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  • Irish Genealogy

  • Marie Daly Late 2013 200x260
    By Marie E. Daly
    Senior Genealogist

    | How-To | Census Records | Census Substitutes | Church Records | Vital Records |
    | Maps and Atlases | Manuscripts | Northern Ireland | Periodicals | Organizations |
    | Websites | Need Help? |

    Co. Donegal_ca. 1890_loc


    The beginning steps are the same for all family historians: start with the known and move toward researching the unknown. It is important to keep a wide focus when researching all ancestors, but especially Irish ones, since Irish surnames can be very common. You trace back to your immigrant ancestor, and then try to determine his or her origin in Ireland. A good place to learn about researching Irish records is with one of the general guides listed below.

    Many people believe that researching Irish ancestors is impossible because of the destruction of the Public Record Office in 1922. While many records were destroyed, other sources, such as deeds and Catholic Church records, were never located in the PRO and still exist. A lot of genealogical material has come online in recent years, and the growing list of Internet options has resulted in many more people finding their ancestors in Ireland. This subject guide aims to provide you with a list of key resources, records, and repositories to assist in your Irish research.

    getting started in Irish genealogy Watch Getting Started: Irish Genealogy to learn more tips and best practices for conducting Irish research. Created in partnership with FamilySearch.




    Irish Resources at NEHGS
    Live broadcast: March 25, 2014
    Presented by: Judy Lucey
    Level: Beginners Running Time: 1:09:46
    Description: Discover what Irish resources await you at NEHGS—both on-site and online, plus, gain a basic understanding of the concepts essential to Irish research.

    For online versions of "General Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland" (mentioned in the lecture) visit: and For Northern Ireland place names:

    How-To Guides

    Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide by John Grenham
    NEHGS, 7th Floor Reference and Mictrotext Floor Reference CS483 .G73 2012

    Irish Records: Sources for Family and Local History by James G. Ryan
    NEHGS, Microtext Floor CS483 .R83 1997

    Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors: The Essential Genealogical Guide to Early Modern Ulster, 1600–1800 by William J. Roulston
    NEHGS, Research Library CS448.U45 R68 2005

    Irish Village_ca1901_loc

    Census Records

    Census remnants,
    Irish census records began in 1821, but most were lost when the Public Record Office was destroyed. Some remnants exist and are available on microfilm from the Family History Library.

    1901 & 1911 census,
    Every-name searchable on the National Archives of Ireland website. Census also provides description of house and out-buildings.

    Census Substitutes

    Griffith’s Valuation

    Griffith’s Valuation is a mid-19th century record of head-of-household land occupiers that provides an exact address in Ireland. The address can be located on corresponding maps. You can access Griffith’s Valuation at the following sites:

    • Ask About Ireland,
      Hosted by a consortium of Irish libraries and museums, the Ask About Ireland website has a searchable database of the actual images of Griffith’s Primary Valuation, with links to the later valuation maps.
    • Irish Origins,
      Irish Origins, a commercial site run by Eneclann, features access to all versions of Griffith’s Primary Valuation and the original valuation maps that go with it. The site also has other records of interest.
    • Failte Romhat,
      Failte Romhat allows you to bring up an alphabetical listing of everyone in a parish, which is useful for determining variant spellings of a surname. This site also has other records, such as the Flax Growers List 1796 and 17th century Hearth Money Rolls.

    Tithe Applotment Books

    Covering 1823 to 1837, these records of head-of-household land occupiers are available on the Family History Library website ( and the National Archives of Ireland website (

    St. Patrick's Cathedral_ca1890_loc

    Church Records

    Irish Genealogy,
    Hosted by the Irish government, this web portal links to a free, searchable database of Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland church records for Counties Cork, Dublin, Kerry, and Carlow.

    Irish Family History Foundation,
    This is a pay-per-view, searchable database of church and civil registrations for most of the counties not covered by It is free to search, but costs €5 to obtain a record.

    NEHGS also has a number of printed Church of Ireland parish registers in our collections in the 1st floor stacks.

    Vital Records

    Family History Library,
    The FHL website includes transcriptions of Irish civil birth records in the database, Ireland Births and Baptisms, 1620–1881. Allows searches by parents’ names to identify all children. The FHL also has online indexes of Ireland civil registrations, including 1864–1958 births, 1845–1958 marriages, and 1864–1958 deaths. Excludes index records for Northern Ireland after 1922.

    GRO Ireland,
    To order birth, marriage, and death certificates by mail, download a certificate application form from the GRO website. Photocopies cost €6 and can be ordered and paid for by credit card. The volume and page numbers can be obtained from the index to Irish civil registrations (see above) on the Family History Library website.

    Map of Ireland 1835

    Maps and Atlases

    A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland by Brian Mitchell
    NEHGS, Microtext Floor G1831.F7 M5 2002

    Irish Ancestors,
    Hosted by the Irish Times newspaper, Irish Ancestors has maps of civil and Catholic parishes; information about the availability of Catholic parish registers; and a place-name search function that allows wildcard searches.

    Ordnance Survey Maps,
    The Ordnance Survey Office of Ireland has 19th century, historic black-and-white and color ordnance survey maps and the corresponding 2005 satellite images. Click on explore maps using their public viewer.

    Valuation Maps: and
    Valuation maps that correspond with Griffith’s Valuation and show the exact location of an ancestor’s house. Irish Origins, available by subscription, has the original black-and-white valuation maps that match the valuation. On the free Ask About Ireland website, color valuation maps are from late 19th century, and the lot numbers may not match if renumbering took place.


    Riobard O’Dwyer Collection
    NEHGS, Manuscripts Mss 1097
    This collection contains handwritten genealogies, extracted genealogical data from parish and cemetery records, data on occupations, and notes produced and collected between 1963 and 2011 by Riobard O'Dwyer, a genealogist and social historian who studied the families of the Beara Peninsula in County Cork, Ireland. (Access to manuscripts is a benefit of NEHGS membership.)

    Northern Ireland

    The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has several searchable databases on its website, including freeholders lists, revised valuations, will calendars, street directories, and 18th century census substitutes.

    Irish family 1904_loc


    NEHGS has a good collection of Irish county historical journals that contain primary sources such as estate records, rental rolls, gravestone inscriptions, parish registers, and wills. Many also include genealogies. These are just some of the journals at NEHGS:

    Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society
    NEHGS, Research Library DA995.C7 J68

    Clogher Record
    NEHGS, Research Library DA995.C55 C54

    Familia: Ulster Genealogical & Historical Guild
    NEHGS, Research Library CS440 .F36

    Journal of the County Louth Archaeological and Historical Society
    NEHGS, Research Library DA990.L89 C6


    Irish Genealogical Society International,
    Irish Genealogical Research Society,
    The Irish Ancestral Research Association,
    Genealogical Society of Ireland,


    Ask About Ireland,
    National Archives of Ireland,
    Irish Genealogy,

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