People with Irish roots have never had a better time to start searching for their Irish ancestors than they do today. With all the top notch tools and resources available to any researcher, it can now be said that Irish family history can actually be a delight, if not, down-right fun!
Let’s stroll briefly through a few nifty websites you’ve got to know about that will ramp-up your skill levels and help quench the anxious yearning to know more about your Irish kin in the beautiful land known also as The Emerald Isle.
Every click of the mouse with the following websites reveals amazing resources and hidden treasures that are not well known to the general public. So get comfortably seated, and start clicking away at all of the following terrific website offerings, as listed below.
General and County Research Information
Information about each one of Ireland’s counties, online databases and available resources are found at:
- Wiki.Familysearch.org: Gateway to links to important content and resources online, with descriptive data, detailed steps on doing research at the general (national), county and parish levels.
- GenUKI.org.uk: Descriptive historical summaries of places with lots of miscellaneous additional data.
- IrishTimes.com: Contains several outstanding resources researchers need in order to pursue Irish ancestry in a given county. It includes civil and Roman Catholic parish boundary maps, surname distribution, etc.
- JohnGrenhamswebsite: Gateway site to numerous county links.
Archives and Libraries
- Google– Find numerous treasures by searching on following terms, i.e.: town/parish, baptisms, etc.
- The National Library of Ireland– Chief repository of microfilmed Roman Catholic parish registers. (98%) for all of Ireland; will be publishing the images to same, in 2015 (free).
- National Archives of Ireland– Some significant online databases for important record sources.
- County local archives and libraries – Lists each county archive and more.
- CoraWeb – Significant gateway website to numerous county and parish data-rich sites.
Each Irish county has some significant resources for obtaining cemetery information. Here are some compiled cemetery links for ancestry in county-wide databases or otherwise extant:
- Internment.net– A gateway web site with some links to Irish places
- John Grenham’s Excellent Web Site
- FamilySearchCatalog(From 1864 to 1958); visit any county and click “Cemeteries for numerous available titles on microfilm and which can be ordered to any FamilySearch Center (Family History Center).
Census records for the whole country were mostly destroyed prior to 1901. The only two sole surviving ones include:
“Fragments” describes the very few surviving census records which began as early as 1821, and with much valuable data. These are available here (with map images).
Griffiths Valuations were created for taxation and local population studies and reforms. While they contain no valuable genealogical details, they can be used to great advantage in lieu of absent census records for locating surname distribution, and pointing heads of households by name to pinpoint or localize familial places of settlement within a county and area or parish. Here are two excellent websites with free access:
- Failteromhat.com– You’ll love its many online (free) record transcription offerings.
- AskAAboutIreland.ie– Griffiths Valuations transcriptions & old ordnance survey maps for Ireland.1848-1864.
- Tithe Applotments: – At FamilySearch.org, like Griffiths but 1818-1831.
- Tithe Applotments: – At the National Archives like Griffiths (1818-1831).
Church of Ireland
The Representative Church Body Library has just about all surviving Church of Ireland registers. Some transcriptions are available at:
- Rootsireland– Online transcriptions are in-process of being transcribed.
- The local parish – (See the publication, Crockford’s Clerical Dictionaryavailable at FHL, some college/university/research libraries)
- Family History Library (FamilySearch.org) – See the Catalog for Irish parish or county records availability (see under civil parish name).
- IrishGenealogy.ie– Has some Dublin City Church of Ireland parish register transcriptions online, free.
The vast majority of Presbyterian chapel registers have never been centrally archived, and thus are found in various locations. Regrettably, preservation of these precious records and the rich Presbyterian heritage of local Presbyterians as well as descendants of same at large with roots originating from Ireland, are at risk unless and until such time when all of these registers are centralized or, at least copied into microform or, better–digitized and preserved.
You must conduct exhaustive, thorough studies to determine to which Presbyterian denomination your ancestor belonged; and to then, determine the whereabouts of surviving registers–if any. The following most likely places to find and search Presbyterian registers starts with checking the following locations:
- PRONI (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland)– Holds copies to hundreds of Presbyterian chapels throughout especially Northern Ireland, making it the most important archive for these records.
- The local Presbyterian congregation/church (if still in use); search (i.e. Google!) online for a chapel website and its history for clues.
- Distant Presbyterian chapels (if the local chapel closed).
- Town libraries.
- County archives/libraries/Presbyterian Historical Societyof Ireland.
- The National Archives, Dublin
- The National Library of Ireland
- The excellent rootsireland web site holds modest offerings for transcribed Presbyterian registers, currently; more are following. Keep checking back periodically.
