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Getting to sit down and chat with the older generations within your family and asking about their experiences growing up and their thoughts and memories of their family that have gone before them…I found this be most interesting and rewarding experience I have had in a long time, and I'm sure that you might find this might be the case also...

(Photo above)  McElwaine & Callaghan Carrier Service, takes to the roads of Fanad/Clondavaddog - Location Magheradrumman, Fanad, Co.Donegal - abt 1919

The very first next step is gathering all the family information you can get together and adding it into a family tree. This can of course always be compiled the old fashioned way, yet more and more people researching nowadays prefer to do it by either purchasing a software package such as family tree maker, or using one of the many online family tree sites that are available free of charge. A somewhat good example is where it is free to compile, save and if you want share your family tree.

The real secret to these sites is learning to control the temptation to purchase as there is loads of free sites out there. 

Having done this, the best way forward then is to use the various local research sites that are available, and expand your tree from there. If you do find at some stage you happen to hit a brick wall, you can always ask for assistance here, as local volunteer’s on Irelandxo would be more than glad to help with their resources for the parish of Clondavaddog that they would have come across down through the years…

So where would be the best place to start?....

If you or your family happen to be BORN in the United States, Scotland, or England, and all you might happen to know from family notes, information or records passed down through older generations is that your ancestors had come from North Donegal in a distinctive Townland in the Parish of Clondavaddog,  my advice to you would be to start firstly with the 1858 Griffith Valuation for that townland in the Parish of Clondavaddog…(a post on this will be uploaded soon) ..and then research the Tithe Applotment for that same area as this would quite possibly be the same family, just one step of a generation further back….

If you or your family happen to be BORN and grew up in the Parish of Fanad/Clondavaddog and are interested in putting together your family tree starting with your parents, grandparents and then grandparents, the best place to find them all and start your search would be the 1901 and 1911 Census..(see Ireland XO for an insight on this).

Gathering all this information and putting it all together in one of the free tree sites available online will certainly aid the searching further, possibly showing where your family would have originated from and provide more obvious connections to other families with similar surname that would have lived nearby….

Tying both this information above from the 1830’s up to the 1900’s together will for better words become the bones on any good family tree, then soon after the addition then of Church and Civil Birth, Marriage and Death records will add the meat to these bones and will tie it all together beautifully.  The finished result will be an Ancestral family tree that other extended family that you might not even know about yet can always connect to in the future, and most importantantly the preservation of family history that can be passed down from generation to generations within your family..something special that they will always with them wherever they might be.

I hope this might be of some help to anyone that might be starting the “journey”.

What will become more apparent while putting together your tree is that any family or close connections to family that had emigrated to all different parts of the globe will show up along the way... and then the next step is to create that bridge between the families living in Fanad and that of the Diaspora that travelled from the shores of Mulroy Bay and Lough Swilly so many years ago...

(Photo above) Moross Castle near Rossnakill - awaiting the ferry on fine warm summers evening - circa:1894

We hope you have found the information we have shared helpful. While you are here, we have a small favour to ask. Ireland Reaching Out is a non-profit organisation that relies on public funding and donations to ensure a completely free family history advisory service to anyone of Irish heritage who needs help connecting with their Irish place of origin. If you would like to support our mission, please click on the donate button and make a contribution. Any amount, big or small, is appreciated and makes a difference. 

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