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Most people start finding out about their families and the genealogical heritage of their communities by asking older generations such as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles to give them as much information as they can with regard to births, marriages and deaths in a family. Older family members can also provide stories which are very important and also places where different people lived.

This will be the first stage of research for the local parish to engage, identifying and detailing those born in the parish and those who have emigrated from local word of mouth. This is the most immediate and potent way of discovering the Diaspora heritage of each parish.

Once that is done, it is then necessary to search for official documents of births, marriages and deaths which go beyond living memory and then trace backwards from there.   You can also search for wills to see who is mentioned in these as well as land records to see if families owned their own properties.

  1. Primary Resources could be diaries, journals, state census records, courthouse or prison records such as deeds, will probates, birth or death records, baptism or marriage records. Also included as primary sources would be ship's passenger lists and military records.
  1. Secondary Resources include family histories, indexes or compilations of census or marriage records, any sort of history (county, state, etc.), and collections of cemetery inscriptions, for instance.

STEP 1: Parish Survey - Information to be gathered

Target Group One: 1st Generation (i.e. those still living who emigrated)

a) Name of emigrant
b) Present Address / Parish / Townland                               
c) An invitation from a family member to contact them (if Possible)

Target Group Two: 2nd and later Generations
a) Name of emigrant                               
b) Parish / Townland of origin                               
c) Destination                               
d) Information on descendant                               
e) Any further information

Once the process of retrieving the living records of members of the community Diaspora is underway, the primary and secondary phase of research can begin.

STEP 2: Research of primary and secondary resources

Recommended Local Sources

  • Church - records of baptisms, marriages and deaths
    • General Register Office in Dublin which holds the State records from 1860-1900
    • Local Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland records
  • Schools Records
    • School Roll Books
    • School Folklore Commission (1937)
    • Hedge School Records
    • School Building Books (INA – Irish National Archives)
  • Emigrant Records
  • Land/Town Records
    • Griffith’s Valuation of Tenements (mid-19th century list of land and householders)
    • Tithe Applotment Books (1823-1837)
    • Registry of Deeds
    • Books of Survey and Distribution
    • O’Donovan’s Letters
  • Inquiries
    • Poor Inquiry (1836)
    • Devon Commission (1844)
    • Bessborough Commission (1880’s)
  • Other Records

What Irish records are online? (Source: Irish Times - links last checked June 15 2011)

  • Assorted: Various individuals and organisations have transcribed Griffith's and Tithe Applotment books covering their area of interest.

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