- The FHL (Family History Library) has some transcription copies of Presbyterian chapels. Search under the name of the civil parish.
The rootsireland web site holds Methodists registers for some congregations on-line for only a few chapels in Ireland, from as early as about 1800.
Here is some great news: The National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin has just recently announced it will be publishing digital images of its vast Roman Catholic parish registers collections, online—for free—commencing in July, 2015. New information is forthcoming about this marvelous project, shortly. Visit their official website for more details.
Their collections for the Roman Catholic faith provides 98 percent coverage of all Ireland parish registers. There will be no index to these registers, at least initially (see websites below).
The FHL (Family History Library) has copies of some of the original Roman Catholic parish registers for the country parishes in its microfilm collection. You can identify these listed online at FamilySearch.org. If you know the name of the civil parish in which your Catholic ancestor resided, or was from, click “Catalog” and type in the name of the parish and then highlight/click on “Church Records”.
The following websites have data from numerous Roman Catholic parishes now on-line for searching.
- Rootsireland web site– fees are about $4.50 for each entry.
- Irishgenealogy.ie – numerous Co. Cork and Kerry Catholic parish transcriptions (free!)
- FamilySearch.org – has indexed a few parish registers throughout Ireland
- Ancestry.ie– publishing numerous online Catholic parish registers
- Google – the search terms—“Catholic”, [i.e.] “baptisms” or “marriages”, and then [name of] place or parish
Useful Church Records Web Sites
- GenWeb Ireland– has numerous online links to data-rich lists of Irish families.
- John Grenham’s web site– has several helpful links for Irish names.
- Civil Registration of births marriages and deaths– Online search in the Protestant marriages from 1845 to 1864.
- FHLFavorites.info– Gateway website with thousands of links to Irish web pages.
Civil Registration of Births, Marriages & Deaths
Government-sponsored registration of births, marriages and deaths began in 1845 (Protestant marriages only) and 1864 (whole population). To find information on the vital events of your Irish ancestor, check out these helpful websites for obtaining critical information.
- Ancestry.co.uk– Millions of entries to Irish births, marriages and deaths from 1845-1858.
- FamilySearch.org– Has online indexes for births, marriages and deaths; click “All Records Collections”, then scroll down to and click “Ireland Civil Registration Indexes, 1845 to 1959″.
- To obtain certificates of birth, marriage or death for your ancestor[s], write to or contact the following record office; the cost is €10 (about $13) per certificate:
General Register Office, Government Offices,
Convent Road Roscommon.
Tel: +353 (0) 90 6632900
LoCall: 1890 252076
Fax: +353 (0) 90 6632999 – you can fax a certificate order via credit card
Fax: +353 (0) 90 6632988
There are fees for performing particular searches; see their website for further information.
- For obtaining certificates of birth, marriage and death post-1921 in Northern Ireland, you can go online and order/request same at the GRONI (General Register Office Northern Ireland).
- Here’s Jane Lyons’ web site with some Civil Registration Indexes to births, marriages and deaths for Ireland: http://www.from-ireland.net.
- FamilySearch.org/catalog: search and click “Genealogy” and/or “Pedigree” and/or “Biography”, [Name of} Civil Parish, etc.
- Jane Lyons’ website online
- Morris’ website for genealogy($).
- John Grenham’s webpage– click “Links”.
Here are two important place-name aids/tools for locating your Irish place and its parish jurisdiction[s]:
- List of All Townlands, Towns and Townships.– Click county; then click “Submit” to view a complete alphabetical listing of all townlands, towns and townships and the parishes in which they lay.
- Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel A. Lewis; at LibraryIreland.com. It provides a rich 1837 historical perspective of each Ireland parish and large township; great for determining which churches existed in each parish–Church of Ireland or Nonconformist.
- FamilySearch.org– Ireland.
Family history societies often publish helpful journals, transcripts, compiled genealogies and a host of helpful websites. They may have ongoing projects to transcribe records and create indexes. Most societies publish researchers’ queries in their journals and maintain lists of members’ research interests that may be helpful to you. You may want to join one of these societies, reap the benefits of their expertise and resources or support its efforts.
Here are some history societies that have holdings for many places in Ireland:
Here are some gateway websites with some excellent Irish County family data and resources for researchers:
- RootsChat – Resources and Help pages. (Free).
- Irish Times, also lists all county Heritage Centres’ addresses.
- RootsWeb.org– online resources.
- FHLFavorites.info Family History Library’s “Favorites” listing.
- Irish Mail Lists at RootsWeb.org: send any query to a list or group of those holding in-common ancestry and/or local history and genealogical records interests.
- FamilySearch.org – Ireland.
- Morris’ website for genealogy($).
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