It all started about fourteen months ago. The news I was getting was not good. My hopes that the fraudulent Brexit referendum results would be overturned appeared to be futile. As a Brit who has travelled extensively for decades I cherished freedom of movement guaranteed by the EU.
I have known for a very long time that I could claim Irish citizenship. My father made sure we had a good Irish Catholic upbringing. I was sent to Catholic schools, attended mass on Sundays and Holiday days of obligation. At university, I studied Irish history and the Irish language. So, it seemed obvious what I had to do. A quick visit to the Irish Citizenship website confirmed that I could apply to register with the Foreign Birth Registry. There is detailed information on what is required. The task, obviously, wasn’t going to be easy, and certainly wasn’t going to be quick.
Immediately, I started the search for all the relevant documents. These consist of birth certificates, marriage certificates, and death certificates. I already had my own birth certificate so starting was easy. Finding my fathers birth and marriage certificate was also relatively easy. As he died abroad, finding my father’s death certifiable proved a bit of a challenge. Now, onto my grandparents. Obviously, they were both Irish, and from Tipperary. Their death certificates were easy to find but their marriage and birth certificates were elusive.
When I embarked on this adventure I informed my cousin of my intentions. Although we are thousands of miles apart, she was thinking the same. Neither of us knew where they had got married. So, the search was on. I was looking in every database I could find. It was through shear desperation that I stumbled across a small database for Prestwich that confirmed my grandparents wedding. How and why they got married in Prestwich is something we will never know. So now the search was on for the final piece of the puzzle. Knowing my grandmothers maiden name and that she was born on Christmas day made finding her a lot easier. Or so I thought. There was no births registered on that day with her name. Then, like a bolt of lightening, it hit me. My grandmother’s birth could not be registered on Christmas day because it was a holiday. Well, there it was. Her birth was registered two days later. My grandfather’s birth remained elusive but I only needed proof of one grandparent.