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Tips to Narrow Down Results[edit | edit source]


Getting Started in Irish Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Start with known and go to unknown

Irish surnames are very common

Keep wide focus - don't just focus on immediate ancestor - look at their siblings/extended family in records in country of arrival and in country of origin

Research strategies First look at home records - interview relatives Start with grandparents and then go back to get across the pond To find ancestors in Ireland you MUST have the exact parish or townland

Irish surnames are super common - you cannot expect to find a John Conway if all you know is that he was from County Cork

Take note of neighbors of Irish ancestors in America - they may have immigrated together and one of them may have a record listing their origin

Look at gravestone inscriptions - may list parish or townland of origin in Ireland

Ireland Beginning Research Series Immigration Part 1: Strategies[edit | edit source]

To find an ancestor in Ireland you need to know: name, date of event (or pretty good approximate date), event place (need to know at least a county), names of family to put them into context, religion, occupation, social status - CREATE AN IDENTITY FOR YOUR ANCESTOR - the more points of reference the better chance you'll get the right fit

When talking to family - names and relationships more likely to be remembered correctly than dates and places.

Spelling variations - people spelled their names differently - they spelled phonetically O' and Mc' were dropped or added basically at random

Place names are spelled phonetically.

Remember nicknames for given names

Townlands: The IreAtlas Townland Database

Passenger lists:

  • Not until 1900s did passenger lists begin to include place of origin
  • Passenger lists (outbound) not kept by Great Britain until 1890
  • Passenger lists (incoming) not kept in the US until 1820
  • Passenger lists (incoming) were not kept in Canada consistently until 1865

Strategy: 1. Find EVERYTHING about your ancestor's life in the country of arrival.

Search ALL record types in the country of arrival. Often the parish/townland of birth or origin can be found in one of these records
If the parish/townland of origin not found then:

2. Find everything for everyone they were related to.

Search ALL record types for everyone in the country of arrival (go back to list). Often the parish/townland of origin for the family can be found in one of these records
If the parish/townland of origin not found then:

3. Come forward: documents of their children may reveal Irish origins.

Birth, marriage, and death certificates of the children may include the county/parish of birth or origin or where their parents were from. County histories may list a relative of your ancestor and where they emigrated from in Ireland. Other record types have POTENTIAL. Look at the children!
An internet mailing board or list may connect you with a second or third cousin who may know more than you do
If the parish/townland of origin not found then:

4. Find everything for everyone Irish they were associated with (they may have been associated with them in the old country)

Group of chain migration - people rarely moved to a random place - they most often migrated where they had family or friends. Tracing groups of people is easier than tracing individuals. One of their friends or associates may list where they emigrated from in the same record types in the country of arrival (go back to list).
FAN club - cast a wider net.
Look at others with same surname, godparents or witnesses, anyone moving around with them, who purchased land near them, neighbors (in census, city directories, etc.), and who vouched on naturalization. You have more people to take through all of those records (go back to list).

Surname Distribution Strategy.
An educated guess of where to start searching. Need a more unique/less common surname - common surnames (like Murphy) will not work. If you have more than one surname it is also super helpful! Ex: know an ancestor and the surnames of both of their parents - can cross reference and see where those areas come together.
MUCH more successful if you know the COUNTY. Rarely will it help you figure out the county on where to begin researching.

Once you think you know where your ancestor is from, try to DISPROVE it.
If you found a christening, make sure the person you think is your ancestor didn't die as a child or is not hanging around in Ireland if you ancestor immigrated to the United States.