About us

Our story

Ancestor Network was founded by John Hamrock who has always had a passion for Irish family history.  He was born and grew up in Boston, Massachusetts, a city hugely influenced by the Irish Diaspora.  His mother was a native Irish speaker who emigrated from Connemara, County Galway in 1940.  His father was also born and grew up in Boston and his parents were from Mayo and Sligo. John moved to Ireland in 1988 and went on to complete an Irish genealogy qualification. He and his co-founders and team at Ancestor Network share that same passion, not only for Irish genealogy and history, but in helping others discover their Irish roots. 

That is why Ancestor Network has evolved into four primary service areas: family history research, probate research, advisory and educational services, and publishing Irish genealogy guides – all with the aim of helping others discover their Irish roots and heritage, with passion and dedication.

Who we are

Ancestor Network Limited, Ireland’s leading provider of professional genealogy and probate research.  We are made up of the largest team of experienced, qualified, professional and expert genealogists across the island of Ireland. Collectively, our genealogists have over 450 years’ research experience.

Our unique panel of experts can provide an unmatched experience for the customer – whether an individual, a family, a business or an institution.

Ancestor Network timeline

Ancestor Network established

Deirdre Breen, Aidan Feerick and John Hamrock founded Ancestor Network in Dublin

RTÉ collaboration

Served as primary genealogy research provider to The Genealogy Roadshow released by RTÉ

National Library collaboration

First appointed by National Library of Ireland to provide genealogy advisory service

The Year of the Gathering

Managed mobile unit for The Kerry Genealogy Roadshow with over 5,000 visitors

Provided training for County Monaghan 'Home to the Little Hills' programme for over 250 people

Launch of Probate Genealogy service

Initiated probate genealogy research services for heir hunters and law firms

Merged with specialist publishing company

Merged with Flyleaf Press, specialist publisher of Irish genealogy research guide books

Established Northern Ireland branch

Ancestor Network Northern Ireland Branch formally launched in Titanic Quarter, Belfast, following Brexit referendum

Strategic investment in Trace.com

Strategic investment made in Ancestor Cloud Inc of Provo, Utah which manages Trace.com, online genealogy marketplace

RootsTech participant

Participated in Trace.com's Coaches' Corner at RootsTech Salt Lake City

Launched online genealogy services
Launched online genealogy advisory and training services in response to the Covid-19 pandemic
Book distribution alliance with Ulster Historical Foundation

Established book distribution alliance with Ulster Historical Foundation, offering a comprehensive island of Ireland solution

Partnerships with county libraries

Managed online genealogy training workshops for Wicklow County Library Service with over 500 participants and more in progress

A little more about us

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Our Directors

Hilary Mc Donagh BA


Hilary McDonagh BA, Post Graduate Diploma Marketing, Diploma in Genealogy, University College Dublin. Member of Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI) and Association of Professional Genealogists (USA) (APG) Hilary is Research Coordinator and a Director of Ancestor Network Ltd. She is also a researcher and speaker.

Aiden Feerick BA

Director, Co-Founder

Aiden Feerick BA, Certificate in Genealogy, University College Dublin, Member of Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI) and Association of Professional Genealogists (USA) (APG). Aiden is a speaker, teacher and researcher. He is also joint founder and Director of Ancestor Network Ltd.

James Ryan Ph.D


James Ryan Ph.D. is an author, speaker, writer and publisher. He founded Flyleaf Press which has since merged with Ancestor Network Ltd. Along with being editor of Flyleaf Press, he is a Director of Ancestor Network Ltd. His works include: Irish Records – Sources for Family & Local History, Tracing your Dublin Ancestors, Irish Church Records, Sources for Irish Family History, and Tracing your Sligo Ancestors.

Deirdre Breen BA, MA, LLB

Director, Co-Founder

Deirdre Breen BA, MA, LLB, joint founder and Director of Ancestor Network. With her legal background, Deirdre manages relationships with barristers, law firms, and solicitors in Ireland and abroad.

Michael Rooney BA


Michael Rooney holds a B.A. from Queens University in Ancient History and Byzantine Studies, and from the University of Durham, a Postgraduate Certificate in Education and a Postgraduate Diploma in Education. Michael is a researcher and speaker, specialising in tracing families from the Northern Ireland.


John Hamrock BSc, MBA,

Managing Director, Co-Founder

John Hamrock BSc, MBA, Diploma in Genealogy, University College Dublin, Chairman of the Genealogy Society. John is an author (Tracing your Roscommon Ancestors), researcher and speaker. He is also Managing Director and joint founder of Ancestor Network Ltd.

Our Team

In addition to the Directors, Ancestor Network has a team of 20 genealogists who are located across the island of Ireland. They have specialist expertise in areas such as church records, land records as well as probate and general research. 

With the largest team of genealogists in Ireland Ancestor Network can scale its capabilities to deliver on your project needs.

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