Category Archives: Heir Research

TGP 19 Eileen O’Duill – Probate Research

Featured Guest

Eileen Ó Dúill

Eileen Ó Dúill, has been a professional Irish genealogist since 1990, specializing in legal and probate genealogical research. She is currently the only Certified Genealogist in Ireland. She is a member of the Association of Professional Genealogists and served on the board of the as the International Trustee for Britain and Ireland (2007-2012).Eileen O'Duill - Heirs Ireland on The Genealogy Professional podcast

Eileen has lectured at national and international conferences in the US, Ireland, Canada and the U.K. from 1999 to 2014 and co-presented a webinar on Irish genealogical research for She was a course tutor and lecturer on the Diploma in Family History (Genealogy) at the Independent College, Dublin and currently teaches on the summer school programme at University College Cork. She has been admitted as an expert witness in the Surrogate Courts in 6 counties of New York.

Eileen was able to turn a lifelong hobby into a business providing a professional genealogical research service. Being an American living in Ireland for 39 years, has enabled her to have a unique perspective on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and an understanding of her fellow countrymen in their quest for their Irish heritage.

Contact Links

Heirs Ireland website

Other Links

Celtic Connections Conference, Waltham, MA – August 15 & 16, 2014

Back to Our Past, Dublin, Ireland – October 17-19, 2014

University of Cork, Genealogy Summer School program – June 29 – July 6, 2014

The Gathering, Ireland (2013)

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

“1) Get a copy of Professional Genealogy and 2) follow the Transitional Genealogists mailing list.

Recommended Book

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors by John Grenham

Productivity Tool

Drop Box – Tool for sharing large files


“Practice, Practice, Practice! Learn by doing. Get as much experience as possible.”

Action Item

This week, since Eileen and I talked quite a bit about public speaking, let’s warm up to the idea and get you thinking about incorporating public speaking into your offerings.  You won’t actually try to arrange any public speaking engagements. First we need to make sure you are prepared in advance.

ACTION: Before you can do any public speaking you need to get prepared with a potential talk, some equipment and a target venue. Here are the three steps for this week’s action item:

1) You Need a Talk

Think of a topic or project that you could turn in to a potential talk. If you are brand new to public speaking stick to a beginner topic or a subject that you know inside and out.

2) You Need Equipment

To do public speaking you will need to have a laptop computer (or borrow one) and have the corresponding software. For Windows computers this is typically PowerPoint. Keynote for Mac users. If you don’t have this equipment currently can you plan to get it in the future or can you borrow it for your talks?

3) You Need a Venue

Select a location to target for your first talk. Ideally it will be a local historical society, genealogical society or local library.  Hopefully you have already established some relationships with the folks in these organizations. If not, go back and do your networking first.


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TGP 11 Israel Pickholtz – Jewish Genealogy in Israel

Featured Guest

Israel Pickholtz

Israel Pickholtz – A Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-born genealogist who has been living in
Israel since 1973. His personal research includes single-surname research in Galicia (formerly Austria, now Ukraine) as well as families from Slovakia, Poland, Belarus, Hungary and later in the US, UK and Israel. From there he developed skills relating to more general Jewish genealogy, including Holocaust research.

Israel  has participated in grave translation projects, searches for missing relatives and Genealogist Israel PickholtzHolocaust-era insurance claims, as well as traditional genealogy research using European, American and Israeli sources.

His most frequent assignments from Israeli sources involve locating and photographing graves, locating living people, Mandatory Citizenship records, records for Galician residents in the 1920s and 1930s, inheritance matters and Holocaust research.

He has lectured at the International Association of Jewish Genealogical Societies (IAJGS) conferences on Jewish Genealogy in the United States, as well as other subjects in Israel.

Israel has served on the Board of the Israel Genealogical Society, as Secretary of Gesher Galicia and as Town Leader for Jewish Records Indexing-Poland (JRI-Poland). He currently serves as Secretary of the Professional Jewish Genealogists Group.

Contact Links

Israel Pickholtz on Twitter – @allmy4parents

Israel’s blog –

Israel Pickholtz on the Association of Professional Genealogist’s website

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

Comment on other people’s blogs. Put your name out in any way you can that doesn’t make you look like a fool.

Recommended Book

My 15 Grandmothers by Genie Milgrom

Productivity Tool

Drop Box – File Sharing
Gmail – Israel uses Gmail as a spam filter


“Write and write and write and get your name out there. If you can do a blog, do a blog.”

Action Item

Israel mentioned in the interview that he contacted me by leaving a comment on this blog.  This is a great idea to get started interacting with the genealogical community, both before and after you become a professional.

ACTION: Your action item this week is to start interacting with the genealogical community by leaving comments on other people’s blogs. First, target a type of blog that is of interest to you. Perhaps that would be an ethnic blog like an Italian genealogy blog or location focused such as one on the state of Nebraska.  Then go to, a blog directory site founded by Thomas MacEntee, to find blogs on your topic.

Next start to “follow” (read them regularly) those blogs. Notice how frequently they publish new posts.  Lastly, provide thoughtful responses in the comments to what you have read in the blog post.  You are now on your way to building relationships with others in the genealogical community!

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TGP 4: Kirsty Wilkinson – Scottish Records & Paleography

Featured Guest

Kirsty Wilkinson

Kirsty Wilkinson is the owner of My Ain Folk, a Scottish genealogy research firm.

Kirsty began researching her own ancestry when she was in her early 20s and soon Kirst Wilkinson My Ain Folk Genealogy - Scotlanddeveloped a passion for family history. She increased her knowledge of genealogical sources through personal and formal study and in 2006 launched My Ain Folk to assist others with tracing their ancestors. Since then she has gained many hours of practical research experience in Scottish archives and record repositories and helped clients worldwide to discover their own family story.

She has a particular interest in paleography (old handwriting) which enables her to carry out research in pre-1700 records and to transcribe handwritten documents from the 1500s-present. Another specialisation is heir- or descendant-tracing and locating living relatives. She has successfully located heirs to estates on behalf of probate research firms in the UK, Europe, Asia and the US and enabled private clients to reconnect with long-lost cousins.

Learn more about Kirsty at her website

One Action Genealogists Can Take Right Now

Set realistic fees and work out how much you can realistically make.

Recommended Book

Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors, the Official Guide, 6th Edition, by the National Records of Scotland

Productivity Tool

Kirsty does use Dropbox but she is otherwise fairly low tech.


“Just do it. Don’t let anyone tell you that you’re wasting your time.”