Invisible relatives may pertain to those people who are difficult to find or are hidden relatives perhaps. A relative can be considered missing if he or she does not appear even in one of the volume of records containing your family’s history. Detailed information of your invisible relative can be hard to uncover. You don’t probably suspect that he or she exists before you begin your research.
You need to know some of the reasons why such things happen.
- Women are most often categorized as invisible relatives. Keep in mind that women didn’t have legal identities of their own in many countries. They are not regularly mentioned in community records. In Ireland, property was rarely registered in the name of a woman from 18th to 19th century. When registration of civil marriages took place in 1865, only the father’s name of both couples is listed.
- If family members disapprove a relationship, thinking that it can bring disgrace to their family, they hide it consciously. For example, a widow who wanted to marry again but her children are all grown up.
- It runs in the tradition of the Irish, they always want to portray the best face and feet forward. They omit sad memories from the tales about their family. Thus, infants and young children who are already dead were never mentioned again.
- Some common records used in Irish genealogy research are incomplete. The contents have entirely missed important things about the person. Maybe, they failed to anticipate that the latest generation would likely want to know about their origins. Some census in the U.S has this problem. Former spouses were never mentioned on the record as well as the date of immigration until 1900.
So, some Irish who are just starting to find their genealogy can face a lot of challenges. It is advisable not to rely much on what they find on the written records. However, any piece of information is important to help you in your research. No matter how small the information is, you can unravel many things once you dig deeper.
Never assume that the norms in the 20th and 21st century made sense 50, 100, or 100 years ago. Try to learn and understand that norms vary according to time and place. Considering all the records (both Irish and American) are helpful in solving the jigsaw puzzles of your life, in case your family already migrated in the U.S. This process is also similar in other countries.
There are factors that you should concentrate on when finding an invisible Irish relative. Checking the census can be effective in finding the persons who are related to the one you are looking for. Another is to learn some significant traditions associated with the place. For example, in Ireland, the naming tradition is very popular. Irish men name their oldest son after their grandfather. If the person is already married, then search for the marriage record. Take note, during the 1860, divorce is not favored in Ireland. So, better check for death records also in case the name changed.
Finally, be patient as your research progresses. After all, it is worthwhile to embrace your origin again and find the missing part of your life.