3 Steps to Tracing Your Irish Ancestry Back to Ireland

Tracing your Irish Ancestry back to Ireland can feel like quite a daunting task. Here, we see a 3-Step process that you can use to structure your search.

Now Reading:

3 Steps to Tracing Your Irish Ancestry Back to Ireland

Do you ever wonder where your ancestors came from in Ireland? Maybe you already know the county? If you already know the specific house in the specific village or townland, then you’re one of the lucky ones.

Many people of Irish ancestry often come across no more than record or gravestone that simply states “Born in Ireland”. Some older members of your family might add “the story goes that our family came from County Cork originally” – or something like that!

This guide is primarily aimed at someone who is beginning to trace their Irish ancestors back to Ireland. However, even if you have started that journey, I think you’ll find useful reminders and suggestions in each of the steps below.

STEP 1. Trace back to your first-known Irish Immigrant in your country.

This is all about getting your KNOWN FACTS together – which come in the following four flavours:

  • NAMES: First names, middle names, surnames, maiden names, nicknames. Names of parents, siblings, children, aunts, uncles, neighbours, sponsors for baptisms and marriages.
  • DATES: Dates of birth, dates of baptism, dates of marriage, dates of immigration, dates of death.
  • PLACES: Places in your country (outside Ireland): point of immigration, early addresses, places of work. Places in Ireland: Point of emigration, last place of work (and occupation), place of residence (townland/village/town), place of court appearance (for some!), place of birth.
  • RELIGION AND OCCUPATION: What was the assumed religion of your ancestor on immigration? Were they Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist or other? This can have a big bearing on how to later search for Irish records. What was the occupation of your ancestor on immigration?

Where can you find these facts? There are two primary sources:

SOURCE 1. LIVING RELATIVES: In Ireland, if you want to find out something – you ask someone who knows already. The original Irish Google! This might sound a bit obvious, but through the centuries, we have placed a lot of emphasis on the oral tradition.

So, after you have jotted down the facts that you know – and you want to go back a step, say find the maiden name for your grandmother – it’s a good idea to ask someone who is alive already. And follow THAT question up with a “what do you remember about her”. You can then corroborate the memories you uncover with records at a later date. It is also useful to ask for photographs (often showing a date and place) as well as private correspondence.

SOURCE 2. RECORDS: Records in the country of immigration and records in Ireland.

  • Obituaries in papers.
  • Civil records: Births, marriages and deaths.
  • ​Census records.
  • ​Immigration and passenger lists.
  • ​Naturalisation records.
  • ​Military and military pension records.
  • Passport applications.
  • ​Church records.
  • ​Local newspaper articles and histories.
  • Gravestone and burial records.
  • Transportation records for convicts (Australia).


How do you gain access to these records? Presuming you have uncovered some records in your extended family possession, I think its a good idea to take the following approach – starting with number 1 and seeing how far you get:

1. GO TO YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY. Local libraries are often your gateway to local knowledge AND the online world – staffed by librarians who have been asked the same kind of questions many times. Libraries also often have access to memberships of online ancestry sites.

2. SIGN UP FOR A PAID, OR FREE, ANCESTRY SITE. These sites typically do 3 things for you.

      • They give you a place to “plant and grow” your family tree records.
      • They help you to connect with other amateur genealogists – maybe even potential cousins – and compare notes.
      • They give you search-access to many of the records mentioned above. Remember, your local library can often give you free (sometimes limited) access to these services.

The big Ancestry sites include:

      • FREE SITES: familysearch.org This is a free-to-use genealogical record site run by the Church of the Latter Day Saints. It allows you to build a family tree and search through a wide range of worldwide civil records, church records, census data and other record types.
      • PAID SITES: ancestry.com, myheritage.com and findmypast.com While ancestry.com is the largest of these sites – each offers a somewhat different experience in terms of user interface, speciality in certain types of records, price points and so on.

A lot of local libraries offer free access to most of the services offered by one or more of these ancestry sites. Many of our readers have found membership of (or a visit to) their local historical/genealogy society a wonderful way to connect with like-minded people in their localities.

Alternatively, you can access your local records more directly e.g. go to your local census site online, check out online grave records sites and so on. As you search progresses, you will probably go directly to the source site for records more often anyway.

3. ENGAGE THE SERVICES OF A GENEALOGIST. This won’t be for everyone – but there are professionals out there who can accelerate your search by carrying out some, or all, of the research on your behalf. However, be aware that having something disproven can be just as valuable as something proven – but you may feel disappointed and wish you did not know!


The aim of your preparatory research in this step, is to find as many facts that will differentiate your ancestor from someone else of the same name.

So, let’s say you have worked your way back to your earliest arriving Irish ancestor. Ideally, you will uncover their:

  • Full name.
  • ​Approximate date of birth.
  • ​Parents names.
  • ​Place of birth.
  • ​Name of spouse.
  • ​Date and country of marriage.
  • Names of children.
  • Date and Country of birth of children.
  • Names of siblings.

Be sure to differentiate between the facts you have evidence for – and the “facts” that are guesses!

However, even just some of these facts may be enough to start working with Irish records in Step 2.

A note of caution: you will come across many “guesses” presented as facts on ancestry sites such as ancestry.com . This does not mean they are useless – you just need to have a little due diligence, especially as you start to gather facts from others.

STEP 2. Use online Irish Records to Discover more about your Ancestor.

Now for what can be a tricky bit! Here are the important dates and facts you need to know before looking at Irish records:

  • The first full Irish census record, still surviving, is for 1901. Earlier censuses were fully, or partially, destroyed in a fire in 1922. However, there are a number of “census substitutes” that you can use to trace the location of an ancestor on a particular date prior to 1901.
  • It is difficult to find a BMD record in Ireland from before the early 1800s.
  • Civil registration commenced for non-catholic marriages in 1845. Registration for all births, marriages and deaths commenced in January, 1864.
  • RC Church records were recorded and maintained by local parishes. Some parishes started to record in the early 1800s – and some not until as late as the 1860s. The quality of handwriting and spelling (as well as use of Latin in places) in these records can vary greatly. Over the years, many of these records have been transcribed onto more legible online records. However, the quality of these transcriptions vary – so check with the original record whenever possible.


  • Census Records: census.nationalarchives.ie You can search the 1901 and 1911 census, as well as earlier census fragments. Although your ancestor may have left Ireland before 1901, you are likely to find their descendant family members living in their original homeland.
  • Civil Records and Church Records (Births, Marriages, Deaths). These are available in a number of sources:
  • Civil records of BMD can be found on Irishgenealogy.ie – there you can search civil records – and see images of the record register for the whole of the island of Ireland from 1864. The images are being updated all the time, see the website for images currently available.
  • Church Records have been transcribed in a number of places. These include:
    • Rootsireland.ie (a paid access site): Contains church records and part civil records for the majority of the island of Ireland.
    • Irishgenealogy.ie (a free government-sponsored site): Contains searchable church records for Counties Kerry, much of County Cork (west and northwest), Dublin city and County Carlow. Note: The Civil records have had a large number of images attached to them (as of Sept 2016). This allows you to look at the original registers for many BMDs in Ireland.
    • The National Library of Ireland: For Catholic registrations only, registers.nli.ie allows you to examine the original record online. However, you need to know the parish in which your ancestor was recorded.
  • Property Tax Registers: Given the lack of census material in 19th century Ireland, we are fortunate to have two classes of property tax registers available online. They are:
    • Griffith’s Valuation: This is available to access freely at AskaboutIreland.ie – it provides you with a listing off all tenants across Ireland in the period 1850 – 1860. Remember that the majority of the population of Ireland were tenanted farmers that this time. You can focus in on your ancestor’s homeland, sometimes their house, neighbours – and get an insight into life and land divisions of the time.
    • Tithe Applotments:  This survey of Irish landholders for the period 1823 to 1837 gives you an insight into who lived where at this time. It is less comprehensive than Griffith’s Valuation, but allows you to travel back to a time before the onset of the Irish famine.


