It is well known that research into Irish family history is not always easy. Some valuable records have been lost, others start too late for your purposes and those you can find are difficult to read. Don't worry! Here we hope to share some advice and show you that family history research is enjoyable and worthwhile, and most importantly not at all as difficult as you might think.
Access to records, archives and heritage information have dramatically increased in recent years with many state bodies digitising documents and images, promoting their awareness, and sharing them online with the public. Here are a selection of the best genealogical sources and repositories when carrying out your Irish family history research.
Before you start your research in Irish church records, you must know the name of the place (town or village) where your ancestor lived and their religion. Parish registers were collected and remain at a local level, so knowing these vital pieces of information is crucial.
Access to many of the digitised originals of these records can be found at http://registers.nli.ie
For the period prior to 1864 church registers are the only records available of most births, deaths and marriages (and sometimes burials). The parish priest normally holds the original bound volumes of the parish registers. It is important to bear in mind that the creation of new Catholic parishes in the 19th century can sometimes mean that registers relevant to a particular area may be divided between two parishes. Helpfully the NLI website includes details of the variant names of the parish too and this lessons confusion.