JILLIAN VAN TURNHOUT NÉE HASSETT is a respected children’s and human rights expert. She is also a former Senator in the upper house of the Irish Parliament. Furthermore, she is a founder of Genealogy.ie
See her introduction on YouTube:
Throughout Jillian van Turnhout’s career, in both the private and public sector, her achievements have been recognised. This includes winning the Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award and Politician of the Year Award. In addition, the President of France recognised her work recently by awardeding her the Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite. This is the second highest national Order of France.
Parallel to this work, Jillian has been developing her skills as a genealogist. She has researched her own and clients’ family history throughout Ireland, the UK, USA and Canada. Jillian is passionate about family history and understands the richness and fulfilment that goes with finding out about your ancestors and their lives. She joins with other genealogists campaigning for the publication of the 1926 Census of Ireland.
Despite the current laws in Ireland presenting a number of roadblocks, Jillian van Turnhout has broken through barriers and assisted former adoptees in tracing their roots. During her time in the Irish Senate, Jillian championed the right of adoptees to have their right to identity firmly established in law.
Through her extensive voluntary and professional career, Jillian has developed an extensive network of contacts throughout Ireland. In 2010, Jillian received the ‘Freedom of Killarney’, County Kerry.
Jillian van Turnhout has attended many genealogy conferences and seminars in Ireland, the UK and USA. This includes Roots Tech in Salt Lake City, the largest family history event in the world.
In the words of Roots author Alex Haley “In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage – to know who we are and where we have come from.” Jillian has therefore decided to dedicate herself full time to bringing the richness of your Irish family history to life for you.
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Martello towers are small defensive round towers that were built across the British Empire during the 19th century. They were named after the “Torra di Mortella”, which in 1794 kept an entire British fleet at bay for two days. It was captured in the end, and the British marveled at the fact that this small fort with only a few men had resisted for so long. So they decided to copy it.
In Dublin they were built after the French Revolution, to ward off a potential invasion. Most towers have 2 floors and are approximately 40 feet/12 meters high. They would be guarded by a small garrison of about 20 men, commanded by 1 officer. The officer would be responsible for the health and well being of the men. He would normally reside downstairs, where he could keep an eye on the stocks and weapons.
Because the towers were round, and were constructed of very thick walls of solid masonry, they could withstand cannon fire. At the same time, their height made them an ideal platform for a single heavy artillery piece. This cannon could be found on the flat roof. It could be turned and thus cover a large area. By building a string of these towers, with overlapping ranges, they covered the entire Dublin coast.
In Dublin they never fired a shot in anger and they became obsolete towards the end of the 19th Century. Quite a few have survived to this day, like the one in Seapoint, pictures of which you can see on the page. We visited this tower as part of the Summer Heritage program of the Dun Laoghaire County Council.
For a YouTube video impression of the Seapoint tower, click on the link (opens in a new window).
Another tower is open all year, as it is now a museum dedicated to James Joyce. Admission is free. Follow this link for more information
We hope you enjoyed these photos and the story. Why not have a look at the rest of our website?
Genealogy.ie believes that your family story is not just about names and dates of people in your family tree. We think it is also about the places where they lived and worked, the houses they lived in. This is why, when we search Irish ancestry for our clients, we also offer Irish local history research and investigation. In most cases our research is into the history of a house or farm. But it can also be a village or even an event. Depending on records available this gives you a picture of how your ancestors would have lived. And thus add colour to your Irish family history.
Take Marley House. Up to quite recently it was a large demesne (mansion house which was also a working farm, albeit a large one). Watch our short presentation:
Marley as a land holding traces its origins back to the Anglo-Norman times. The Fleming family were the first owners, followed by by the Cistercian religious order. Religious orders were the biggest landowners at the time. King Henry VIII abolished them and resold the lands he took. The new owner was called Taylor.
He build the older farmhouse, a large part of it still in existence (courtyard). It was then bought by a series of families who used the property as their ‘out of town’ refuge. Living in the growing city of Dublin was unhealthy. Therefore rich families bought farms and lands and constructed mansion houses in the immediate environs of the city. The area around Marley was very popular as it was at the foot of the Dublin and Wicklow mountains. This not only had fresher air but also offered stunning views. The first of these families built Marley House.
This was actually the name of the wife of the owner, a bishop’s daughter. His own name was LaTouche. His family were Huguenots who had fled France. They started as weavers but became a wealthy banking family. After a few different families had owned the property, the last of them, the Tedcastle family, sold it to the local council who has turned the gardens into a great public park and is in the process of restoring the house. This spring free tours are available to see the inside of the ground floor of the house.
Are you interested in investigating this side of your family story? Follow this link to find our more about our service:
Michael van Turnhout, from Genealogy.ie, believes that tracing Irish family history should not just be about names and dates of people in your family tree. We think it is also about the places where they lived and worked, the houses they lived in. This is why we offer Irish local history research and investigation. In most cases our research is into the history of a house or farm. But it can also be a village or even an event. Depending on records available this gives you a picture of how your ancestors would have lived. And thus add colour to your family history.
Michael van Turnhout is a published Irish local history researcher. See his introductory video below:
Michael has completed work on houses, villages and even schools. In one case he was able to go back to 1279. In another research project he illustrated the change of a rural village into a suburban one due to the coming of railways. This – then – modern means of transport brought in speculators and developers, who bought and sold land. And brought in the builders of the house that was the research subject. All of this happened in the 1850’s. Times have not changed that much!
If you are interested in investigating this side of your family story, Michael is happy to discuss any potential research subjects with you. We will then carry out a free preliminary check to see if there are sufficient sources available to do research on and give you a cost proposal. The findings will be presented to you in an attractive booklet with photographs, maps and copies of relevant records; it is not just a house history with a list of dates and events.
We can also create a presentation in a slideshow or PowerPoint format so you can show your family and friends.
Are you considering getting help with tracing your Irish family history? It pays to get a professional specialist to search Irish ancestry for you.
With over 10 years of experience in Irish family history search and local history research, Jillian and Michael are specialists in the field.
Jillian and Michael have left no stone unturned in search of family members and stories. They have traveled throughout Ireland to find sources that can only be viewed locally. They have met with family members, as well as with local people and historians. And they have trawled through archives. In short, they have been more than willing to go the extra mile to find out a minute detail or secure a missing photo.
If you are just starting your Irish family history search, they can show you the way with an initial investigation. And point out avenues for further research and give advice on how best to proceed. Alternatively they can do the search Irish ancestry for you.
If you already have a family tree but just cannot find that elusive Irish ancestor, they can help filling in that gap.
If you have hit a brick wall, or do not know what to do next, they can help you move forward.
They can also verify your family history research for you, to ensure you have found the right people.
They can travel to places where your ancestors lived or are buried. You will receive a detailed description, complete with photo’s.
They can also enrich your family tree with local history research. This can be the history of an area where your ancestors lived, a village, or even the history of a house of farm, if available.
Finally, they can help you put your family history in a great looking presentation. This can be a slide show, video or booklet. Great for that next family gathering or as a personal gift.