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Irish Genealogy Group’s Expanding Roots

Aengus Lawlor’s Presentation on Griffith’s Valuation at the April 9th Meeting

 

For over eight years, the Irish Immigration Center in Upper Darby has been steadily and surely attracting a growing crowd of dedicated researchers to their monthly genealogy group. Meeting on the second Tuesday of each month, the gathering has been led by Pat Corey for the past few years. For many people, including myself, who have heard how helpful, valuable, worthwhile and welcoming this group is but are unable to attend the daytime meeting, the Immigration Center has come up with a solution: beginning Thursday, April 25, a second, evening group will be meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. on the last Thursday of every month.

“We get a lot of phone calls from people inquiring about the genealogy group. They want to attend, but because of work and other commitments, aren’t able to make a meeting held in the middle of the day,” Nicola Bell, the Center’s Community Programs and Communications Director, explained.

About a month ago, the Center’s Executive Director, Emily Norton Asinhurst, and I also discussed this. She knew of my interest and experience in genealogy and the podcasts I had recently started recording for this website. She had several members of the current group who were on board to assist with facilitating a second, evening meeting, but didn’t necessarily want to lead it regularly. She asked if I would be interested. I thought about it for about two seconds, and answered with a resounding, “Yes!”

Attending this month’s daytime meeting on Tuesday to get a sense of how the current group runs, I was struck by the genuine camaraderie and appreciation shown for each other’s research. With over 30 people in attendance (some meetings have seen as many as 60), everyone there came away with some new insight into how to further their own search for ancestors. Pat Corey has done a wonderful job of growing this group and providing guidance and leadership while making everyone feel like this is their meeting. I was also overwhelmed by how many people said that they plan on attending the evening meeting as well the daytime meeting from now on.

And that is what I envision the Thursday night group to be, a welcoming second place to come and share a love of all things genealogical. With current members Aengus Lawlor (who did an incredibly informative presentation on Griffith’s Valuation at Tuesday’s meeting) and Bill McCrea on board to help facilitate, there will be a monthly topic to focus on, guest speakers, and lots of discussion.

Nicola Bell summed it up best when she relayed some of the comments and questions she gets from people enquiring about the meetings: “People will say, ‘I’m not Irish, can I join?’ And ‘I have no experience, can I come?’ And “I don’t know where to start, will I be welcome?’ I tell them all, ‘Of course. Everybody’s welcome.’”

“Everybody’s Welcome.” That will be the topic for the first evening meeting. Come out and join us at The Irish Immigration Center at 7 South Cedar Lane, Upper Darby, Pa., 19082, Thursday, April 25th at 7 p.m. For more information, check out the Immigration Center’s website and the Facebook Events page.

Can’t wait for the meeting? Listen to the “Who’s Your Granny” podcasts on “Tea with Irish Philly.

Podcast: A Beginner’s Guide to Irish Genealogy

Podcast: The Ins and Outs of DNA Testing

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