Part 1: Introduction

I’m going to take one member’s Irish Family Tree, in this case Pam Carroll, whose ancestor Anna (or Annie) Maria Laughlin emigrated from Ireland around the mid-1800s settling in Peoria, Illinois, USA and in a step by step process I will:

  • Examine Pam’s online tree at
  • Work through the records and information that Pam has found to date.
  • Move forward with a sequence of best-practice research that all members in the Green Room should be able to copy for their own trees.

We also want to involve the members in this exercise.  What we want to try and see is just how far we can stretch the combined research knowledge and access to the records themselves that exists within the Green Room. 

If you like a Genealogy Guide with a difference!

We hope we will end up with a comprehensive research guide that all members can copy the process and research steps and apply the techniques and analysis to your own research.

Here’s what Pam has said in her introductory post:

You can find her post here 

Pam was also in contact with Mike directly, via the Green Room Contact Form, to say she felt “weary and frustrated”.  Pam’s grandmother had begun the research into the Laughlin family history back in the 1950s but was unsuccessful at making any meaningful progression.

Mike had a look at Pam’s tree, and was quick to spot a date that didn’t fit, here are his comments from the forum:

We can see from Pam’s response that her main source of information is Ancestry and although she was able to make a DNA connection no-one had anything much in the way of starting information that could confirm anything helpful.

Before beginning to review Pam’s tree and her information we asked Pam a few questions about what she hoped to get out of the investigation.

Here’s what Pam had to say:

“My hope when beginning this adventure was to learn as much as I could about my g-grandmother, Manna Maria Laughlin daily.  The only information I had was what she had told my grandmother.  I now have many doubts that these “facts” were true.

  1. Why would a wealthy family allow their young daughter to make a dangerous trip to America … possibly alone?
  2. She was unable to sign her name when her husband purchased property in Peoria, Illinois.  Wouldn’t a wealth young woman be able to read and write?
  3. It appears she may have married soon after arriving in America.  Was the marriage prearranged or might Anna have been an indentured servant?  There was a 10-15 year age difference between Anna and Peter.
  4. She instilled a love of Ireland in her grand daughter, my grandmother.  Why didn’t Anna leave more clues as to her past?  Could her past been one she wished to leave behind? “

Right – let’s roll up our sleeves and get started! Just click on the “next lesson” button below.

You can now Click here to comment on this Case-Study or ask further questions in the Green Room forum