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Important Irish Genealogy Websites: Part III

Updated: Dec 29, 2018


 In Part I, I discussed the US sources to help identify the place in Ireland.  Part II discussed the primary resources in Ireland.  After you get through the basics, what’s next?  Are there additional resources?  Yes, but remember, they will all be dependent on time and place.

FindMyPast is an excellent resource for Irish and British research.  I mention British because until 1922, Ireland was part of Great Britain.  If your Irish ancestor served in the military, they served in the British military.  In addition, many Irish spent time in England or Scotland prior to emigrating, and if you’re lucky you may find them in a UK census record.  

   One of my favorite record sets at FindMyPast is the Petty Session records.  The Petty Sessions were the lowest courts in Ireland and typically heard cases about money owed, domestic issues and  public offenses such as drunk and disorderly, or damage to property caused by sheep or cattle. Now, I’m sure, like me, you’re thinking, not my ancestors!  Well, Moughty is a pretty unusual name, and there are 182 records in the Petty Sessions, so think again.  Now perhaps your ancestor was simply a witness instead of a defendant or complainant.  Begin by reading through the “Learn more” about the records.  Just a reminder, you should do this before searching any set of records to see if they even apply to your research question.  Under “Useful Links & Resources” you’ll find a list of the courts by county and years covered.  If the records where your ancestor lived don’t start until 1876 and your ancestor left in the 1850s you’re not going to find him listed here (although there might be other family members).  Sometimes these records will lead you to other records.

   In 1876 Bernard Moughty of Aughnaboy (that’s mine) was cited for having “in his possession an unlicensed dog”  for which he was fined 2 shillings, plus 1 shilling in costs., Petty Sessions Records, 1876 Ballymore, Order Book CSP 51/7316

  So did he get the license?  Here’s a database you’re probably not used to researching…Ireland Dog Licence Registers.  Why would dog licenses help in your genealogy you ask?  Most of our ancestors lived in rural areas on farms and they had working dogs.  You can follow the registers year by year showing that your ancestor was living at that time in the place named and when your ancestor’s name disappears from the register, you might want to look for a death certificate.  If the dog died, it would probably be replaced!, Petty Sessions Records, 1877 Ballymore, Order Book CSP 20703A #434

In 1877 Ber’d (Bernard) Moughty of Aughnaboy registered 1 dog for 2 shillings, 6 pence, a male Brown and White Sheepdog.  The last year that Bernard appears is 1902 with a Brown Sheepdog.  He died in 1903.   In 1909 Bernard (the son) of Aughnaboy appears with both a Brown and White Sheepdog and a Red Collie.  

   When you go to FindMyPast, go to the Search menu and select A-Z of record sets.  Then select Ireland on the left side of the screen.  You can also scroll down and select by county.  There are almost 200 databases, some specific to a location and others covering specific groups of people.  Directories, for example, will typically list the upper classes and tradesmen, but not necessarily farmers.  Genealogical abstracts, such as Betham and Crossle are also more likely to list Protestants in the upper classes that had wills.  These abstracts were done prior to the fire when most of the wills were destroyed, so if they apply to your ancestor, they can be very informative.  The Landed Estate Court Rentals on the other hand, listed the tenant farmers on the estates that were bankrupt and were for sale.  

   You can also select by category, and should check the Newspapers and Periodicals, then Irish Newspapers. You can select various criteria, but don’t be too specific.  You might find an article in a Dublin paper or one of the adjoining counties.  Here’s an example from a Belfast paper of a death notice for Fr. Moughty (originally from Westmeath).  What I learned from the article is that he was currently stationed in Leith in Scotland., Irish Newspapers, Irish News and Belfast Morning News July 31, 1911, p 3

In my opinion, FindMyPast has the largest and most  unique collection of Irish records.  So explore to see what might be available for the time and place your ancestor lived.

   I would also encourage you to 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.  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 Isabelles, one presumed to be his wife and one his daughter. I know I have the correct records because their residence is listed as Kinlough 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?

   The Ulster Historical Foundation is another source of information and databases.  Their databases range from a handful to thousands of names. UHF was the original Heritage Centre for Antrim and Down and as such, have the indexes to the early church records on a Pay-Per-View basis.  

   I am constantly coming across new websites.  I’ll frequently tweet about them or mention them on my Irish Genealogy Facebook page, two places to watch.  You can also check out my Irish Links and Resources.  I add to the page when I find new information and about twice a year I check the existing links.  If you find a link that’s not working, don’t hesitate to let me know.  Just use the subject, Broken Link.


   Happy Hunting!

Check out the interview I did with Lisa Louise Cooke on the GenealogyGems Podcast #14

 If you are going to be at RootsTech next week, please introduce yourself.  I’m headed out on Sunday (I can’t resist a few days in the Family History Library).  Here’s my schedule.

   Thursday - March 1st        9:45 Strategies for Finding Your Irish Ancestors                  GenealogyGems Booth #1203

       1:30 There’s an App for That (GS9180) Rm 155D

   Friday - March 2nd        10:15 Irish Research Secrets                 GenealogyGems Booth #1203

       12:15 Putting the Pieces Together for Your Irish Research                 FindMyPast Booth

       3:00 Social Networking for Genealogists (RT8880)                Room 250D

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