Tracing Your Irish Ancestors
You can pursue your search yourself or engage a professional to
do it for you. In either case, there is basic information that it
is essential that you be able to provide.
A comprehensive reference is Tracing your Ancestors in Ireland,
a brochure published jointly by Bord
Failte and the Northern
Ireland Tourist Board. Among other publications that might be
helpful are John Grenham's Tracing your Irish Roots
and James G. Ryan's Irish Records.
Tracing your Ancestors in Ireland includes information
on bodies that will help your personal search, including the National
Library of Ireland (www.nli.ie),
the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) (www.proni.gov.uk),
registers/libraries of various church bodies and the umbrella organisation
for professional genealogical research services in the Republic
of Ireland and Northern Ireland, Irish Genealogy Ltd (www.irishgenealogy.ie).
Irish Genealogy Ltd's board is comprised of representatives from
various national institutions and bodies such as the Irish Family
History Foundation (IFHF), the Association of Professional Genealogists
in Ireland (APGI) and the Association of Ulster Genealogists and
Record Agents (AUGRA). IFHF members are local genealogy research
centres (found in virtually every county on the island), whose services
are available for a fee.
Among other Web site references that may be helpful are the General
Register Office www.groireland.ie/fees.htm
and the Linen Hall Library www.linenhall.com.
may also be helpful.
The basic information you need for successful research about an
ancestor who emigrated from Ireland would include: full name; approximate
birth date; county and parish of origin in Ireland; religious denomination;
occupation (farmer, tradesman, etc.) and background (wealthy, poor),
date of emigration from Ireland, names of ancestors parents;
and name of ancestors spouse and date and place of marriage.
Family sources of information include birth, marriage, death and
other local church and government certificates and records; old
letters, diaries and family bibles; military service records; emigrant
ship lists; newspapers and the early memories of the oldest
members of your family.
While some records have been lost in the various upheavals of Irish
history, the main sources of genealogical information Ireland and
Northern Ireland are: civil records of birth, marriage and death;
church records of baptism and marriage; land/property valuation
records; and census returns. Other sources generally found to produce
more limited results include land deeds and wills.