When visitors to Ireland declare they’ve come in search of their roots, many native born Irish are perplexed by the quest. Why would a person from another country care about such things?The past can’t be changed and don’t these folks have a life well removed from Ireland with only the most gossamer connective tissue of a family name as a reminder of the past?
Let’s start by simply saying that most emigrant ancestors did not leave their homes because of good times. Likely something negative propelled them to uproot themselves from those that they loved and the comfort of familiar surroundings.
This kind of upheaval leaves scars and is often surrounded by silence. The trauma of the disconnect can echo through multiple generations and the absence of deep roots creates a need for a deeper sense of belonging which is fundamental to all people whether they or conscious of it or not.
Understanding all this, John and I wanted to bring in an expert to the podcast who had experience in the genealogical/family history space. We were delighted that Bridget Bray agreed to come on the show as she has been actively involved in assisting the descendants of immigrants in peeling back their family migration story
Bridget had successfully traced her family story back to a precise locale in Ireland. We wanted her to shed some light on how she approached that challenge and provide guidance to our listeners interested in embarking on the same quest
Ultimately the construction of one’s family tree is not just about engaging with the past but a desire to reconnect with a wider family group. At heart, we humans are deeply social animals and it is both our shared DNA and stories that give us a sense of belonging and comfort. So give Bridget’s episode a listen and start engaging with the past so you can discover the present.