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Researching Your Irish Past
There has never been a better time to research your Irish roots. There is a huge wealth of online resources and tools for people to research their Irish ancestors. Ireland is now one of the world leaders in providing online records of transcripts and certificates going back over hundreds of years.
It’s well known that Irish people emigrated across the world in their droves since the 1700s. The Irish Diaspora is huge. There are 35 million Irish-Americans living in the USA today. Many people cherish and pride themselves on their Irish ancestry.
Unfortunately for some the specifics of their Irish heritage has been lost between generations. The same stories are told but details of place names and family members have been forgotten over the years.
Thankfully there are online services like findmypast.ie. that can help you research your Irish past. They have twice as many records as any other Irish genealogy website going all the way back to the 19th Century.
If you’re interested in researching your family tree then there’s no better tool than findmypast.ie.
It’s helpful to have some nugget of information to get you on your family research journey. Canvass your family to find out what they know about your Irish ancestry. A surname or village name might be relevant to your family history research and help you on your way.
Start with what you already know and work from there.
How to find out more
For many the best place to start will be the Parish records. Churches kept records of christenings, communions, weddings etc. in Ireland which have been preserved until this day. These may be your best chances of finding your ancestors if they moved away from Ireland before the 20th Century.
Unfortunately a huge amount of Irish records were destroyed in 1922. Very few records from the 19th Century remain.
On the plus side, great records like the Farrar Index and the Memorial and Burial Register have all been maintained since the 17th Century and they are available to access on findmypast.ie.
As with any genealogy search luck plays a major role. There are a number of things to take into account here.
- In Pre-1900s Ireland, surnames weren’t that important. Spellings of the names may have changed or even invented in some cases so some ingenuity may be required when making your search.
- There are towns and villages across Ireland all sharing the same name. For example your ancestors could be from Ballina…but is it Ballina in Co. Tipperary or Ballina in Co. Mayo! Other examples include Aughrim (Galway & Wicklow), Newcastle (Dublin, Wicklow, Limerick, Down), Milford (Donegal & Cork), Johnstown (Kildare, Kilkenny, Meath).
- As we mentioned already, it is possible that important records were destroyed in the 1920s. However, if it has been saved then it is available on findmypast.ie.
Best of luck with your research journey!