Nail Your Irish Genealogy Research With These Sources

St Patrick’s Day. It’s always a day to make you think of all things Irish, wear green wigs, drink green beer and for those who research your family history, a day to think of the Irish ancestors.

This year I’m giving you tips on where to look for the ultimate advice and links for Irish research.

Cyndi’s List is one of the ultimate research sites. However it’s not a place to type in name and see what comes up, as it is a website of websites. Think of it as a giant yellow pages of genealogy websites – every country, and every topic to do with genealogy, all nicely categorised. For Ireland there’s almost 4300 links, making it the ultimate portal for Irish genealogy links. And they are nicely divided into topics and counties, making your search a whole lot easier.

While there’s not a whole lot of Irish records on FamilySearch itself, the site is still incredibly useful, as they have a number of tutorial videos to watch – all free. From introducing key websites, to highlighting various records. it’s  great way to learn about Irish genealogy and the records involved.

GENUKI – free
This is a site that I find not many people know about, yet it has a HUGE amount of information. Again, it’s not a ‘type-a-name-in’ website, but one with a lot of information and links giving you further places to look.

Findmypast Ireland is a pay site, but it also the online data site with the most Irish records – over 195 million of them! From directories to BDM records, from military to catholic records, from family histories to migration, from wills to court records – there are a whole lot of records here, and they may well list your ancestors. Click here to see the full list of Irish records.

If you’ve not looked at Findmypast Ireland before, check it out with a free 14 day trial. After that for the “Pro Subscription” is €19.95 for 1 month. These records are also available in a World Subscription.

John Grenham is the author of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, which is commonly known as the bible for Irish research, and his website is an absolute treasure trove of information … and it’s all free! You’ll find a Surname search, Placename search, County sourcelists, the Irish abroad links, Passenger lists, Roman Catholic parish maps, Civil parish maps, Poor Law Union maps – and so much more. Hint, follow hist blog too.

If you are researching Irish ancestors, you NEED to follow Claire Santry’s Irish Genealogy News blog. She really does keep you informed on ANY Irish genealogy news – the records, the products, the accessibility, the archives, the events, the websites and more.

This is another of Claire Santry’s websites, and is perfect for the beginner. She writes “No matter where in the world you now call home – whether it be the Canadian Rockies, the Australian Outback, one of the world’s great emerald cities such as Liverpool (UK) or Boston (USA), or the beautiful craggy coast of Donegal – you’ll find page after page of relevant advice on this website plus the very latest information on genealogical resources in Ireland.” Here’s are just some of what of the research topics, historical themes and areas of help you’ll discover here on Irish Genealogy Toolkit: Irish emigration, Top 10 free websites, Historical Irish newspapers, county maps, court and prison records , free charts and forms, census records, Starting your Irish research, and Finding their place of origin … with plenty more to discover.

These are only a small sampling of what is out there for Ireland. But for anyone wanting to get going – these are good ones to start with, as well a giving you links to the major archives and libraries which have enormous collections, which will help you take your research further.



Just a Little Bit Irish

The 17th of March is St Patrick’s Day. A day for all things Irish. A day to remember your Irish heritage, and that’s what I’m doing today.

On checking my DNA results from Ancestry, it says that I’m 15% Irish/Scottish/Welsh. My guess is that it’s mostly Irish – but as always, that is still to be proven.


And my Living DNA results they say 9.4% South West Scotland and Northern Ireland ….

So while the stats vary (all DNA tests do as they use different algorithms), they do show that I do have some Irish (and/or) Scottish blood in me.

But I’ll be honest, the Irish lines of my family aren’t ones that I’ve done much research on yet … (one day!!). However I do know that McCullough family comes from Randalstown, in Country Antrim, so that’s a start.

Beyond that, I do believe that my 4x great grandma Anne/Hannah McGrath who married William Cosgrove in South Australia in 1856 came from Ireland but that’s yet to be proven.

And I wouldn’t be surprised to find another line or two that end up being Irish. But time (and research of course) will tell.

So on St Patrick’s Day, be sure to take a moment to remember those from the homeland. Those who left their country for various reasons (some willing, others not), and then made a new life in their adopted country. Each of them playing a part in making you the person you are today.