If you haven’t had the chance to listen to Genealogy Gems Podcast episode 196, I’d like to share a few highlights regarding getting started with Irish genealogy. We all know it can be difficult, and there are lots of rumors suggesting records no longer exist. Here are a few key points Kate Eakman shared with me in our interview.
Irish Genealogy Help: A Pro Interview with Kate Eakman
Q: Where would you recommend the hobbyist start their Irish search?
A: A huge number of Americans identify as part Irish. One difficulty in Irish research is there are not a lot of Irish records available online for free. There are some, however, and these are important places to start. Top sites for free Irish records include:
I particularly like Irishgenealogy.ie. They have some civil and church records available for various counties. Findmypast also has a great selection of Irish records and some are even free!
Q: What does a researcher need to know before ‘crossing the pond’?
A: Before ‘crossing the pond’ (and digging into Irish records), an important piece of information to obtain would be: where was the person born in Ireland? In particular, the county. Next, find out if they were Protestant or Catholic. Click here for an interactive map of Irish counties, including those of Northern Ireland to help you.
By learning the county of birth, you will save yourself time and difficulty. Many of the records you need will be kept on this county level.
Q: Where do you recommend they look for finding which county their ancestor was born in?
A: I would begin with death records, marriage records, church records, passenger lists, and naturalization papers. Keep an eye out for known extended family members who may have come from the same place. You can also school yourself in traditional Irish naming conventions and patterns, as this is always helpful.
Q: At what point in the Irish research process do hobbyists usually get stuck?
A: Common names regularly recycled can often cause researchers to get stuck. It can be tough to sort out who is who. Also, a huge fire at the Public Records Office in Dublin in 1922 destroyed the bulk of government records. Click here for a description of what was lost and what surviving fragments are coming soon to Findmypast.com. Remember, there are always ways in which we can overcome these research barriers and get you the Irish genealogy help you need.
Q: Sometimes we need help. You are a professional genealogist at Legacy Tree Genealogists. How does one begin work with a professional genealogist?
A: Our process is easy. Go to our website and begin with a free consultation. A manager calls or emails you, the client, to discuss your needs and parameters. We identify the goals and determine what the client already knows. A goal, the time required, and the research packet needed is settled on (research packet prices). Then, a researcher is assigned to the client. A written report of the research conducted is provided to the client.
And, we have a great starter package. The Legacy Tree Discovery package provides for 3.5 hours of preliminary analysis and research recommendations. It’s a great choice if you’ve hit a brick wall in your research and could use some expert guidance.
Irish Genealogy Help: DIY
Professional genealogists like Kate and others at Legacy Tree Genealogists can launch your research or help bust you through a brick wall. However, if you’re a do-it-yourselfer, the place to start your research is at home. This will help you determine a place in Ireland, as well as details to help differentiate your person from someone of the same name.
Our Irish Research Guide #1 walks you through the process of identifying the right records in the US that provide you with what you need to know to move on to Irish records.
Irish Research Guide #2 will show you how to use the new online Civil Registration records for Ireland, and how to identify the surviving church records for your ancestors.