Irish Family History: Getting Started

Within the first of six visitor posts on Researching your Irish Household Historical past,  Nicola Morris describes go about tracing your Irish ancestry.


The fallacy that I ceaselessly hear about Irish household historical past analysis is that it’s inconceivable as a result of the entire information have been destroyed. That is removed from true. Sure, some very important information have been destroyed, and these losses could make Irish household historical past analysis difficult and ceaselessly irritating, however there are many sources that do survive, you simply must know the place to search out them.

Let’s begin with what was truly destroyed and what survives. Probably the most vital lack of information for Irish family tree are the Nineteenth century census returns. A census was undertaken in Eire each decade from 1821. The returns for 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891 have been destroyed by Authorities order throughout the First World Conflict, presumably due to a paper scarcity. The remaining Nineteenth century returns from 1821 to 1851 have been largely destroyed within the 1922 Public Data Workplace hearth. Whereas this can be a great loss, it’s not insurmountable. Irish genealogists have spent the final century figuring out potential census substitutes that doc the inhabitants throughout the identical interval. The 1901 and 1911 census survives intact and efforts are underway to have the 1926 census launched by 2022.

The 2 different nice losses from the 1922 Public Data Workplace hearth are the massive portion of Church of Eire parish registers that have been destroyed and testamentary information. Nevertheless, as nearly all of the Irish inhabitants was Roman Catholic and few owned sufficient property to go away bequests, these information solely apply to a small portion of the Irish inhabitants.

The information for civil registration in Eire, which commenced in 1864 when it grew to become obligatory to register all births, deaths and marriages, survive in full. Roman Catholic parishes retained their very own information and though the extent of surviving information varies from parish to parish, practically each parish in Eire is documented from at the least the mid-Nineteenth century and in lots of instances from the 1830s and earlier. Many of those information at the moment are accessible on-line on quite a few completely different web sites and within the articles to observe we’ll take a a lot nearer have a look at discover and search these sources for proof of your Irish ancestors. 

Issues you might want to begin researching your loved ones in Eire

Earlier than beginning a seek for your loved ones in Eire it’s all the time smart to try to collect as a lot details about them as doable from the information for the nation wherein they settled. Analysis in Eire is most efficient for those who can deal with a particular space. Households with frequent surnames could be distinguished one from the opposite utilizing their deal with. Establishing a county, parish or city and deal with in your ancestors earlier than you begin analysis in Eire will make your analysis that little bit simpler.

It’s a good suggestion to try to set up the place and when your Irish ancestor was born and the names of their dad and mom and siblings and even prolonged household earlier than you begin. This assist to find the proper household in Eire and avoids the hazard of adopting the unsuitable Irish ancestors. I’ve met too many individuals who’ve plucked an individual out of a database of Irish information as a result of they’ve the proper identify and have been born at about the best time, however after years of analysis, prove to belong to a distinct household.

Attempt to find your Irish born ancestor in each UK census return. Returns for some years could state a county and even city of start in Eire. Whereas it could solely state Eire as a place of origin in 1881, the 1891 return or 1911 return could give a extra particular deal with.

Get hold of a wedding certificates in your Irish born ancestor in the event that they married within the UK, this could state their father’s identify and occupation and presumably whether or not the daddy was alive on the time of marriage. Test the civil marriage certificates to see if the couple married in a Roman Catholic Church. Some Roman Catholic parish marriage registers, significantly within the later Nineteenth century, recorded the names of each dad and mom of the bride and groom.

Newer loss of life certificates within the UK document a date and place of origin and the maiden identify of a married lady. Whereas the given dates of start should not all the time correct, they could be a good information for when your Irish ancestor was born.

Roman Catholic baptismal information for the youngsters of your Irish born ancestor ought to document the names of sponsors or Godparents to a baptisms. Sponsors with the identical surname could have been siblings of your ancestor who additionally emigrated. Census returns and marriage and loss of life certificates for siblings of your ancestor could comprise extra clues concerning the household’s origins in Eire. It is usually value on the lookout for the dad and mom of your Irish born ancestor in UK census returns. Whereas the dad and mom could not have emigrated with their kids, it’s not unusual to search out the widowed mom settling with one among her married kids within the UK later in her life, or following the loss of life of her husband in Eire. Cousins and aunts and uncles also can present up in census returns offering extra potential clues to your Irish born ancestor’s origins. 

Civil registration in Eire solely commenced in 1864 and is a whole document of all births, marriages and deaths from that date, though not all occasions have been registered with the civil authorities. If you could find a member of your Irish born ancestor’s household who might need been born or married in Eire after 1864, that is the individual to pursue first. For instance, must you discover a niece of nephew of your ancestor who was born in Eire in 1872 and resides in the home of your ancestor within the UK by 1891, they need to be pursued. If their Irish start certificates could be situated, it is going to present an deal with for his or her household, which could be very probably within the neighborhood of your personal ancestor’s household. This may let you focus your Irish analysis on information for a particular space. 

For instance, a person named James Kelly, was born in Eire in about 1858 and settled in England. Within the 1901 census his niece, Mary Gallagher, was residing in his family along with her husband and kids. Her kids have been born in England. A start certificates for one among Mary’s kids established her maiden identify was Cooney. No document was discovered for her marriage in England, however a search of the Irish civil marriage index discovered her marriage in Eire. The wedding certificates established her deal with and father’s identify. A document of her start was discovered, which confirmed her mom’s maiden identify as Kelly. The wedding of Mary’s dad and mom in Eire recognized the daddy of James Kelly and James’ sister’s household deal with. Though this was a round-about method of finding the household, we didn’t know sufficient about James Kelly from UK information to have the ability to find his start in Eire. It was the small print regarding his niece that recognized the proper household.

Exterior of enormous city areas like Manchester and Liverpool, it’s also value wanting on the different Irish emigrants who settled in the identical place. They could have come from the identical space in Eire. 

Researching the broader neighborhood and their origins could result in a particular location in Eire. Household or neighborhood teams could have emigrated to work in a particular trade. They could have been employed in the identical trade in Eire. It’s doable that they have been tenants of the identical landowner, who held property in each Eire and England.

Some occupational information can state a place of origin. British Military service information, for instance, ought to state the soldier’s county and parish of start in Eire.

After getting scoured UK information and constructed an in depth profile of your Irish born ancestor you’re prepared to begin trying to find proof of them in Eire.


Nicola Morris M.A.G.I is an expert genealogist and member of Accredited Genealogists Eire. She is the director of Timeline Research Ltd, one among Eire’s main genealogical analysis corporations. Nicola has undertaken the Irish analysis for WDYTYA? in the UK and US and has appeared in quite a few episodes. She was additionally the presenter of the first sequence of the Family tree Roadshow broadcast in Eire in 2011.

Subsequent week, Nicola explores Irish information of Civil Registration in additional element, together with the place to search out them on-line and ideas for get the very best out of the data accessible.