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Masters in the History of Family-Postgraduate graduate profile: Una Costello

Una Costello is a professional genealogist living in Ballina, Co Tipperary, who has set up her own genealogy research business: Celtic Genealogy (www.celticgenealogy.ie ). Una describes how the Masters in History of Family at UL helped her in her current career in geneology and the historical research surrounding this.

Una Costello, Graduate of the MA in History of the Family, UL

What made you choose the MA in History of Family at UL?

I have always had an interest in genealogy and had researched my own family’s history. I found that I had many unanswered questions about what my ancestors’ lives were really like and I wished to further my academic learning. I chose the MA in History of Family as it provided an historical examination of the lives of Irish families combined with the discipline of history. I am fortunate to live quite close to the University of Limerick so it was a wonderful opportunity to attend this programme.

I chose the MA in History of Family as it provided an historical examination of the lives of Irish families combined with the discipline of history.

What did you learn on the course?

Firstly, I learned research skills, which allowed me to examine and critique academic content through written and oral presentations. This skill would be enhanced during the year until eventually completing my dissertation on the farm and domestic servants of a rural townland in Tipperary between 1901 and 1911. Through lectures, discussions and field trips I learned about many facets of the social history of Irish families including education, health, religion, work and migration. The UL library provided many sources for study, which contributed greatly to the course. Finally, I also learned about historical theory, which underpinned my understanding of the history of family.

What is unique about the programme?

The MA in History of Family is available both on campus in the University of Limerick and also online, which provides a flexibility to students who may not live close to Limerick. The course is also unique in that it studies the social history of ordinary Irish people and combines it with the discipline of history. The course also includes field trips and attendance at academic conferences, which gives students the opportunity to attend lectures by many eminent historians.

Would you recommend the MA to others?

I would highly recommend this course to others as it is a wonderful learning experience. The calibre of teaching and support was exceptional whether a student chooses to study on campus or remotely. The skills and knowledge acquired on this course can lead to further academic study at PhD level or create work opportunities in a variety of fields including genealogy, local history and teaching. I would not hesitate in recommending this course to others.  

I would highly recommend this course to others as it is a wonderful learning experience. The calibre of teaching and support was exceptional whether a student chooses to study on campus or remotely.

What have you done post-graduation? 

After graduating in January 2018, I set up a genealogy business called Celtic Genealogy (www.celticgenealogy.ie ), which focuses on researching the family histories of my clients’ Irish ancestors. I research a client’s ancestry but also provide the social context of the period so that their ancestors’ lives can be better understood. The MA in History of Family taught me the research methods necessary to examine and apply social history to my genealogy research. My client base is both Irish and international, which shows the interest globally in family history.

To what extent did the MA in History of Family help you achieve this?

The MA in History of Family gave me the research skills and academic knowledge of Irish social history to allow me to set up my genealogy business. The course gave me the confidence to progress my interest in genealogy to providing a genealogy service to others; therefore, the MA in History of Family was instrumental in my decision to set up my business.

To find out further information about the MA in History of the Family at UL and to apply, please click here.

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