Me and my ancestors

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My grandfather and grandmother circa 1915

A little about myself and my ancestors

This blog is to mark the launch of my new website. The old site ran into IT difficulties and some of the blogs were lost. Turning bad things into good things, the old website needed freshening up so I took the opportunity to avail of a complete redesign resulting in this new website.

One of the new features is a ‘shop’ where I offer the results of detailed modern research into a selection of surnames for a modest fee. I hope to expand this service over time but such research is time-consuming so offerings will only be uploaded gradually.

The new website contains full details both in text and video format of the various services I offer. My main offering is a professional family history/genealogy service. I am highly qualified to provide this service. I have a master’s degree and a doctorate, both in medieval history and genealogy and have offered a professional genealogy and history service to the public for many years, between 1995 to 2006 and again from 2013 to the present. My service covers all of Ireland. I offer a free assessment service, just send on your details to 

I have taught both history and genealogy at university level and continue to do so. As a professional academic and family historian I have published extensively. See the list of these under the ‘Shop’ tab in the website.

One particular aspect of my services is to provide a surname history service, detailing surname history for those whose genealogy has hit the proverbial ‘brick wall’.

My own ancestry is firmly rooted in Cork City, where I have been able to trace my ancestors back to the late 1700s in Paul Street. My mother’s people, to use a typical Irishism, were bakers, one of whom had his bakery window smashed and bread stolen by a rioting crowd of starving people in 1847, during the Great Famine. Other ancestral lines were blacksmiths, artists, sweeps, carpenters, farm labourers, soldiers and professional musicians. The latter were among the orchestra of the Cork Opera House during the early years of the twentieth century while my great-grandfather served in the Royal Munster Fusiliers, an Irish based and now disbanded regiment of the British Army, as long ago as the Anglo-Burmese Campaign of 1885. My grandfather was a royal marine during the First World War, serving on motor torpedo boats based in Dover, who was medically discharged as suffering from Tuberculosis towards the end of the war. He was hospitalised in a military hospital in 1917 and given six months to live. He survived, hale and hearty, until he died in 1980! In 1852 a great-great-grandfather, a chimney sweep, was falsely accused of murder as part of an attempted frame up. The jury dismissed the charge and the police described him as ‘a most inoffensive man’!

That’s a little of the story of my ancestors, who can be described as ‘oul stock’ of Cork City. This term, from ‘old stock’, is an affectionate term for somebody with long roots in Cork city centre. I love this business and am available to assist you in uncovering your ancestral stories, just send an email.