Options for researching in Ireland
Updated: Dec 26, 2018
Are you ready to research in Ireland? You may have followed my blogs in October on my research trip to Ireland and thought about taking the trip. (BTW, registration is open for the 2019 trip and it is about half full.)
If you’re thinking of researching in Ireland the most important thing to know is the location where your ancestor was born. Although there are exceptions, most Irish lived and died in the same location (or close to it). If you arrive in Ireland without the locality information it will be very difficult (if not impossible) to find specific information on your family. My first trip to Ireland in the early 1990’s wasn’t a particularly successful research trip, although my daughter and I had a great time. If you’re interested, you can read about it here. (I wrote one of my first blogs about the experience.)
Your research begins at home, or in the location where your ancestor emigrated. If the Irish locality information exists, it’s likely there. This is a good time to remind you that not everything is on the Internet.😀 Some of the most valuable records can be church records, and although some of the large Archdioceses here in the US are going online (check out FindMyPast and American Ancestors), you are going to have to research most locations the old fashioned way…by writing, visiting or calling the church office. Make it clear that you are looking for locality information in Ireland and ask for everything that might be in the record. Marriage records can sometimes provide locality information as some Roman Catholic priests required proof of baptism before performing a marrige. The standard form that is sent out doesn’t include that information which is why you need to ask for it. For more ideas on the types of records that might provide locality information, check out my Irish Quick Reference Guide #1, Preparing for Success in Irish Research.
Researching with a group on your first trip can be a great way to become familiar with the resources. You get the expertise of the person conducting the research trip, an opportunity to learn about the various repositories and options for research, and the camaraderie of your traveling companions. If you don’t know the place of origin of your ancestors and have never been to Ireland but still want to visit, select a tour. The tour can be with or without a genealogy or historical component. For example, Ancestry ProGenealogists offers a Heritage Tour visiting areas across Ireland. My trip on the other hand focuses on research spending each day in a repository in either Belfast or Dublin.
If you’re thinking of a trip, with a group or on your own, and you’re not sure if you’re ready, why not schedule a consultation call with me. I can help you develop a plan so you’ll be prepared for your trip.