Introduction to Irish Research
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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.

Getting Started

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 Naturalization
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.   Sam

"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 London. ...
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, Kew, London.

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.

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