Free Consults are Available from Friends of Irish Research
By Joe Petrie
The mission statement for the Friends of Irish Research states that the organization “is a collection of volunteers with over 100 years of research experience who desire to utilize their experience and skills to promote the sharing of genealogical knowledge and to assist others in their family research.” The 100 years of Friends experience is grossly under-estimated.
Friends provides on-site and off-site consults. On-site consults are one-on-one individual sessions conducted in one of many rooms equipped with PCs. Off-site consults are usually conducted at one of two local Massachusetts Public Libraries during the library’s normal working hours). Also, Friends provides phone consults for US and Canadian clients who are distant from the facility or unable to travel to the Friends handicapped friendly facility.
In addition, Friends provides the following on-site: Lectures, Research tools, Access to Affiliates (Ancestry.com and Ireland Reaching Out), links to free databases, assistance with database projects, a Digital Library and digitizing services, a Reference Library, and Internet Access.
Friends is a recent start-up located in donated space at North Baptist Church, 899 North Main Street in Brockton MA. Currently, Friends has seven genealogy volunteers who share some common denominators:
· a passion for genealogy sharing
· hands-on and published Irish, Atlantic Canada, and US research
· genealogy volunteering including at the Library at Irish Cultural Centre of New England (ICCNE) in Canton MA where they met. They founded the Friends because they outgrew the facilities at the ICCNE.
The volunteers’ diverse resumes include:
· A former North Sydney, N.S. resident who is the former IT Advisor at the ICCNE Library. He is a founder of a computer consulting company and currently pastor of North Baptist Church. He has designed and maintains the Friends web site.
· The first Genealogy and Library Director at ICCNE and life member of ICCNE.
· A former Library Director at ICCNE.
· A member of the Board of Directors and life member of ICCNE. He has initiated and sponsored the restoration of the famine graveyard in his ancestral homeland in West Cork which is currently underway.
· A Past President of the Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA). At TIARA, she was responsible for the recovery of 1888-1935 life insurance records of Irish (and a few other records) of the Massachusetts Catholic Order of Foresters. The insurance records, which are being digitized, are housed at the Healey Library of the University of Massachusetts Boston Campus. The digitized records will be made available free on line on the TIARA web site. She is a life member of ICCNE.
· A retiree who is also a Past President of TIARA and life member of ICCNE. At TIARA, he started the Forester Project and responded to the Government of Ireland Heritage Council's request for Heritage Center "user evaluation", by conducting an extensive and very balanced survey which pointed towards member disappointments. (It was the only such survey submitted.) Also, his research on the Grave Markers at the Old Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Canton MA is currently being digitized by Friends. With his daughter, he also researches his late wife’s Nova Scotia roots – his wife’s maternal grandmother was from Port Mulgrave, Nova Scotia, and a member of St. Lawrence parish of the Roman Catholic Antigonish Diocese.
· A retired Program Manager for the federal government who is also a retired Adjunct Computer Professor. In addition, the individual is a son of two Cape Breton natives and a published author including genealogy articles in the Electronics Magazine (EZINE) of the Cape Breton Genealogy and Historical Association (CBGHA) and of the Family History Society of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Newfoundland Ancestor.
As individuals, the volunteers specialize in assisting clients to break-down genealogy barriers.
The volunteers staff the facility on most Friday evenings from 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM (Eastern Time).
All consults are scheduled by Email by emailing email@example.com. Your Email should provide information on the individual(s) that you need the Friends volunteers to assist you with. A response normally is processed the same day.
Finally, Friends is looking for additional genealogy, genealogy database project staff and digitizing volunteers.