Are You Ready to Research in Ireland?
I’ve spent this year taking you through a strategy for researching your Irish ancestors which I hope has been helpful to you. So are you ready to continue your research by visiting Ireland? A trip to Ireland is a wonderful experience whether you’re researching or just taking in the beautiful country. For those considering a research trip, it's important to do your homework. To be successful researching in Ireland it's all about location, location, location. If you're still looking for a location, check out some of my blogs on the topic by clicking on "More" in the menu line above that starts with "All Posts" and select "Finding a Locality in Ireland."
I've mentioned my first trip to Ireland a number of times in various blogs, and although I can't say I accomplished a great deal of research, it was a wonderful experience. It made me want
to return (more prepared) to continue. I returned from that trip with mostly photographs of my daughter standing next to signs of where we thought we had ancestors! All four of my husband's grandparents and two of mine were late 19th or early 20th century immigrants, so I was able to visit the General Register Office (which has moved three times since I started researching) to obtain birth, death and marriage certificates. Today, most of those records, including images are online. (We're still waiting for Protestant Marriages 1845-1863 and Deaths 1864-1877 to be uploaded.) On my first visit I had the county names of where everyone had come from (although some of the specifics on the localities within the counties turned out to wrong). Records left by your ancestor may name the closest large town or city, rather than their townland.
If you know at least the county where your ancestors lived, and hopefully don’t have a very common surname, start with what records are available for the county. John Grenham’s book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors (5th edition), provides a chronological list of surviving records by county. You can also check out his website. If you're not familiar with it, I've written two blogs about using it..IrishAncestors (when you know the locality and IrishAncestors when you only know the county. Also check out the books published by Flyleaf Press(Tracing Your ______ Ancestors) to see if they have published a book on your county. Roman Catholic records can start anywhere from the late 1700s to the late 1800s. About two-thirds of the Church of Ireland records were destroyed in the Public Records Office fire in 1922. Presbyterian records were not required to be kept until 1820 (although some earlier records exist. Before you search, check to make sure that records exist for the time and place of your ancestor.
If your ancestors were from Ulster (Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry or Tyrone, since 1922 part of Northern Ireland; or Donegal, Cavan or Monaghan, since 1922 part of the Republic of Ireland, check out William Roulston's excellent book Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors. This book was updated in October of 2018 and although the title refers to Scots-Irish (Protestant) because of it's listings of estate records it's appropriate for anyone researching in Ulster.
Researching with a group on your first trip can be a great way to become familiar with the resources. If Ireland is on your bucket list, check out the 2019 Ireland Research Trips scheduled for October. (Dublin is full, but there are still spaces left for Belfast.) I'll be posting the 2020 schedule shortly (spoiler alert: the Dublin trip will be October 17-24, 2020).
If you’re going to Ireland on your own, and want to visit some of the repositories while you’re there, consider setting up a consultation by emailing me (which you can do from the Ireland Research Trip page. I can provide you with some pointers on where to go while you’re there.
Whether you go with a group, or on your own, I’m sure you’ll fall in love with Ireland.
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