From our recent Ancestry poll, Question #8, “What place is hardest for you to find documents?” showed that researching Irish ancestry was the hardest.
Contributing Issues and Factors Making Irish Genealogy Research Difficult are:
- Some records are created/stored by: Province, County, Barony, Parish, and Townland.
- Many records stored at the Dublin Castle have been destroyed by several fires.
- The 1821 – 1891 Irish census records were mostly destroyed.
- Religious Records contain more genealogy data than Civil Records.
- Death certificates are not very useful, as they lack information about parents.
What Records to Use to Beginning your Research
The 1922 Irish Civil War of Ireland destroyed many important records making genealogy research difficult, but not impossible.
It is important to know where your ancestors lived, and what religion they practiced. Finding religious documents may be the key to discovering a new fact about your ancestors.
Depending on the time period that you are researching, you can start your research with the following documents:
1901 to 1911: Start with the census returns these are the only census that survived in their entirety.
1848 to 1864: Begin with Griffith’s Valuation. It provides the only detailed guide to where people lived and the property they possessed. It is arranged by county and then by poor law union. Each Poor Law Union is divided into electoral divisions, parishes (Civil Parishes), and townlands.
1823 to 1838: Use the Tithe Applotment books. It was a survey of land in each parish for occupiers of agricultural holdings over one acre payabe to the Church of Ireland. Information you can find includes: name of occupier, name of townland, acreage, classification of land, and amount of tithe due.