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Researching Irish Family History

Here are just a few of the many Irish genealogy resources available to help you kick-start your research.

The first thing you must do in your research is start with yourself. Document your family beginning with yourself and working backwards to your parents and their parents. This is done on what we call a pedigree chart (or family tree). Gather as much information as you can from your family's personal records and family stories. Once you have found the location of your Irish family, use the resources listed below based on the location of your family.

If you need to locate where your family originated from,​ begin with a timeline to help you distinguish your ancestor from​ others. Then look at passenger lists, immigration and naturalization records, as well as census and vital records. These documents provide rich information on where your family came from to America to help you find your ancestral home.

Ancestry Library Edition has a search category called Immigration and Travel that will help you locate some of these records. You can narrow your search looking for your ancestor in the following categories.

Census & Vital Records

Census Records are the best way to locate your family in the records where they lived. The Irish government took a census in 1813 (which no longer exists), then every 10 years from 1821 through 1911. Due to the Irish Civil War of 1921-22, another census was not taken until 1926. The next census was taken in 1936. Beginning in 1946, censuses were taken every five years through 1971. After that, censuses have been taken every 10 years. Click here to find census Online Databases.

When looking for Vital Records, look for births, marriages, deaths and burials. Many of these records can be found in churches or in civil registrations. FamilySearch provides a table to help you find records from all the major websites. Check their Ireland Online Genealogy Records to find what is available online.

More Tips

Some additional beginning Research Tips from FamilySearch:

  • Date of birth or finding parents. Irish civil registration marriage records give the names of the fathers of the bride and groom, and often give the ages of the bride and groom.  Search the Ireland Marriages.
  • Finding children or parents. Civil registration records may contain a birth record with this information. Search Ireland Civil Registrations.
  • General A Primer in Irish Genealogy
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