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Irish Genealogy

- Suggestions for Starting Out -
Researching Your Family Tree With Nothing To Go On

I started out with nothing on my maternal side of the family two years ago and now I have been able to trace that side back to Schull, Co. Cork. It just takes determination and some luck. Recently I received an email from someone I'd never met--but we are related. She read a message I posted on a Genealogy message board on the Web. Her Great-Grandmother is the sister of my Great-great Grandmother.

  1. Ask a Family Member - Your Parents and/or Grandparents are a excellent source for information about your ancestors. They can tell you stories about your ancestors and of events that occurred before you were born or when you were too young to remember. Nothing beats that! If your Parents or Grandparents have passed away, the next step will most likely find you a connection to a cousin you never knew you had!

  2. Post a Message to a (Email) Mailing List and Message Boards for the surname you are researching. You'd be surprised just how many others are researching the same tree! To start working your way back into history you start with yourself. Then your parents and their parents. Just a small bit of information such as names, places (city-county-state) and any dates you have available may help connect you to a source of information you never knew existed! You often have to wade through a lot of messages but it's worth it in the end. I personally have found three online connections to cousins I never knew I had. And it's all connected through genealogy.

  3. Buy Computer Software - To keep track of your research, buy computer software. There are many available. I use Family Tree Maker by Broderbund. They have a very good website that is chalked full of ideas and direction. Some Genealogy software come with CDs that contain family tree information, social security death records and other information. Another good website to look at is "". Sometimes they offer information you'd normally have to pay for FREE! Both sites offer millions of links to millions of people, places and things. Enough to get you started at least!

  4. Don't despair - If you don't find any new information right away or make that quick connection with a "cuz", don't give up! With Genealogy, it's either feast or famine. Don't give up!

Genealogy Software & Websites
Use to search through censuses, vital records, birth certificates, and obituaries to trace your family history. See their Genealogy section.

Family Tree Maker-Family History at your Fingertips!

Family Search - Church of the LDS Family History/Search Site (I found information on one of my lines here!)

Cyndi's List - Probably the largest Web site containing the most Genealogical resources found on the Internet on the Web. There's enough stuff here to keep you busy for the next one hundred years!

Message Boards

GenForum Message Board - By far the best Genealogy Message Board on the Web. For assistance, go directly to the Web site. You can keep track of hundreds of surnames you are researching, as well as ask the Webmaster to add your surname if it isn't listed. The Webmaster is always accomodating!

Vocal@Local - The Genealogical section of Local Ireland, a Web site out of Ireland. If you're lucky to find out what county your ancestors emmigrated from, this message board is organized by county name. There is a general discussion group (located at the bottom of the page), and an individual discussion group for each county listed. Makes it very easy to follow!

Internet Mailing Lists

Roots Web - You can find just about every surname mailing list sponsored on this Web site. Get ready for lots of email from your fellow researchers! (Don't forget, email mailing lists are free!)

Irish Genealogy History Facts
By Cindy Wood

Many people know that records were destroyed in Ireland but many do not know to what extent. To give you an overview of that destruction:

  • In 1922 a fire broke out in the Public Registry Office in the Four Courts in Dublin and destroyed wills, many church records (most Church of Ireland, none Catholic), Marriage License Bonds and Grants.
  • The survival of the census is equally as dismal, since most of the census' were done during World War I or later. Gone are the census from 1813, 1821, 1831, 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891. This leaves us descendants at a big disadvantage. This does not end your search and retrieval of information though. Once you can determine where your ancestors emmigrated from, you can work from that.

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