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Thursday, July 7, 2011

Researching Ireland - Part 2

I did a quick Google search with the keywords of  "Locating ancestors in Ireland" and up popped a link to the following:  Finding Your Ancestors in Ireland.  It is rather funny since the first line of the article states,  "To use church, civil, and other types of Irish records, you need to know where in Ireland your ancestors lived. Knowing the county is a start, but knowing the name of the townland or parish will make your searches much more productive."  Bingo, I hit the nail on the head and this just backs me up even further. 

The book that is referenced in the above article is The Pocket Guide to Irish Genealogy.  The key to locating your relatives is to find them stateside (or in whatever country they immigrated to) first before you start looking in Ireland.  The main elements that you must extract from source documents and other references are name, date, and location.  Personally, I have found that church records give the most specific location information.  Names and dates can be found on birth, marriage and death certificates but the location may only indicate that the person was born in Ireland.  Church records, on the other hand, may actually tell you the town or county, and possibly even the parish that the person was from.  Keep in mind, this all needs to start stateside.

I found out where my great grandparents, Patrick Hickey and Johanna Coughlin, were from in the Roman Catholic Church records in Rye, New York.  Patrick's death certificate tells me his date of birth, given name, and that he was born in Ireland but does not provide the specific location.  The church record does and indicates Whitegate, County Clare.  The church record also indicates that Johanna was from County Clare but does not give a specific location.  The county is a good start for sure and to have a town/village/parish is even better.  As it turns out, Whitegate is a bit complicated to research since prior to 1869, it was in County Galway. 


So once you can nail down where your ancestors are from in Ireland, which may come easy or not so easy, you can pursue the information in Ireland.  The following are resources, several of which do cost money but are well worth the expense if you really want to get at the truth of your family tree. 

The following is a link to the Ireland Heritage Centres: Ireland Heritage Centres

Cobh Heritage Centre - Cobh

The National Archives of Ireland - Irish Archives

LDS - LDS Family Search 

Don't get me wrong, Ancestry.com can be a great resource stateside but once you've exhausted those records, you will need to move away from the research materials found on Ancestry and "jump out of the box".   Doing a Google Search won't hurt either.  Typing in "Gartlan Carrickmacross Monaghan Ireland" has gotten me to a plethora of records online.  I just need to find the Gartlan's that I'm related too.  Maybe the Monaghan Ancestry Centre can help me.

Let's not forget that the LDS Church has traveled the world placing church records on microfiche.  That could be a great place to look also.  Remember though that you need to know the parochial parish to search those records.

I can continue to wish that Ancestry.com will pay for the source material above at some point from Ireland or the LDS Church, but it may just not happen.

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