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Irish Ancestors - Locality Resources

   I'm going to end my discussion of Irish Ancestors by focusing on the free resources offered under the Sitemap.  For anyone doing Irish research the key piece of information is the locality where their ancestors lived.  Unfortunately this is the most difficult piece of information to find.  Once you know the locality, however, you need to look for local sources of information, and this website can help.

   The history of Irish records is a sad one…penal laws, fires and government ineptitude leave us with a limited number of extant records.  Although censuses were done beginning in 1821, only the 1901 and 1911 survive in their entirety.  During WWI the government pulped the 1861 - 1891 censuses for the paper, completely destroying it…nothing survives.  Then during the Irish Civil War, the fire at the Public Records Office in June of 1922 destroyed most of the 1821 - 1851 census records.   There are, however, fragments of these censuses and like the 1890 US census, and if you're lucky enough to have ancestors from Killeshandra parish in Co. Caven in 1841, you might find your family.  In addition, sometimes there is a religious census that survived only for a particular parish and that is why it is so important to check the local record sources.

   In his book, Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, John Grenham lists these records by county.  Parts of the lists are also on the Irish Ancestors website for the period after 1830; just go to the Site Map and select the county under "County Sourcelist" and then Census.  (Records earlier than 1830 are in his book, or can be accessed through the pay-per-view subscription.)  Other categories of information are also available through this section and you should become familiar with these sources. It's always helpful to know what socieities are active in the area of your research as many publish local records or have journals that may be accessible on the Internet through JSTOR.  You might also find a listing of a cemetery that has been indexed on a local website.

   Overall all, this site is an excellent resource for Irish family history with links, articles, maps to resources both in Ireland and abroad.   Anyone with Irish ancestry should spend some time becoming familiar with this site.  As I mentioned in the first blog about Irish Ancestors, you'll not find specific records on your ancestor, but will find a wealth of information on where to look for those records.

   Happy Hunting!



© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2013