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Using the IrishAncestors Website

I frequently mention IrishAncestors ( in various blogs and posts. It is one of my favorite sites and I use it every day. This is the site created and managed by John Grenham, the author of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors. There are parts of the website that are free, but for most of the detailed information a subscription is required. You can actually make 5 requests each day, then you will be asked to subscribe. You can subscribe for 24 hours, a month or a year (or just wait until the next day).

First, this is not a database where you type in your ancestors' name and get specific records about him/her as you would at FindMyPast, Ancestry or other such databases. This site will tell you about what records are available for the time and place where your ancestor lived. It will show you maps, connect to free databases such as AskAboutIreland for Griffith's Valuation and the National Archives for the 1901 and 1911 census, and tell you what records are available for the area. Two weeks ago I wrote about Facebook. I follow a number of Facebook pages for localities where my ancestors lived and frequently the questions are things like, "My ancestor was John Daly born about 1835 in Mayo. I can't find a birth record." First, no, you won't find a birth record because they weren't kept until 1864. If you know the specific locality, however, this website will tell you if there are any surviving church records (any denomination) for the time and place. Yes, you need to know the locality, townland or parish, but for me, there is no hope of ever finding a baptismal record. My John Daly, was born about 1835 in the civil parish of Kilvine. The site tells me that Roman Catholic records for Kilvine were never microfilmed for the National Library (although there is a microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City but not yet digitized) and that the records for this parish have been transcribed by the South Mayo Family History Center and are available at from 1870-1900 for baptisms and marriages. Yes, that's right, the oldest surviving records for this area are 1870. I could continue to check for that birth/baptismal record for the rest of my days, and would never find it, because it doesn't exist. Why keep banging your head against a wall. Here's an example of how to use the site to check for church records.

IrishAncestors has lots of other information and in the coming weeks I'll discuss some other uses for the site.

Happy Hunting and Stay Safe!

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