Right – it might take you a while, and you might need some assistance with interpreting the information and connections you uncover in the Irish records. However, the following would be the ideal things that you would uncover at the end of Step 2:

  • ​The relations of your immigrant ancestor in the 1901 and 1911 census.
  • Irish church and/or civil BMD records for your ancestor and their family.
  • The house and land that your ancestor’s family lived in Ireland from Griffith’s Valuation of the 1850s.
  • The church they worshipped in, the school they went to.

All of these things would be ideal, indeed! It may take you days, weeks, months or years. However – it’s important to remember that new records and connections are being made available all the time on many of the above sites. What is not available today, may be available tomorrow.

STEP 3. Visit Ireland and walk in the footsteps of your Ancestor.

Now, I realise that a trip to Ireland may be outside your means, or motivation, at the moment – however, once you have uncovered the likely homeland of your Irish ancestor – it can be a wonderful experience to connect with the area through visiting. This might involve connecting with possible cousins, visiting the ruins of their cottage, walking the land they once farmed, the church they were baptised in, the school they attended.

This sensory immersion can give you a wonderful insight into the life and times of your ancestor – a feeling of connection that no record can provide!

Well, I hope you enjoyed that overview of how to Trace your ancestors back to Ireland. If you have a question or comment on the approach that we suggest, please do leave it below. However, I’m afraid to say that we do not have the resources to answer specific questions related to an Irish ancestor – that’s why we created The Green Room – to give you that help in a friendly and affordable manner.

Many thanks to Jayne McGarvey, one of our Green Room-based Genealogical researchers, for her assistance in compiling the above.​

QUESTION: Are you tracing your Irish ancestors back to Ireland? Where are you on each of the steps above?

  • Maureen MacLean says:

    Thank you for this information. I live in Prince Edward Island Canada. I have traced my way back to my Great Grandfather Thomas Cronin who lived and farmed in PEIsland, Canada. He married in 1870 and was born to the best of my knowledge on Prince Edward Island in 1842. my father Joseph Cronin who is the Grandson of Thomas, always told me they came from County Cork Ireland. That is all I have to go by. Now I am stuck as I do not know the name of Thomas’s father, and who left Ireland to come to Canada.
    Any info you can up with would be greatly appreciated.
    Maureen (Cronin) MacLean

    • Bill Carraway says:

      Maureen my mother was a Cronin and we have also heard we hail from County Cork. There is a group of Cronins around Hudson Falls/Glens Falls NY. I try, with my limited time, to get some information. May be we can help each toher find more.

    • Mike Collins says:

      Hi Maureen – you are welcome. Sounds like you are in Step 1 above – naming conventions suggest that Thomas’s eldest son is named after his grandfather. Thats the first place to look for his likely fathers name. Most Cronins in Ireland come from northwest Cork and Kerry. Mike.

    • Jean Daly says:

      HI Maureen,
      In my research, my husband’s DNA found a cousin who is related to a Cronin (John 8 June 1824) born in Umberabwe Cty Cork. He moved to Galway met and married Julia Cavanagh (b. Mar about 1827-31)(m. just before leaving) (might be my Patrick’s (1820) sister. They arrived in 1847 to USA and went to Nebraska. Perhaps that might help finding where in Cork you can look for your Cronin connection!
      What is stated was passed down by word of mouth to Jim McGraw who is a match to my husband, Tom.
      Good luck!

  • Mayvella Knights says:

    An excellent guide to finding one’s roots! I have worked on my Kennedy/Buchanan lines for over 25 years now and am finally at the point where I will be visiting their areas of Ireland and Scotland later this month. It will be very heartwarming indeed!

    • Sandy Laferriere says:

      Hello Mayvella! I also have Kennedy connections in the Londonderry area, Lower Cumber . THOMAS KENNEDY and ELIZABETH REID are my GGGrandparents. They emigrated to St. JOHN , NEW BRUNSWICK, CANADA in 1853 with 7 children. Does any of this sound familiar? Good luck with your search and have a wonderful trip.

      Sandy Kennedy LaFerriere☘☘

    • Mike Collins says:

      Thanks Mayvella – and thats fantastic news on your part – visiting the home turf! Mike.

