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2017 in Review

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Year In Review

   We are coming to the end of the year and I though a review might be in order.  I’ve had a lot of new followers over the past few months, and they may not have gone back to check out the earlier blogs.  As I said back in January, I wanted to revisit my 2011 series on Strategies for Irish Research.  A lot has happened since then and I wanted to update the information as well as help new researchers better understand the challenges of doing Irish research.  I hope I’ve accomplished that this past year.  I’d love some feedback not only on this past year, but also on what you would like to see going forward.  You can either email me, or leave a comment on this post on my Facebook page.  

   This was also the year that I published a series of Quick Reference Guides on Irish Research.   Guide #1, Preparing for Success in Irish Research focuses on finding that all important place in Ireland where your ancestor was born.  Guide #2 discusses Irish Civil Registration and Church Records.  I’m excited to announce Guide #3, Land, Tax and Estate Records in Ireland.  I expect these back from the printer by early next week and to be ready for shipping.  Watch next week’s blog for a Holiday Special!

   In January and February of 2017 I discussed the basics of good research; the Genealogical Proof Standard and the importance of having a Research Plan.  This should be your starting point if your new to research, or a review for those who have been researching for a while.

   Next was the importance of understanding the administrative jurisdictions in Ireland.  When searching for records in the US (or other country of immigration) your ancestor might have mentioned their county, townland, civil parish, ecclesiastical parish or registration district.  Recognizing the various jurisdictions might help you narrow your search to a particular place.  

   Once you’ve identified the place in Ireland, you can begin using Irish records.  The fire at the Public Records Office in 1922 caused a devastating loss of records, but not everything burned.  Civil Registration, which began in 1864 (1845 for Protestant marriages) and Roman Catholic and Presbyterian Church records were not at the PRO and therefore survived. Unfortunately many early Church of Ireland records were lost.  Religion in Ireland was a political issue as well as a spiritual one, so understanding the history of Ireland is important.  

   Census records in Ireland are a sad story.  Here in the US we lament the loss of the 1890 census, but in Ireland, the oldest surviving complete census is 1901.  Because of Irish privacy laws, only 1901 and 1911 are currently available to review.  I’ll keep reminding you that even though your ancestor might have left prior to 1901, you should still check the locality where they lived for family members who might have remained behind.  You never can tell…you just might find a cousin still living on the family farm!

   Much of the rest of the Spring was spent discussing Griffith’s Valuation and other tax records, including the Revision Books and the Tithe Applotment.  Although Griffith’s Valuation (1846-1864) is frequently referred to as a census substitute, it is a tax list.  Because of the loss of the 19th century census records, it is the only list we have of where people lived just before, during and just after the Famine. Once you identify your ancestor (or a family member still living in Ireland) you can follow them forward in the Revision Books, and possibly back to an earlier tax, the Tithe Applotment.  Another possibility is that your ancestor lived on one of the many bankrupt estates and may be named in the Landed Estates Court records.

   That takes you through the first half of the year.  Next week I’ll finish up with a review of the blogs from the second half of the year.

   Happy Hunting!


Are you interested in researching in Ireland next October?There are only 3 slots left for the Dublin trip and 2 for the Belfast trip.  Let me know and send in your registration right away.


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© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2017