The Genealogy of Ireland is among the more unique and fascinating examples of genealogical studies available worldwide.
The reasons for this are numerous.
Firstly Ireland’s island situation is clearly more conducive to a readably traceable genealogical study than would be the case with countries on mainland Europe accessible by land, such as Italy or Poland.
Even the U.K, with its three separate states and similar island situation bears no comparison in its ensuing complexities,largely due to the extent of the British Empire and the resulting mass movements of peoples it caused.
For Irish genealogical purposes the British politician Enoch Powell’s infamous ‘rivers of blood’ speech and the quintessentially Irish contention that “The British conquered theworld and the world followed them home” is actually quite instructive in so far as it reminds usthat Irish genealogy could in fact be far denser than it is.
The diversity of peoples in the U.K is really only comparable with the U.S.A on a broad scale.
In his speech Powell referred to an “Intractable phenomenon on the other side of the Atlantic…interwoven with the history and existence of the U.S.A itself, is coming upon us here…indeed, it has all but come. In numerical terms, it will be of American proportions long before the end ofthe century”.
Powell argued that although “many thousands” of immigrants wanted to integrate, he contended that the majority did not.And that some had vested interests in fostering racial and religious differences “with a view to the exercise of actual domination, first over fellow-immigrants and then over the rest of the population”.
Powell quoted Virgil’s epic poem Aeneid, speaking of “wars, terrible wars, and the Tiber foaming with much blood”.
Fortunately the genealogy of Ireland is on the opposite end of the spectrum in terms of volatility, and the new century has dawned without such tribulations.
However, for those undertaking genealogical study two important points remain.
Firstly in general where the integration of immigrants into society is found to be most complete and seamless it becomes more difficult to trace genealogical roots.
This is because the process of assimilation into the host society will invariably reduce the distinguishing cultural and ethnic characteristics of a particular genealogy.
Secondly it is always a good idea to have an awareness of the political climate of the period you are studying.
Because this can dramatically influence the availability of state and religious documentation.Ireland genealogy research can be challenging as we will see in further genealogical articles on this site..but it can be done.
Filed under Genealogy Ireland by Terry