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Best Genealogy Sites for Irish Research: Where your ancestor lived

Do you search at the same places, perhaps at one of the Genealogy Giants, over and over again just hoping that something new will pop up? Perhaps it's time to expand your research, but where else to look? Back in the early 2000s I encouraged researchers to look at the USGenWeb to find those nuggets that don't appear on the large databases. Local volunteer researchers upload small bits of local information which just might be the piece that solves your brick wall. The same is true in Ireland. There are many local websites that might provide information on the social history of the area when and where your lived, and may even have specific information. Most County Libraries in Ireland also have Local History and Genealogy information. It's wonderful to visit the libraries, but if you are looking for something specific that appears in their catalog, email the Reference Librarian...I've found them to be very helpful.

   Search the county (or even parish) where  your ancestor lived adding the word genealogy.  You will find many local organizations that have small (or not so small) listings that don’t appear anywhere else. Also check maps to see if your locality borders another county and expand your search. My searching in County Leitrim for information on my Mackey family provided limited information. They lived in the most northern parish (Rossinver) of Leitrim on the border of Donegal.  I could not find out where they were buried (I even walked the cemetery) and the early church records for the Rossinver COI parish were destroyed in the Fire so what survives starts in the 1870s.  I was surprised to find the burial records on the Ireland Genealogy Projects Archive for Donegal.  Buried in the Kilbarron Church of Ireland Graveyard are Matthew, my 3rd great grandfather, and two Isabellas, one presumed to be his wife and one his daughter. I know I have the correct records because their residence is listed as Kinlough [Leitrim] and I have Matthew's death certificate confirming the date.  Since there were at least three COI churches between Kinlough and Kilbarron this opened another direction for my research.  Was my Mackey family originally from Donegal? I have checked with the church and other than the burial record there doesn't seem to be a headstone.

The Ireland Genealogy Projects (IPG) have at least one site for each County in Ireland and some also have a Facebook page. I have been working on Resources and Links page of my site for County level resources and although it is not yet complete (I still have a few more Counties to finish). You can check it out here. You can also select the Links and Resources Menu and use the dropdown to select Irish County Links. There are two pages covering the Counties in alphabetical order. The side menu will allow you to jump to a section rather than scrolling. It's difficult to keep this up to date, so please email me if you've found a great resource that I don't have and I'll add it to the list. Also let me know if you find a broken link. You can email me with the subject "New Link" or "Broken Link."

I have also included Facebook pages for each County. I know with all the publicity about dis-information being posted, you may be nervous about using Facebook, but it is a wonderful resource for genealogists. Here's a blog I wrote earlier in the year on using Facebook for your genealogy. Last year I also wrote a blog on Social Networking which you might find interesting. With many of the Facebook genealogy pages you will need to "join" in order to see the posts, ask questions, or share information. Typically they'll ask if you have ancestors in that locality. The reason for this is to prevent SPAM or people who want to disrupt the site or post inappropriate information. Each site has an administrator who oversees the site. When you join you will be advised of the "rules" for the site, which typically are respect for others and no selling. Genealogists are helpful people. Katherine Willson on her website posts a list of genealogy Facebook pages. Each time she updates it (the latest was in August) it breaks the link, so I've corrected it as of today. If you come to this blog in the future and the link is broken, you can go to her website or google Katherine Willson genealogy Facebook and find it.

I hope you find the information and links helpful. Take care and Stay Safe!

Happy Hunting!

If your Genealogical Society is looking for a speaker for a webinar during this time of COVID, they can contact me. In addition to Irish topics, I also lecture on Methodology and Technology topics. Check out my Lectures page for ideas.

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Sep 22, 2020

I discovered this website a while ago, and it is a fabulous resource. Good luck.


This post is really helpful and thank you, Donna. Your new links and resources page is wonderful. I just looked at the one for Donegal and the first link I clicked on was for Donegal Ancestry website. I was not aware of this website and can't wait to explore it and all the other links on your list.

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