7 MORE UNUSUAL WAYS TO TRACE YOUR IRISH ANCESTORS
The following are some Genealogy repositories and online sources you may not have thought of when searching for your Irish ancestor;
Do You Know The Parish Where Your Ancestor Lived?
If you know the parish where your ancestor lived, it is always worthwhile contacting the parish priest or parish secretary for that parish. The parish priest may know a wealth of information about your ancestor;
- Names of the local cemeteries old and new, and locations.
- History of the churches that served the parish.
- Church records (baptisms, marriages, burials) and more.
You can search for information and address of the parish online;
Roman Catholic Parishes:
You can search for the Roman Catholic Dioceses that serves the county where you ancestor came from. There is a list compiled of Catholic Dioceses available online on Catholic Ireland.net, website: https://www.catholicireland.net/dioceses/
Church of Ireland Parishes:
You can search the Church of Ireland Dioceses online on Ireland Anglican.org, website: https://www.ireland.anglican.org/find-a-church
When writing to the parish priest it is custom to give a small donation.
Do You Know Where Your Ancestor Lived?
If you know where your ancestor lived, it is always worthwhile finding the local heritage or historical society for that area; these societies are generally made up of people who are interested in the local history of their area, places and people; and preserving it through journals and books and much more.
You should check to see if the group or society for the area where your ancestor lived has a website, as they may have compiled a list of cemeteries and the headstones, for the area, naming the people who were buried there.
The Federation of Local History Societies has a list compiled of heritage groups, history societies for Ireland online on their website: http://www.localhistory.ie/?page_id=436.
Was Your Ancestor A Freemason?
It is commonly believed that the Masonic fraternity evolved out of a guild of stone-masons dating from the middle ages. As time passed, many people in society became members of those masonic guilds.
The Index to the Ireland, Grand Lodge of Freemasons of Ireland Membership Registers, Years 1733-1923 is available to search online on ancestry.com.
This collection includes the following;
Membership registers for Masonic Lodges across the 32 counties of Ireland, for Irish Lodges abroad and for those that were attached to militia and British Army regiments.
Registers typically list name, registry date and "observations," which can include a date of death.
They may also note the dates a man advanced through the degrees of Freemasonry and occupation.
Ancestry.com (subscription site): http://search.ancestry.ie/search/db.aspx?dbid=60904
Was Your Ancestor A Farmer Or Did They Have A Small Holding?
The Griffith Valuation was the valuation of all the property and land in the country for tax purposes, between 1847 and 1864. It lists every landholder and householder in Ireland. The index to the Griffith Valuation is available to search online on Ask about Ireland website.
If you find your ancestor on the Griffith Valuation, you can then bring the research forward by searching the original Valuation Revision books, for the place where your ancestor was residing. The Valuation Revision Books enable one to track all changes of occupancy, change of name - one to another. Any changes would be written in different colour. The Valuation books are divided into separate volumes which are categorised by years.
The valuation books can hold valuable genealogical information on your ancestor,
- What type of property/land did they occupy?
- Identify the exact location where the family resided on an original map or print-off provided by the Valuation Office.
- Identify who took over the property/land when they died; was it their widow, son or daughter.
- How long did the family remain in the area and are there any living descendants still living in the area.
The original Valuation Revision books commence in the year c1850’s right up to present day.
The original Valuation books for the Republic of Ireland are held in the Valuation Office, Irish Life Mall, Abbey Street Lower, Dublin 1.
If your ancestor resided in Northern Ireland, the original Valuation Revision books, Year 1864 to 1930’s, was digitalized and is available to search on line on the Public Record Office for Northern Ireland (PRONI) website.
Ask about Ireland website: http://www.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation/
Valuation Office Website: http://www.valoff.ie/en/Archives_Genealogy_Public_Office/
Public Record Office for Northern Ireland (PRONI) website: https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/about-valuation-revision-books
Have You Reached A Brick Wall In Tracing Your Irish Ancestor?
Many people who have realised, that they have not got enough information to research their family/ancestors further, would have believed in the past, “that was it, no more could be done”. They had reached the proverbial “brick wall” in their paper trail!
Now, it is becoming more and more popular for people to use DNA tests, to help them trace their family/ancestors, and their geographical and ethnic origin. The DNA test has become a very common research tool, also used in conjunction with the traditional genealogy research, now known as Genetic Genealogy research.
There are three DNA tests available;
Autosomal DNA Testing:
Both men and women can take this test. You can find family matches in any branch of their family tree. Autosomal DNA testing can bring you back 5 generations in your family tree. More and more people are using it to trace their biological parents, siblings, grandparents, relatives.
Y-DNA Testing: (Paternal line)
Follows the male line (Paternal line) from father to son, through the generations.
mtDNA Testing: (Maternal line)
Your maternal line runs along the bottom of the chart through your mother, her mother, etc. This test connects people in the maternal line. Because a mother passes on her mtDNA to all her children, both males and females can take this test.
These are three of the most popular companies that offer the DNA testing,
23andMe Dna. (website: https://www.23andme.com/en-gb/)
Familytree Dna. (website: https://www.familytreedna.com/)
Ancestry.com Dna. (website: https://www.ancestry.com/)
Was Your Irish Ancestor A Merchant Seaman?
A merchant seaman worked on board a boat or ship to transport cargo across oceans and lakes. The Irish Index to Irish Merchant Seaman 1918 to 1921 is available to search online on the Irish Mariners website. It contains details of over 23,000 Irish born merchant seamen and their voyages.
The Irish Merchant Seamen records, Central Card Index (CR10 record card), can contain valuable information on your ancestor;
- Date of birth and place of birth.
- Parent’s names/next-of-kin
- List of voyages
You can apply for a copy of the original CR10 record card, which will contain a photograph of your ancestor. Irish Mariners website: http://www.irishmariners.ie/searchdatabase.php.
Was Your Ancestor A Convict?
Funny enough many people have said that they would like to have an ancestor who was a convict; they feel it can add a bit of excitement to their, what might be, an ordinarily normal family tree.
The prison records can contain a wealth of information.
- Place of birth
- Physical description
- Next of kin
- Details of their crime, including the name of the victim
- Dates of admission and release, or death.
You can search the Index to the Irish Prison Registers 1790-1924, online on findmypast website.
You can also visit the National Archives of Ireland, as they hold a large collection of convict and prison records. Their address and open times on available on the National Archives of Ireland website.
National Archives of Ireland website: http://www.nationalarchives.ie/
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Elaine Hannon, M.A.G.I. is a member of the Accredited Genealogists Ireland (Formerly the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland)