So, who’s rolling their eyes at the mention of genealogy now, eh?*

Hello all, my name is Eoin Grenham.

Before COVID-19, like many others, I had a completely different job. I was a gymnastics coach but, again like many others, had to go back and seek out a new job. I did and was lucky enough to be trained and helped along by my dad John. For many years I really didn’t like the idea of becoming a genealogist even though many people expected it. A family heritage business done by a family appeals to a lot of people.

Eoin then. Already a gymnast.
Eoin then. Already a gymnast.

But starting off I fell for it and realised what my dad had been going on about to me for nigh on 20 years. There is a lot of fun in just figuring things out, solving problems. This is what genealogy is, finding things  and solving big family puzzles. I dare say I would have gone for it before now if I had realised what it was about. When starting off though, I had problems and made mistakes. Mistakes and problems, I would say are not confined to just me. I thought I should share them with the world to let other people off the hook too.

Eoin now

First off, Irish names are annoying; I’m allowed to say this because I’m Irish. Vowels can be meaningless to us. Historically, starts and ends of names can shift for no reason. Even now, our accents will replace an ‘A’ with ‘I’ or ‘U’ with absolutely no pause and we look at people who call us crazy as if we have no idea what’s wrong with doing it. The saving grace of most Irish research sites now are the ‘wildcards’, ‘*’ and ‘?’. These can go in for * = any number of characters, ‘?’ = a single character. These are your best friends when you are starting off with family research. After the first 2 weeks of doing research, banging my head off the keyboard and screaming at the screen, I got the message. Using these can help. It did and I haven’t looked back since.

Along with this I am also doing the videos together with my dad as well as coding and SEO work for the site. Busy times ahead.

*Title and images added by the editor.

23 thoughts on “So, who’s rolling their eyes at the mention of genealogy now, eh?*”

  1. Hi Eoin,

    I really have hit a brick wall and one that I doubt can be solved with or without the *. The surnames are Gooley and Fitzgerald with no birthdates to go with either side let alone their parents names. I will keep plugging away at it though and if I was famous I would definitely want to be on the show, ‘Finding Your Roots’.

    1. Hi Jane
      I have Gooleys in my tree from Kilkenny in the early 1800s. Bridget Gooley was my 2xG Grandmother married to Daniel Gorey
      Who are you stuck on ?

  2. Frustrating Joy. Frustrating for the brick walls you encounter. Joy for the Golden Nuggets you find. My Irish roots are mainly centered in Wexford County. However the records for that county are few and far between before 1854. But the challenge is really exciting. Good hunting and luck in your ongoing search.

    1. Totally agree. There is joy when one finds a nugget of info and frustration when there aren’t any records available. I too have the issue of not many records available pre 1854 but for Co. Carlow and Co. Kilkenny as well as Co. Wexford, and specifically for Church of Ireland.

  3. You’re a chip of the old block, Eoin. It’s all about flexibility and a wild imagination. Have fun.

  4. Good for you, and better yet, you figured it out on your own. Not to mention, you will have learned from one of the best. Continued success Eoin.

  5. Engaging little piece–“E-O-IN”, or, is it “Owen,” “Ian,” “Sean,” or ???

    Look forward to more!

  6. It’s going to take more than a few “*” or “?” strategically placed my son! A new set of eyes on intractable problems is welcomed. Let’s see if your a chip off the old block!

  7. Enjoy Eoin. I wish my Eóin had the same interest. I think I will have to wait quite a few years before he or any of his brothers take the same interest. Best of luck with your research. You are learning from the Master.

  8. Eoin, this gives me hope that someday my son will also realize how fun genealogy is. You’ve made your old dad so happy!

  9. I love your analogy. Yes it is a puzzle and frustrating because there are so many names that are the same and around the same time as well. People get a puzzled look on their face when they ask what I did on the weekend and my reply is “I sit in bed with a cuppa looking up dead people lol”

  10. Well done Eoin. I took way longer than you to work this out – 30 years in fact. In Australia the name Loughmane had been written down as Loeman since 1840. Only last week I discovered that Loughmane is what was used in Tipperary. Now I am wondering if Loughnane and Loughmane could indeed be the same family as well.

  11. Congratulations Eoin. It was the reverse in my family. My daughter started at age 8 because my mother wouldn’t tell her anything other than “she was an only child, and my parents were only children.” Even at age 8, she realized that the Irish usually had big families, and the search was on. I was always looking over her shoulder telling her whatever I could remember, which really wasn’t much. We now realize there were a lot of lies told. Now, I have 2nd cousins I have visited near Mitchelstown and know that all of my ancestors came from Ireland – from 7 different counties in Ireland.

  12. Speaking of vowels and accents, somewhere along the line the pronunciation of my Irish ancestors’ surname Bratton/Bratten/Braton changed from the logical BRAT-ton, to BRAY-ton here in the US and Canada. I’ve always been curious why this would be. Any ideas?

  13. You are so right Lois, welcome to THE Obsession, Eoin!
    My husband asks “who did you find today”; it’s truly a treasure hunt, it pulls you in.
    Much thanks to your Dad for all that he has accomplished.

  14. Eoin… congratulations on joining the family business. You have no better mentor. Your father got me started at the beginning of the lockdown as well. Since March 3 2020, I have been at it 8-10 hours a day, seven days a week. I can’t believe what I’ve learned, not only from your father, but just “digging” through stuff. Your dad just pointed me in the right direction on several problems and I have made progress. I hope to privately publish our family history by the EO June. The effort was totally worth a year of my life. Best of luck!

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