Researching Irish Roots

Researching your Genealogy or family tree can be intriguing for some.
From poet or policeman to proprietor, the more you learn about your ancestors the more you want to know.

If your roots are embedded in Ireland, and you’ve begun to search your family tree, the recent announcement that over 10 million Catholic parish records, some dating back to the 17th century, have been digitised, indexed, and are currently available online, is welcome.

The records are free with and you can read more information at their blog. They are also offering free access to Irish records generally until the 7th of March. Ancestry have also made the records available so it’s an opportune time to start your search if you haven’t begun yet.

Catholic parish records can be interesting in that they can contain the names of both parents in some cases. Be aware that some records are in Latin which can make things confusing! The records can also contain names of godparents or those present who witnessed a baptism or marriage which can also help with research.

For those of you lucky enough to have ancestors in Cork, Kerry, Carlow or Dublin you’ve probably already used the existing free church records database at which covers some records in these areas. The civil records on this page are also helpful, but will not give you images of documents.

Those currently researching their Irish ancestors will be aware of the census records of 1911 and 1901 which can be found at the National Archives.

The process of researching your tree is a methodical one and can sometimes lead in many directions, often in error.
The best advice is to follow fact rather than fiction. Often research leads in the wrong direction or produces no results because of a story passed down through generations believed as family history, which turns out not to be true or incorrect.

Perhaps the best approach is to start with immediate family history and work backwards on dates from there, using information known to be true. Include mother’s maiden surname and search marriage, birth and death records to work back towards grandparents, their siblings and their parents and so on. Keep an open mind, and verify each record as you go, keeping the dates and family history in mind.

It can become a web of people you never knew existed with interesting stories if you choose to research beyond the records of births, marriages and deaths. To expand upon these stories one of many sources; Irish Newspaper Archives, can unfold interesting aspects of ancestors lives.
For example, once a record of death is obtained you may find a death notice in one of the newspapers at the time. For those who love historical topics generally, this is worth the subscription fee.

Other records which are incredibly useful are the Ireland Calendar of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1920 which are available on This website is a great source of information generally, and the calendar of wills can give insight into estates and to whom they were passed after an ancestors death.

If you have any information to assist others researching their Irish roots, please do comment below.




CC BY-NC 4.0 Researching Irish Roots by Liveireland is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


Author: liveIreland

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