Conan O’Brien talks Irish genealogy with Lisa Kudrow

Conan O’Brien talks about some of the struggles of tracing Irish genealogy with “Who Do You Think You Are?” producer Lisa Kudrow.

Conan was asked to be a part of the show, which traces the ancestry of celebrities, but tracking his past proved to be too hard even for Kudrow and her show’s experts.


Conan and Kudrow are obviously joking around but really do touch on some of the struggles Irish historians have faced.

What are some of the stumbling blocks you and your loved ones have encountered when tracing your roots? Make sure to let us know and thanks for following along!


Source:  Team Coco on YouTube

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6 Responses to “Conan O’Brien talks Irish genealogy with Lisa Kudrow”

  1. I’m an Irish immigrant , 3 years in Canada. doing stand up to Stamp out the casual
    Racism the Irish face 😉

  2. Funny, but so true! I can’t even get past NYC with my Irish ancestors. So many people with the same name!!!

  3. Maureen Mahon Montgomery Reply August 22, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    My Mom’s parent’s came from Ireland, and my Grandmother’s family paper’s ,I heard were burned in a church fire. but , I did get my grandfather’s birth date.and I did get my grandmother’s sister who was born in Scranton ,Pa. but, that’s all nothing on her parents.

  4. My Mother’s maternal side starting with my great grandmother came from Donegal. It’s been a challenge but with a rather well written obituary on my great grandfather and a lot of work I now am back to my 3 times great grandfather after 5 years along with my great great grandmother’s parents. Still trying to trace my Irish great great grandfather.

  5. With little information commercial ancestral DNA testing is the way to go. That would pinpoint an origin within Ireland for Conan’s ancestors.

  6. I think many of us have common problems. One is the issue of missing traditional documentation in critical years – parish registers, census records, vital records. Many of us fall into “gap years”, pre-civil registration. Before 1864, the records are virtually non-exist and have been lost, neglected, or destroyed. Critical documentation for search periods between the 1850s and 1860s just don’t exist except for the Valuation which does not list family members. It does not prove relationships within families. And while the NLI Catholic records is a boon for researchers and does reveal new areas to search, it’s far from complete. For many people with Irish ancestry,this is an almost insurmountable problem. Secondly, is incomplete documentation in American records which only list county information or even worse, just Ireland. These also include vital records, census, and naturalization records. Earlier passenger records are minimal and it’s only later immigration records that offer more data such as townlands and Irish contacts. We are constantly struggling with these issues and family intermarriages with cousins who are bear common names such as John, James, Patrick, Mary, Catherine and share the same surnames. For me, a partial answer was confirmed through DNA matching which tied relatives together and confirmed my search area. So I’m tracing collateral lines to help prove my own brick walls. But if we are to help Irish researchers, more data needs to be available and special programs put in place to find, recapture and restore lost data, especially in the rural areas. After 100+ years, that may be extremely difficult, not not impossible. After all, in Massachusetts, town vital records over 200+ years were discovered in a outdoor flea market and in another case, vital records found in the attic of descendants of the local minister.

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