all dead?” For all the changes in Ireland over the past twenty years, extended family connections can still be of great consequence. for more click here

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