My Ireland Family Heritage
As the founder of My Ireland Family Heritage, Sean Quinn promises to “personally guide you on a journey into your past.”
Quinn has more than 40 years in tourism industry under his belt, first becoming interested in genealogy about two decades ago while researching his own family history.
“I am Irish and very proud of the fact that my Quinn name goes back to the High Kings of Ireland: Art McCuinn from the 4th Century,” he tells Celtic Life International via e-mail. “This inspired me to search deeper to the coming of the Celtics and the Tuatha Dé Danann (the Celtic people of the goddess Danu).”
That research inspired him to become a qualified Irish genealogist and start up My Ireland Family Heritage, which today offers personalized genealogy research, vacation tours as well as heritage trips to Ireland.
A genealogy research package may contain everything from a written report on your ancestral Irish family, copies and transcripts of any relevant documents found, and copies of maps showing where the family continues to live.
The heritage trips also involve a full genealogy research of the family, which can shape a suggested itinerary of the Irish excursion. In other words, clients will have a chance to walk where their ancestors once did. Guided tours and self-drive options are both available also. Quinn explains that all the research is done in advance, thus saving time when someone actually arrives for their vacation.
“Our specialty is finding your ancestor and taking you there,” he explains. “Prior to a client visiting on their vacation, our exploration team will visit your ancestral townland – your family’s original settlement or home – to research local archives, churches and graveyards, and speak to locals who have prior knowledge of your ancestors.”
The idea is that a tour will be tailored to the client, with the client. Often, they will be able to visit their ancestors’ graveyard or family church. There’s also a chance they could meet some living, long lost relatives. Additional historic sites can also be incorporated into the tour, which might possibly include ancient hill forts, Viking sites, and Norman settlements.
Such trips give My Ireland Family Heritage an advantage over the competition, according to Quinn, as they offer more than genealogy research itself. Most of the team’s clientele come from the United States, Canada and Australia.
“Our core clients are middle to late-aged, with a genuine interest in where their ancestors once lived in Ireland, the history of the local area, and a keen interest in learning about the island of Ireland.”
The team’s goal is to find the exact location for each client’s family, which can often prove to be difficult. That said, it boasts a 95 percent success rate.
“The records in Ireland have been badly destroyed. Even through my own family research I found my own great-great-grandfather was not registered at the time of the Great Famine,” says Quinn. He also had to piece together what he calls “missing years”, which were badly destroyed during the Irish Civil War in 1922. This time period, he suggests, is vital to finding a client’s roots.
“We pride ourselves and take delight when we can find our client’s their ancestor and bring them home to their exact townland in Ireland.”
The “townland” he refers to is a geographical division of land used in Ireland. As the My Ireland Family website states, the system is of Gaelic origin. “A townland can be anything from a half an acre to 2,000 acres.”
For Quinn, each family history is a challenge as well as a profound experience.
“It often brings our clients to tears in many cases as it is a search done from the heart and a willingness to learn and discover where you are from and is indeed very special. We are very passionate about embarking on this journey with our clients. The research and tours are all rewarding.”
Looking ahead, he says the hope is to develop and grow the business further.
“When people emigrated from Ireland, particularly in the famine years – 1845-1850 – it was to seek a better life for their future generations. It is wonderful to take people back to where their ancestors first came from.”