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2017 in Review - Part 2

   During the second half of 2017 I tried to look at records that might not be as familiar to Irish researchers.  

   Prior to 1858 Wills and Administrations were handled by the ecclesiastical courts.  Whereas most of these early wills and administrations were destroyed in the 1922 fire, there are some surviving transcripts. After 1858, probate became a civil function and prior to 1900 most of these documents were also destroyed. For the northern counties, PRONI made a concerted effort to obtain copies of lost wills from solicitors.  Many of the wills after 1900 have survived and depending on the location, copies can be obtained from the National Archives or from PRONI.  

   Just like in the US, more and more Newspapers are becoming available online.  The majority of these are by subscription, although if you’re visiting Ireland, you can access the Irish Newspaper Archive for free at the National Library.  FindMyPast also has a large number of Irish newspapers with more becoming available on a regular basis.  

   Other sources of information on your ancestors may come from Occupational records, especially if they were merchants, or worked in a trade. 

   Estate records may be hard to find, and since they are private records, may not be available to the public.  As many of the estates were sold off in the late 19th and early 20th century, some of these records have found their way into various repositories.  Again, PRONI has been on the forefront of obtaining these records.  There are also collections at the National Archives, the National Library and some County Archives.  Use the Sources database and search by the landlord’s name or location.  There is also a chance that the records are in a repository in England if the landlord’s primary estate was there.  You will not find these records online so if discovered, you’re likely going to have to do some traveling!

   So are you ready to research in Ireland?  First, you need to know the locality where your ancestor was born.  Most families remained in the same area for generations and you might find cousins still living there!  Depending on the locality, you probably want to begin your research at the major repositories in Dublin or Belfast, but don’t stop there.  If you’re going to be in Ireland, make sure you also go to the area where your ancestor’s lived and visit the local repositories such as the County Library or Archive.

  In October and November I discussed some of the ways that DNA could be used in your research. When combined with cluster research focusing on a given surname in a particular place, it may help isolate various families.  I discussed the various tests and testing companies and provided some resources help you learn more about DNA.  I also provided a case study on how I used it to solve a relationship problem.  Remember that DNA is just a single tool in your genealogical tool box and needs to be used in conjunction with other resources but it should be part of your “exhaustive search.”

   This is the 49th blog of the year and as I’ll be traveling for the holidays it may be the last one of the year.  If I see something important that I want to share, I’ll still post it either on my Facebook page or on Twitter.  You can follow me on either of those platforms.

   I want to thank all of you who have followed the blog this year.  As I mentioned last week, I’m eager to hear from you on what you would like to see from this blog in the New Year.  Please leave you comments for me on Facebook.

   Best wishes for a Happy Holiday and New Year.  

   Happy Hunting!

It’s Here!


The third Quick Reference Guide, Land, Tax and Estate Records in Ireland, shipped from the printer today and is available to order on my Store.  I should receive and be able to ship them beginning next week.  

For those who would like to order the bundle of all three Guides, I’m offering a Holiday Special.  Order before December 31st using the link below and receive all three laminated Guides for $23.00.


Now that the weather has turned cold in much of the country, you might want to think about warm weather and lots of friends who also enjoy genealogy.  The April Caribbean Genealogy Cruise is just the thing!  Join Diana and Gary Smith, Dick Eastman and me for a fun filled week of genealogy with plenty of time for sightseeing in port.  Contact Herb Tinley at or call (800) 959-SHIP to reserve your place.


© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2018