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The Western Family History Association (WFHA) in conjunction with Galway County Council recently held a workshop entitled Investigating your Family History – A Practical Approach for Heritage Week 2011.  This also included the launch of the Association’s new website www.wfha.info by the Deputy Mayor of County Galway Cllr. Bridie Willers.

Huge numbers turned out for this free event Heritage Week event.  The audience spanned all ages and included existing members of the Western Family History Association with lots of new faces and newcomers to family history.  It was great to see such an interest in tracing your ancestors, a topic that is definitely gaining interest due to the genealogy programmes on our national airwaves.  Both Michael Connaughton, WFHA Chairperson and Marie Mannion, Galway County Heritage Officer welcomed everyone on the night.  A brief description of the Western Family History Association website was given by Tim Murphy.  This was followed by the launch of website by Deputy Mayor Cllr. Bridie Willers.  The night of talks then began with the first talk entitled Sources for Tracing your Family Tree. By Bríd Higgins, WFHA Secretary, who spoke on Administrative Divisions and the different sources for Tracing Ancestry – Census, Church, Civil, and Land records including the Repositories where they are located.  Then Siobhan McGuiness of Galway Family History Society West spoke on Tracing Ancestry through a Galway’s Genealogy Centre.  She examined the history of the county genealogy centres, sources available at their centre, parishes covered and researching at the centre both commissioned research an online research.  Gerard Naughton, WFHA Committee member spoke on assembling your Family Tree together, the importance of writing down details and web records available.

Event organisers were delighted with the attendance and hope to see some of the new members and the wider audience again at the public meetings throughout the year.  By attending and participating in the meetings one gets to benefit from the experience and expertise of members ranging from beginners to those who have several years experience in tracing their family history.  Access to the latest information presented by expert speakers including how to access family records, census data, emigrant data and the latest developments in genealogy, such as, the digitisation of family records, births, marriages, deaths and information on how genetics can be used to help trace ancestry.

The Western Family History Association is a genealogy association based in Galway.  It is a self-help group for its members and does not carry out research.  The Association typically holds five to six meetings during the year, together with a number of other activities throughout the year.  Meetings are open to the general public.  In addition to these activities it provides a continually expanding library of genealogical and historical books for members’ usage.  Western Family History Association regular meetings are held on the second Wednesday of the month (alternating months).  The next meeting takes place at the Claregalway Hotel on Wednesday 14th September at 8.15pm.  There will be a talk by Michael Carroll on his experience researching his two recently published family/local/school history books entitled Of Beauty Rarest which celebrates 150 years of history of Clydagh National School, Headford and Valley of The Milk, a history of the Carroll family of Luggawannia, Headford.

For further information on the Western Family History Association look up www.wfha.info or email info@wfha.info.