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By Amber Lowery
Top o’ the morning to ye! Ah, yes, it is that time of year again. We drag out our greenest finery, hunt down shamrocks, and start cooking the corned beef and cabbage. We spout phrases like “Erin Go Bragh” and sing “Oh Danny Boy” at the top of our lungs. But did you know you can use the library to learn more about the lives and languages of the Emerald Isle?
Peoria Public Library has a subscription to an extraordinary database called Mango Languages. It has lessons for 71 languages currently, including Irish. The lessons are self-guided so you can study in your own time at your own pace. You can use your library card for guest access or sign up for free to keep track of your progress. Learning another language can be extremely useful when it comes to reading old records from our ancestors’ homelands.
We also have several databases to help with your genealogical research, such as AncestryLibrary, HeritageQuest, and Newsbank. Each of these can be extremely helpful in guiding you in your discovery of your ancestors and their lives. Find out how and when your ancestors came to America. Use the records to determine just how many of your ancestors came from Ireland.
Beyond the computer, we have books that tell of the Great Potato Famine and the immigration of the Irish people to America for all ages. The Local History and Genealogy area has a collection of articles and news pieces about prominent Irish folk who came to Peoria and made their home here. We have microfilm that covers global issues in history, telling the stories of the past. Through interlibrary loan, we can also access material from other libraries that may help you in whatever your quest may be.
Consider your ancestors and what they may have gone through to learn a new language in a new and strange homeland. Marvel at how resilient they were to thrive and survive. Study their history in our Local History and Genealogy collection. Learn about their lives here at the library. And, if you have any questions, feel free to come by the Main Library or our branches and ask our wonderful staff at the Peoria Public Library. We are here to help you find the information you seek. Sláinte.
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