You know the names of
your grandparents, their dates of birth, marriage, and death.
You've conducted Irish family research using their stories and
have information about their sisters and brothers; you know their
addresses and occupations and you have even collected old family
letters. This would be the ideal situation. Unfortunately, for
many of us, it doesn't quite happen that way.
You'll need to know the Irish county of your ancestors. If you
have no knowledge of this, write to the General Record Office
in County Roscommon and explain what you are seeking. I've listed
their address along with the forms you will need in my Supplement,
How to Find Your Irish, available for purchase on this website.
It is possible for the clerks in Ireland to check the general
record of births, marriages, and deaths without knowing the county,
but it helps to send them all available information pertinent
to your Irish family research.
It may be necessary to travel to Ireland in order to conduct
an independent search. I had the experience of receiving a birth
certificate through the mail and found it to be the wrong document,
but only after I traveled to Ireland to visit the cousins of the
woman who was not my grandmother. You'll have to be careful, as
one incorrect document will cost you in terms of time and money.
While in Ireland, I was able to visit a nursing home in the town
of my grandparents while doing Irish family research, and I was
able to talk with the people who knew of them. You will want to
talk to the town undertaker, visit the neighborhood pubs, and
engage in conversations with the old people at the parish church.
If you can arrange a trip to Dublin, Ireland-do it! Give yourself
enough time to spend in each of the Irish family research centers.
You'll be able to search the records yourself, thus, cutting down
on errors and time.
The earliest surviving comprehensive Irish census is for 1901
and 1911. The originals can be consulted at the National Archives
in Dublin. The returns for the year 1901 have been bound into
large volumes, while those for 1911 are still loose and in boxes.
All the returns for a townland or street are grouped together
and preceded by an enumerator's abstract, which gives the details
of the houses and lists the names of the heads of households.
This is an excellent way to begin your Irish family research.
A full microfilm copy of the 1901 Census is available at the LDS
Family History Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The Primary Valuation (Griffith's Valuation) was published between
1847 and 1864. There is a printed valuation for each barony or
poor law union, showing the names of occupiers of land and buildings,
the names of those from whom these were leased, and the amount
and value of the property held. These documents relating to Irish
family research can be located at the National Archives on Bishop
Street in Dublin.
It's important to know that all births, marriages, and deaths
occurring since 1864 (and non-Roman Catholic marriages since April
1, 1845) are available to the public. The majority of records
prior to 1864 were destroyed in the 1922 Civil War.
If you are seeking church records in County Kerry, Counties Cashel
and Emly, you will need a letter of approval from the Bishop.
This information is provided in my Supplement, which is available
for purchase on this website.
Once you've located the villages and townlands of your ancestors,
you'll want to look up the land deeds. The Valuations Office in
Dublin is open to the public and you can conduct an independent
search. Their clerks will copy whatever you need.
Most importantly, don't get discouraged. Spend the time it takes
to conduct research in Dublin, the Family History Center in Salt
Lake City, the National Archives in Washington D.C. (they have
branches in most major cities), and the local libraries. Those
documents will aid you tremendously in your Irish family research.
You will find the Supplement that is offered on this website
valuable when you begin your Irish family research. In this Supplement,
I have listed what you will need to find, where to find it, what
to watch out for, and the forms necessary when seeking documents
from Ireland. It is a comprehensive guide to help you with your
Irish family research. Misleading information put me in many different
directions, and if I had had this booklet in my possession before
beginning my Irish family research, I could have avoided many
pitfalls, and I would have saved money on documents unrelated
to my family.