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Irish Ancestors - Where to Start

   At the end of 2015, I wrote a blog on Strategies for Starting Your Irish Research.  In it I talked about what records are available in Ireland, but if you’re just starting, your research needs to begin at home.  If that critical locality information exists, it’s probably in a record or records here (or in the place where your ancestor settled).  I’m going to focus on categories of records here so if you’re reading this from outside the US it should still be helpful.

   Of course, you start with yourself and work backwards.  My strategy is to look for a death record on an ancestor, then work back from there.  The death could be a death certificate or a register entry.  The amount of information you’ll get on the record will be dependent on the time and place.  If you’re lucky, you may get additional pieces of information like the parents’ names and something more than “Ireland” as the place of birth.  But even if you don’t, you can build upon the information there and use the information to look at additional records.  Here’s a blog I wrote back in 2010 talking about analyzing records and the blog the following week which discusses writing a summary of what you found.  Notice in the example at the bottom of the second blog where I list all of the sources I need to check just from information provided on the death certificate.  Now if a death certificate is not available (Pennsylvania researchers, I feel your pain!), what other records might record the death?  Church records, cemetery records, newspaper obituaries, city directories, probate records, deeds,  family bibles, funeral home records, military records, pensions, and Social Security records are some alternative sources for death information. And remember the first rule of the Genealogical Proof Standard…Do an exhaustive search of the records.  Even if you find a death certificate, don’t stop there.  Look at all of the other records which may provide additional (or conflicting) information.  

   After finding a death record, I’ll usually move to census records.  It’s important to find your ancestor in every census in which they were living.  Next week I’ll look at some of the interesting information you can gain various census records.

   Happy Hunting! 


I’m putting this blog out a bit early as I’m leaving today on a Genealogy Cruise of the Western Caribbean with Gary and Diana Smith and Dick Eastman.  

© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2017