Genealogy Services

at the Maine Irish Heritage Center

Genealogy research has become the number one pastime in the world! Are you interested in family history? Do you need some guidance with your Irish research? Would you like to review your DNA results with an administrator of our Maine Gaeltacht DNA project?

Ask Us a Question

Genealogy Research at the Maine Irish Heritage Center

The Maine Irish Heritage Center (MIHC) has deeply experienced volunteer genealogists who will be happy to guide you in your search! This is a great way to work on your family tree while helping to raise funds for the MIHC for programming and further enhancement of our Genealogy and DNA research department.


$80/hour for non-members
$40/hour for members

THURS 10 – 2 PM

$25 for non-members
Free for members


If you are new to the Maine Irish Heritage Center, becoming a member is easy! Click here for membership information.

Get Started in our Library

If you want to get started on your own or need access to specialized databases, bring your laptop to our library on Thursdays from 10 to 2, where you can access four special Ancestry resources with records unavailable to the general public. Space is limited to 8 researchers per session so please reserve using this link to save your seat. These include American Ancestors, Ancestry Library Edition, My Heritage Library Edition, and FamilySearch. We also have a vast database of Maine obituaries that you can search. If you can’t bring a laptop, you can reserve our genealogy workstation which includes all the special databases plus resources like,, and FindMyPast.

If your ancestors were from the Portland area, we also have numerous yearbooks and city directories going all the way back to the 1800s.

Book A Consultation

It’s well worth booking a one-hour consultation to see how we can help you in your search. You’ll start by completing a Genealogical Backgrounder and uploading any family trees or relevant documents that you have. We’ll evaluate this and be well prepared for your visit. The more detailed information you provide to us, the better we can help you. Although we are well versed in all areas of Ireland, our two areas of concentration are Connemara County Galway and the Irish of Maine.

Offsite research may be required beyond the Portland area and will be determined on a case-by-case basis. Any outside fees that are incurred for travel or for purchasing vital records during the research process would be in addition to the hourly fee. We work closely with you for approval if this is necessary.

Our library/genealogy center is open to the public on Fridays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Genealogists are available by appointment and walk-ins are assisted during this time on a first come first serve basis. It would be most helpful if you complete and submit your genealogy research form before you visit. If you want to take advantage of the 50% member discount on research hours, you should join online before you visit.

If you live a distance away and are not able to visit, we are happy to schedule a video consultation.

Our research archives hold some St. Dominic’s records as well as thousands of Historical obituaries which you may request. We also have a database of Portland and Maine Irish family names that may also be searched by our specialists for you. If you would like to take advantage of these services, please contact us for a fee schedule. These records will be searched automatically as part of the above-listed research fee.

We have St. Dominic’s school records from approximately 1918 to 1930, school yearbooks for various Portland high schools, and many Portland city directories. These are available for use by the public during our Friday open hours.

We hope that you will take advantage of our services and enjoy being part of the MIHC family.


Gift the Gift of Family

No matter where you are in your ancestry journey, we have great gift ideas.

If you are just starting out, take a DNA test, It will uncover matches around the globe and give you an idea of the regions of the world that you hail from. To dive deeper, you can purchase research credits to work with our genealogy team by appointment.

Member Benefits!

  • Reduced rate to use Genealogy Research Station during Library Hours by reservation
  • Maine Irish Heritage Center members benefit from 50% discount on genealogy consults
  • Free use of the library to access online research resources like FamilySearch, Ancestry Library Edition, and American Ancestors (non-members $25)
  • 10% discount on books

Research Your Family in Three Easy Steps

Step 1

The Genealogy Research Station is avialable on Thursdays from 10 -2 and the Genealogists work with clients on Fridays from 10-2.

Step 2

Purchase Genealogy Research Credits for the appointent type that you have booked. Remember – Members save 50%!

Step 3

If you have booked a Genealogy appointment, please complete the intake form. It’s helpful to have it one week before your visit.

