SI Dublin 2023 EPIC – Genealogy Consultation

Finding Your Irish Ancestry Workshop (Handout Notes)

Delivered by Dr Declan Brady, consultant genealogist Irish Family History Centre, Dublin, at the Soroptimist International Convention, Dublin, on 27 & 28 July 2023.

Emigration Country Records

Start in your country & Identify Key Information on Your Immigrant Ancestor (to identify successive generations)
  • Parents’ Names
  • County/place of origin in Ireland
  • Religion of Emigrant (to help identify church records by denomination)
Where Do You Start?
  • Write down what you know
  • Look up any old documents in your possession
  • Consult older/other relatives
  • Headstone inscriptions
  • Start with parents, grandparents
  • Also start with the family you know most about
  • Work through one family line at a time
Initial Records to Look Up Overseas
Census Records
  • USA: Look at Federal Censuses to link generations back to the first ancestor in America.
  • Every ten years from 1950 to 1900 and then from 1880 back to 1790
  • Also may be State censuses in the years in between
  • Canada: Every 5 years from 1901-31; every 10 years from 1851-91 & 1842, 1831 & 1825
  • UK: Every 10 years from 1921 back to 1841
  • Australia: Various state census from 1820s to 1901
Census Substitutes
  • USA: Military drafts in US Civil War, WW1 (1917) & WW2 (1942+)
  • UK: 1939 National Register
  • Look at FANs (friends, associates, neighbours) as may be from the same place in Ireland
  • Identify Settlement clusters
Life Event Records
  • Death Records – Burials – Tombstone inscriptions – Wills- Obituaries – Death notices – Funeral Reports- Social Death Security Index (1930s)
  • Marriage Records Civil Marriage – Church Marriage
  • Birth Records – Baptism Records

Use all of these to identify parents so you can match three in a record rather than one person

Immigration & Naturalisation
  • Check if first immigrant ancestor is a US/Canadian/Australian citizen in the census, and then look for citizenship application or naturalization papers for place of birth in Ireland
  • This will also give date of arrival —–passenger lists
  • Passenger list are fragmented, often vague and unreliable before 1900
Military Records, State, Provincial & County Histories

  • If an American ancestor was of fighting age during the Revolutionary War 1776-1783 then look up Militia Lists, Pay records, Histories & DAR
  • American Civil War 1861-65
  • Enlistments, muster lists, pension records
  • Regimental histories & company memoirs
  • Memorials & Battlefield lists
  • Also British, Canadian & Australian military records

Irish Records

Irish Census Records
Civil Registration Records
  • Births Marriages and Deaths start 1864 and non-Catholic marriages 1845
  • Records online on the free website
  • Births 1864 to 1922
  • Marriages 1870 to 1947
  • Deaths 1878 to 1972
Church Records

Irish Land Records

  •  Griffith’s Valuation (1847 – 1864) – Property Valuation for Poor Rate Tax
  • Lists Landlords, Tenants, Map References, Descriptions & Valuation
  • Good Substitute for missing census records
  • See  &
  • Tithe Applotment Books (1823 – 1838) – Religious Tax or Tithe payable to the Church of Ireland

More limited – no urban returns – See

See also Registry of Deeds, Henrietta St; Valuation Office, ILC & Estate Papers

Additional Irish Record Sources

  • Burials & Cemetery Records
  • Institutional & Workhouse Records
  • Court & Prison Records
  • Wills & Testamentary Records
  • Military Records – British Army & Irish Revolutionary Records
  • Newspapers & Trade Directories
  • Passenger Lists


Things to be Aware of in Irish Records

  • Spelling variants for names and places due to illiteracy, innumeracy and translations from Gaelic to English
  • Latin entries in Church Records

Wednesday 26th – Thurdsay 27th – Friday 28th or Saturday 29th July 2023

Genealogist Personalised Consultation at EPIC Museum Family History Centre

Wednesday 26th – Thursday 27th – Friday 28th or Saturday 29th July 2023

Book a Personalised Consultation with a Genealogist at EPIC Museum Family History Centre

You’ll be amazed how much you can discover with a personalised one-to-one consultation with one of our genealogists. They start by getting to know where you are on your research journey and finding out what knowledge and documents you currently have on your family history. Then, they guide you through the records to knock down your brick walls.

Our expert genealogists know the background of all relevant online databases and repositories for offline research and can significantly speed up your search. They can identify further record sources to be reviewed, create a route map and develop a search strategy.

They will give you lots of tips and tricks to make your search easier and their knowledge will help you uncover your family history. You’ll come away with a renewed enthusiasm and the assurance that you’re going in the right direction.

To book your personal consultation please do so as part of your on-line registration.