Who Do You Think You Are?

who do you think you are-1

The Dublin Dockers Preservation Society (DDPS) hosted three mini events in the CHQ Building on George’s Dock, to mark Heritage Week on August 29th. They included a family history trace, a talk that rehashed some of the old stories from the good old days and a singsong finale.

NewsFour was in attendance at the family history event, which mirrored the style of popular TV programme, Who Do You Think You Are? Volunteers with laptops led the interested parties through the various steps of tracing their relatives who worked in or had connections with the Dublin Docklands.

Volunteer Neasa McHale, told NewsFour about some recent developments. “The reason we are here today marking Heritage Week is to introduce people to the various ways they can access their family history. Records are becoming more accessible now and one piece of information can point to different websites where other types of records may be held. It is a positive thing that these archives are more freely available.”

McHale gave a demonstration of how databases.dublincity.ie, which was launched last April, functions. The Irish Times database was launched on August 26th and is the newest resource at our disposal. McHale advised that irishgenealogy.ie is a good place to start and that some local libraries will allow online access to archives that would normally incur a fee.

The project is the brainchild of Audrey Mac Creedy, who has a huge personal interest in the Dublin Docklands. Her capstone work as part of her thesis for a Masters Degree in UCD involved the digitisation of reams of paper archives, which enlisted volunteers as well as the aid of DDPS.

Mac Creedy has traced her own family back as far as the 1700s and admits that once you start on the family history trail it can become a bit of an addiction. “I have certainly caught the bug. There are a number of formidable characters emerging. I have traced an ancestor who was involved in the Land League with traits of socialism and feminism throughout, which I can relate to in my own life.”

Mac Creedy is continuing to work alongside the DPPS and commends their efforts to keep this part of our heritage alive through storytelling, workshops and exhibitions. She stresses the importance of oral history and is collaborating with DDPS on a mission to house their resources in a museum where all of the archives and photographs can be displayed and easily accessed.

Lord Mayor Críona Ní Dhálaigh opened the Dig Where You Stand Photographic Exhibition, which was launched to coincide with Heritage Week. “It is very important that people have access to their family heritage free of charge. I fully support the DSPP in their quest for a permanent museum. I have found out some information about my father while I have been here and I am actually quite emotional. It gives you a sense of who you are.”

Photographer Alan Martin has compiled a photographic archive that can be accessed at bluemelon.com/alanmartin/

See below for other useful links

By Maria Shields O’Kelly