Tracing Your Irish Roots

There are many heritage centres and professional genealogists in Ireland who work with people from all over the world who are trying to trace their Irish ancestors. However, if you feel like beginning your adventure with a bit of on-line sleuthing the following sites which have a particular Irish connection might have useful information available free of charge that will help you begin your search.

In 2009 the Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism relaunched the website to assist those of Irish ancestry in their search for records of family history.  At present over 1.3m Church genealogical records of Baptism, Marriage and Death are available to view free of charge on the site, including 734,000 from Dublin City and 600,000 from Kerry. The site also has useful tips on how to start tracing your Irish roots.

The National Archives contains many useful records. Among their records that can be searched on-line free of charge include Returns from Ireland’s 1911 Census and the Ireland-Australia transportation records (1791–1853)

The National Archives also has helpful hints about how to get started , useful information on Irish records and further details of the large number of public records that can be manually searched in Dublin.

The Port of New York arrival records encompass 25 million records and includes details such as name, where in Ireland the person came from, the date of arrival and ship they traveled on.

Emigrant Shipping Lists This website has information on a large number of ships associated with emigration. They have particular projects, including digitised manifests of ships that brought Irish citizens to Argentina.

Boston College Missing Friends Project  Boston College Irish Studies Programme has created an internet database of the Missing Friends column that was printed in the Boston Pilot newspaper from 1831 to 1921. This contained advertisements from people looking for ‘missing’ friends and loved ones who had emigrated from Ireland to the US with whom they had lost contact. The database contains 31,711 records which include a text record of each of the ads. The information includes details as to where the person is from, how and when they travelled to the US, and importantly who the person looking for them is and their relationship to them.

Irish Death Notice Index  This site contains historical newspaper ads/articles from all over Ireland. Of particular interest is the obituaries page, which includes an index of 54,102 obituaries of people who were born and/or died in Ireland, or whose deaths were mentioned in Irish newspapers, and also some US and Canadian papers.


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