Maine Gaeltacht DNA project

Consultation hours are Fridays 10:00 am-2:00 pm by appointment.

MIHC Genealogist, Margaret Feeney LaCombe, founded the Maine Gaeltacht DNA Project in 2011. The project has been successfully connecting cousins in Greater Portland, in Maine, around the country and around the world. The test type we use is an autosomal test called “Family Finder.” The cost is a one-time $79 plus shipping. There are no subscription fees.

This test procedure is very simple, just a swab of your cheeks with a cotton swab. Results will post within six to eight weeks.

Our genealogists

Matthew Jude Barker

Matt is a lifelong resident of Greater Portland and graduated from South Portland High School in 1992. He has been a genealogical and historical research since 1981. Since 1996, Matt has been the author of Maine history articles for many magazines, including Portland, Galway Roots and Discover Maine. He was a contributing writer to several books, including They Changed Their Sky, the Irish in Maine (2004) and John Ford in Focus (2008). He is currently working on a history of the Portland Irish during the Civil War. Matt is the writer and compiler of The Downeast Shamrock, an Irish genealogy newsletter, and the Maine Irish Heritage Trail. In 2012, he received a “40 Under 40” award from the Irish Echo.

Deb Sullivan Gellerson

Deb has had an interest in Irish family history for many years. As a tribute to her parents, she and her siblings researched their Joyce line back to Galway. As a result, all 8 of the Sullivan siblings received their Irish citizenship together at the Boston Consulate in 2001 which is an accomplishment that she is very proud of. Deb has done presentations for the Maine Irish Heritage Center with fellow volunteers in Ireland and all over New England. Deb enjoys her many Volunteer opportunities at MIHC which include being involved with organizing our MIHC parade floats, volunteering at weddings and other events and her work with the genealogy and DNA departments. Other passions include spending time with her grandchildren, hiking in National Parks and enjoying the many outdoor activities that the State of Maine offers.

Helen Donahue Frazier

Helen is a Maine Irish Heritage Center volunteer genealogist and administrator for the Aran Islands-Galway DNA project through Family Tree DNA.
Before joining MIHC she was a public speaker and environmental educator with birds of prey, teaching across the state of Maine to children and seniors alike about the impact we have on our surroundings and its effect on wildlife.

Born and raised in Portland Maine, Helen knew little of her Irish roots until she found herself with extra time on her hands when her daughter went off to college. Helen started searching for the Irish ancestors she knew came to Portland in the early 1800’s. Twenty years later, after many dead ends in burned, lost or inaccurate records, DNA has helped Helen find many Connemara and Aran Island cousins. Helen is committed to helping others find their Irish roots through DNA, and continuing to trace her own roots back to the green hills and smiling eyes.

Margaret Feeney Lacombe

Margaret Feeney Lacombe is a Cathedral High School (Portland) and University of Maine Orono graduate. She has 30-plus year researcher of the Irish in Maine and their descendants and cousins all over the United States, from Massachusetts to Minnesota to California. Through her research, she created the genealogy database used at the Maine Irish Heritage Center to help patrons make connections and expand family trees. Margaret currently focused on genetic genealogy and DNA testing and is the administrator of the Maine Gaeltacht project.

Maureen Coyne Norris

Maureen is a Maine Irish Heritage Center(MIHC) Founding Board Chair as well as an Ambassador to the Emigration and Diaspora Centre in Carna, Galway, Ireland. She is a core team member of MIHC’s Genealogy Department and the Maine Irish Gaeltacht DNA project. Maureen has had a life-long love of her Irish heritage. Her personal family research has grown to include Connemara genealogy for families on both sides of the pond. Her true love is to uncover the family stories that arise from DNA connections. Maureen is a Portland, Maine native and a graduate of the University of Maine.
The MIHC is proud to announce that Maureen was recently recognized by the Irish Echo newspaper for her work with the Diaspora. In November 2017 she was honored at a ceremony in Boston and presented with a Golden Bridges award.