In the past ...
Ireland has a long history of professional genealogical
work. It is from the research notes of professionals
who operated prior to 1922 that we get most
of the information which survived the destruction
of the Public Record Office in Dublin in that
year. In the wake of that disaster professional
genealogists were heavily involved in the drive
to rebuild the records, both in Dublin and
Belfast, where another repository, the Public
Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI),
was established in 1924.
Because most genealogical sources have been centralised
in some shape or form in one of Dublin's five main
record offices or in PRONI, most professional researchers
have gravitated towards these two areas. From the
1940s to the 1980s the majority of those engaged
in professional research in Dublin were attached
to the Genealogical Office's freelance panel. Some
of the professionals in Belfast worked with PRONI's
research agency, while others operated independently.