Introduction to Irish Research
A GUIDE TO IRISH Genealogical RESEARCH
A Project of the Fianna Study Group
Please feel free to send us
information you believe could be useful to other researchers, so that we may include it
in this guide.
Many pages are prepared by advanced students. Often their name/email address is at the end of the
page. All work should be considered copyrighted by those students. Remaining pages and page
designs are © chirho.
First determine the date and place of origin. If this is not known, look
first at records relating to the immigrant's death: obituaries, church
records, wills, death certificates, cemetery records, and probate records.
These may include information such as date and place of birth; names of
parents, relatives, or friends; whether or not naturalized; length of
residence in this country; property owned in country of origin, etc.
Use the U.S. Census information. Questions varied from year to year, but
all included birthplace of individual and parents. They also included:
1900 - Year of immigration - # of years in U.S. - Naturalized?
1910 - Year of Immigration to U.S. - Naturalized or Alien
1920 - Year of Immigration to U.S. - Naturalized or Alien - Year of
Also note the date and place of birth of the immigrant's children may help
determine when immigration might have occurred.
Look also for voter registrations. If these are available (they are not
available for all cities and counties in the U.S.) they include some or all of
the following: full name, address, birth date and place, and, the
naturalization court and date, if naturalized. Voter registrations may also
note the number of years the voter was a resident of the state and county.
If you can find records from your ancestor's employer, these may include
such information as date and port of arrival, ship's name, birthplace, and
date and court of naturalization.
Now you are ready to begin looking for passenger lists, naturalizations,
etc. Don't forget to also check for passport records and the records of local
immigrant aid societies.
Another wonderful resource is newspapers published at the port of
arrival. These often published lists of vessel arrivals and departures,
including the names of passengers arriving. These might be in the "local news"
column, or in a special Maritime section.
"English Records for Irish Family
History" by Michael Gandy (the well known and highly regarded
speaker/author on Irish matters) in the quarterly journal of the
Australian Institute of
Genealogical Studies, (Blackburn, Victoria, Australia)
"The Genealogist" September 1997,
pps 484-488, has important things to remember.
Some of the comments in his article that should be burned into Irish
researcher's brains are for example "...the capital of Ireland was
it was part of Great Britain. .... Galway was a county of Great
Britain on the same terms as Wiltshire and a Kerryman appears in many categories
of British records for the same reasons as a Yorkshireman. Since
Ireland is now independent and Dublin is the capital, it is very tempting to
imagine that the records of your Irish ancestors must either be in their home
county or in Dublin, but this is not so. ....."
Records, if any, about army service and a number of other things, will of course be at the PRO,
The PRO in London
A Brief Historical Overview of Recent Emigrations
Although Ireland has a long and interesting history some of the historical
aspects which are of most significance to genealogical research are the
series of enactments which the British passed in the latter half of the
17th century. In 1665 and 1680 the export trade to England of cattle and
milk products was banned. In 1699 the English banned the export of woolen
articles to any other country. This destroyed the woolen industry in
Ireland and led many Protestant Irish to emigrate to America.
Another large emigration ocurred during the years 1845-47 due to the Irish Potato
Famine. Actually the "famine" immigration continued for years since many
landlords decided to clear their lands of the "surplus" Irish tenant
population. They often paid the passage of their tenants to encourage them
to emigrate. Most of these immigrants settled in the US, but they also
emigrated to other countries such as Canada and Australia. Due to these
historical aspects it is most likely that if your Irish ancestors
immigrated to the United States very early they were most likely
Protestants and if they came later they were probably Catholic. This is
not certainly not a hard and fast rule just a guide. (G. Roorda)
immigrant - inimirceach
immigration - inimirce
emigrant - eisimirceach
emigrate - téigh ar imirce
The 4 Asses of Genealogy
Remember to ride these sure-footed animals in your research!
1- ASCertain [locating data, following leads, etc.];
2- ASSess [determining if it applies and fits];
3- ASSimilate [record-keeping, including sources];
4- ASSert [publishing, getting it out there for others to see--
a) sketching it, via bulletin boards & genealogy lists,
b) submitting it, for the use by the next generation].
Many people use genealogy lists for #1 (as they should, of course);
many do not use them for #4a, not realizing that other people,
looking at the sketches for #1, see patterns, and feedback
sometimes entire genealogical branches.
On with the GUIDE!! or
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