  • Mary Leidner says:

    This is quite the help in again beginning my search. I am blest/cursed with a very common Irish Name(O’Neill) and thus must dispel the rumors of my ancestors from the facts. My plan is to enlist the help of all our family in the search as my Irish family has been in the USA since the 1840’s. I know that other branches arrived later and met up with the O’Neill faction such as the Barrett’ and Cooney’ and French families. Thank you so very much for being here for me and others with this search.
    Mary O’Neill Leidner

    • Mike Collins says:

      Thanks Mary – I like the way you say “dispel the rumours from the facts”. Always good idea to take both into consideration, but to keep them separate! Mike.

    • Douglas Hugh Barrett says:

      Hello Mary,– I have been trying to trace the Barrett family in County Sligo for many years, From which County do your Barrett’s come from? Regards Doug.

  • Ken Duckett says:

    A brilliant and concise guide to researching your Irish Ancestors.
    Thank you Mike and Jayne

    • Mike Collins says:

      Thanks Ken – these are the main steps – but, as you know, we go into a lot more depth and detail in the Green Room. Mike.

  • Lulu Kelly says:

    I have been doing research for about thirty years . I am back to Ireland and I was lucky to find a document that I didn’t know if it was our family. It wasn’t from the area I thought we were from. It was from the North, near Buncrana, Donegal and templemore parish,Derry. It was a wedding certificate that some one on “friends of Ireland” help me with. I then tested my husband at Ancestry.com and uploaded his DNA to Gedmatch . Most of his Kelly/ Doherty matches were from Donegal and we had several matches in Buncrana. I then join the Donegal genealogy site on facebook. They are so helpful. WE may never know more then this but i feel like I got us, Home. Our family left Ireland around 1827. P.S..I use a google map to put families that jim matched. He also had a lot of matches to area in Muff when I did that.

    • Sandy Laferriere says:

      Hello Lulu. My GGGrandparents THOMAS and ELIZABETH KENNEDY emigrated from MUFF to Canada in 1853 with 7 children.

      • Lulu Kelly says:

        Let me know if you have tested. We also came in through Quebec, Canada but much earlier,1829. I don’t know if you belong to the facebook Donegal genealogy resource site.

    • Mike Collins says:

      Thats a good suggestion, Lulu – there are many Facebook groups full of helpful people with shared roots. Delighted that worked out so well for you. Mike.

    • Margaret says:

      Hi Lulu – my Kellys also immigrated around 1829-30 to Canada through Quebec. My g-g-grandfather settled in a small town outside Quebec city and became a successful farmer. I believe he came over with his wife and the first child I have found was born in 1835 in the same town. I have no idea of where they immigrated from and have been struggling to find that. Batholomew Kelly m. Margaret McDevitt. Bartholomew died in Montreal in 1895 age 85, I have visited his gravesite as well as many of the children but all documents I have found here simply say for place of birth “Ireland”

  • Pat Landers says:

    I have managed to find some information about the Landers family from County Kerry but your sites for Church records and Catholic Registrations provide additional options for researching the Landers family. Thank you.

    Pat Landers

  • Regina Fallace says:

    I was very excited to see today’s message regarding how to commence one’s search for Irish ancestors. Unfortunately for me it seems that my Irish ancestors emigrated to America before the record periods you cite. I know I have some Irish roots because of a DNA test recently performed. Is there any other record type or source for earlier periods?
    Thank you for your interesting letters!

    • Mike Collins says:

      Hi Regina – that is where things get a little tricky. Yes, there are earlier sources – but there are many Irish families and individuals who never appear in earlier records. I find that DNA testing can be very useful in such circumstances as much research has to be done with circumstantial evidence, guesswork etc – and the DNA testing can link you to fellow researchers who have uncovered facts about your shared ancestry. Mike.

  • robert prager says:

    I was extremely fortunate in that my great grandmother, Mary Dalton, had an obituary that mentioned the town in Ireland in which she was born!

    • Mike Collins says:

      That is really lucky alright Bob – also goes to show the value of hunting down those newspaper obituaries. Mike.

  • Edward Stuart Barrett Jr says:

    This is all well and good, but I have hit a reinforced concrete wall! My ancestor arrived from Ireland in 1749-50 alone and unaccompanied. He was supposedly on his way to “the West Indies” to live with an uncle (no name given) but instead ended up in Baltimore, MD due to a ship wreck. I’m not convinced that this story is correct and that he might have come here as an indentured servant (could have been on his way to the West Indies as one, I suppose). Anyway, I am the only one doing research on this and also the oldest person around. Since I don’t have any names to search, I guess I will probably have to just give up.

