Not only are these stories inspiring, none would have been possible if we didn't have the world's largest collection of Irish records

'Happy to be Proved Wrong!'

'The Irish side of my family history has always been hard to uncover,' says Marie Coleman. 'My favourite Findmypast records have always been the Irish parish sets where, after years of searching, I found my great-grandfather's baptism. But the biggest, and most pleasant, surprise came when browsing the Birr Dog Licence records, where I found my great-aunt still living after 1901. I thought the dog license record sets would be of little genealogical importance, but I'm so happy to be proved wrong!'

'It's like we've known each other for years'

Horace Peters emailed us to say, 'I am 70 years old and did not know until just before last Easter that I had a sister in Ireland. I couldn't have found her without your records. I have since met her and her family and it's as though we've known each other for years. Thank you.' No, thank you for letting us know Horace!

'Petty session records are an incredible diary'

'Thanks to Findmypast I've had a fascinating insight into one of my most notorious ancestors,' says Findmypast user Simon Todd. 'I'd found many newspaper articles relating to him as a Land Agent, but had only scant knowledge beyond that. At last, I discovered petty sessions records covering the whole period. He appeared in court as both complainant and defendant numerous times relating with his work and the boundaries of his property. He seems to have had a constant feud with some neighbours. The records reveal he had arable land and once had his property bombarded with stones by a gang. He injured a neighbours sheep with his cart and was likewise assaulted by many. Often he would have people in court for merely using foul language at him. Finally, he attempts to shoot a farmer's wife.

'These petty session records are an incredible diary that reveals much about the character of the man. He was obstinate, jobsworth, disliked by many, carried out his duties with an intolerant sense of duty above all. I believe he finished his career with a defiant sense of being right in his actions and fulfilled of duty,' says Todd, echoing what we've been saying for years: genealogy isn't just about names on trees, it's about the stories behind each and every one of them.

'...involved in the Bread Riots'

'Searching your Irish records I found two of my ancestors in the Dublin Poor Law Union Workhouse in 1840,' says Findmypast user Lara Passey. 'Thomas was 24 and Conor was only four months, Thomas's wife was stated as Dawn but she was not with them. They only appeared to be there a week. I then found a baptismal record for Thomas in April 1840 in St Paul's parish in Dublin, Dawn's surname looks like Smith, but was transcribed as Smythy. I've found other records of Thomas in the workhouse at later dates and even a prison record of him being involved in the Bread Riots in 1847 during the potato famine. My friend has been a keen genealogist for years now. When she warned me how addictive family history can be, I should have listened to her because right now all I can think of is the discoveries I will make next!'

Meanwhile, over on Twitter...

Your great what, Gillian? Your great what?! We won't be able to rest easy until Gillian confirms this for us.

Up next: Read This Before You Even Think About Searching for Irish Ancestors

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