During the current pandemic, when people are advised to stay at home, cultural institutions and record repositories have to look at novel ways of helping the public. The National Archives of Ireland (NAI) has thought up a way of assisting family history researchers while it remains closed.
Since 2003 the NAI has provided its Free Genealogy Advisory Service to visitors to its premises in Bishop Street, Dublin. The service is run on behalf of the Archives by an external panel of professional genealogists, all holding credentials from Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI). As people cannot currently avail of the consultation service face to face, the NAI has arranged with AGI to provide an email service instead during the period of closure, commencing on Friday, 3 April, and which will continue until further notice.
The service will operate during normal office hours:
9.30am-5.00pm [Irish Standard Time], Monday to Friday, until further notice. Emails received outside those hours will be dealt with on the next day of service.
The email address for the service is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Email correspondence is not as effective as a face to face consultation, but in the present circumstances it is a good alternative. To make the most of the service, researchers are advised to be specific about their queries and to provide concise (but reasonably detailed) background information. The AGI member providing the service always wishes to be sure that the researcher is on the right track. So when submitting your query, it’s always best to briefly differentiate between what was known within the family before records were consulted, and what was discovered through subsequent research.
It is important to quote exact sources of information (not just ‘I found it on Ancestry / Findmypast / Rootsireland, etc.’, for example). Providing links to online family trees does not give the consultant the clarity needed to provide worthwhile assistance.
We in AGI are pleased to assist the National Archives with this alternative to the Free Genealogy Advisory Service. We hope that people find help and enjoyment in the service while confined to home during these worrying times. Stay safe!