Irish Genealogy

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Probably the most common misconception about Irish research (and usually the first thing you hear if you want to do Irish research) is that all the records burned in the Four Courts Fire in 1922. That is not quite true for, while almost all records at the Four Courts did burn, in many cases more than one copy of a record existed. The Fire wasn't the only calamity awaiting Irish records though; many "useless" documents (such as census records from the 1800s) were destroyed periodically by the government.

Irish research is difficult; that's not meant to discourage you from doing Irish research, it's meant to prepare you for what's ahead. What causes the difficulty is records are scarce for the whole of Ireland. Some records are difficult to access while many records suffer from the fact that the details are lacking. Our poorer ancestors (the vast majority of the Catholic Irish) didn't create an awful lot of records. Other than the parish records, their name listed on a lease may have been the only records generated in their lifetime.

Now, while there aren't a lot of records that survive for ALL of Ireland, there are many that survive for smaller geographical areas. This one fact alone is what makes knowing your ancestors townland in Ireland so important.
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Researching Irish Ancestors who Emigrated

  1. Find out all you can about your family tree from your older relatives.
  2. Fill out your understanding of these ancestors by searching through papers in their local towns or searching through immigrant lists.
  3. Find the townland in Ireland your immigrant ancestor came from.


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Researching Irish Ancestors who Lived in Ireland
Once you've discovered the townland of your Irish ancestor, you have the following options:

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