Best websites for Irish ancestors

The researcher with Irish roots is blessed with a wealth of online material, including a wide range of primary and secondary sources, plus lots of tips and advice, according to Jonathan Warren

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Irish research is unique, not least because of the large amount of material lost in the 1922 National Archives fire and the 1851 census substitute, the Griffith’s Valuation.


Beginners may want to start with civil registration material. For Northern Ireland, a central index can be searched on the General Register Office of Northern Ireland website; for the Republic of Ireland, certificates can be ordered from the General Register Office in Dublin. Civil registration indexes for both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland are also free to search on IrishGenealogy.

The FamilySearch website includes Civil Registration Indexes (1845-1958), comprising around 23 million records. From the homepage click ‘Search Records’, ‘Record Search pilot’, and select Ireland to begin trawling the data.

My Star Site

John Grenham, author of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors (Genealogical Publishing Company, 2nd ed, 2000)

The idea behind this site is straightforward: to act as a single reference point for anyone interested in their Irish forebears. There are no transcripts of original records, rather a series of detailed guides to which records are relevant, and where they are.

Most of the site is free, including a great step-by-step guide to Irish research, mid-19th century counts of householders by surname and county, surname histories, links to record transcripts, locations database, and county sourcelists taken from the second edition of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors. For more detailed and up-to-date information, a range of pay-per-view reports and subscription options is available.


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