    • Lulu kelly says:

      Do DNA testing it will help!!

    • Mike Collins says:

      Hi Edward – as Lulu suggest above, DNA testing can be very useful in such circumstances as much research has to be done with circumstantial evidence, guesswork etc – and the DNA testing can link you to fellow researchers who have uncovered facts about your shared ancestry. Mike.

    • Douglas Hugh Barrett says:

      Hello Edward — Have you done a DNA test? I did one not so long ago and have matched with relatives in Ireland, Canada and USA who are doing the Family Tree and have found some very interesting info,
      Regards, Doug Barrett.

  • Beautifully done as always. Have put my toe into all sites you have listed with good success. Wall for Presbyterian Olivers starts about the time of my g grandfather Benjamin’s birth in Armagh. Still searching his parent’s marriage record (have deed) and mother’s birth but all is good.

    • Mike Collins says:

      Thanks Carolyn – the Presbyterian records can be even harder, at times, to find than the RC records. We’ll have to head up to Armagh town in the summer. Mike.

  • Thanks so much for these suggestions about finding Irish ancestors. My great-great grandfather Charles Kernan/Kiernan came to the US before 1840, as he is in our 1840 US census. My grandmother said her grandfather was born on St. Patricks Day, 1817, in Dublin, Ireland, but that his family came from County Caven. She also told me he changed his name from Kiernan to Kernan. I don’t know his parents names and have had no luck tracing his immigration. He married here in the US and died in St. Louis in 1864. There is no death certificate or obituary, that might show the names of his parents and/or siblings. Any suggestions you have would really help. My grandmother was quite proud of her Irish heritage and called her father’s family “lace curtain Irish”, whatever that means. 🙂

    • Mike Collins says:

      Hi Paula – thanks for the feedback. Lace curtain sounds like a posher variety of folk to me!

      Have a google on “Irish naming patterns” – these should give you a good clue as to the probable names of your ancestor’s parents names. Mike.

  • High Honea says:

    My father always told us that his family came from Ireland but I have not been able to trace it back there.
    Great grandfather was Tilison Chandler Honea.

    • Roxie says:

      Your black forest cakes looks befatiuul!! It’s making me having a sugar craving at 10:50 pm! haha, I must remind myself not to drop by ur blog late at night to save me from my expanding waistline!

  • Marion says:

    My story is a bit different. I found a Methuen newspaper article dated September 29, 1909 that stated my great-grandmother placed my grandmother (Gertrude Anne O’Brien (age 2) and her sister, (Katherine, age 3) in an Arlington district home stating she would pay their board when she returned. After some weeks, Chief of Police Gordon took the girls to Boston where they were turned over to the state board of charity.

    I was told the family lived in Lawrence. I *think* I found a birth certificate for Gertrude, but I can’t find any records for Katherine. If this is Gertrude’s birth certificate, the father’s name was not listed.

    The girls were taken in as Wards of the State by two sisters who lived in Watertown. We’ve searched baptismal records in Lawrence and Watertown and have been unsuccessful in locating any additional information.

    If Katherine had been born in Ireland and brought to the U.S., do you have any tips on how to start searching for the information?

    • Mike Collins says:

      Hi Marion – I would focus on the children of both sisters – Google Irish naming patterns – the sequence of the girls births will give you a clue as to their parents names. It seems that you have their date of birth – so that should be enough to start searching in Irish records (see above). Mike.

  • Honora Weaver says:

    I am two years into my genealogy journey. My third great-grandparents, William Potter and Honora Casey, immigrated from Ireland separately and met and married in Kentucky in 1863. I have found a baptism record for a woman who may be William’s younger sister (the names of the parents match: Arthur Potter and Honora Concannon) from Donaghpatrick Parish in County Galway. I have not been able to find where Honora Casey is from, though. On the 1920 US Census she answered that she could speak English but that her’s and her parent’s native language was Irish. Her father, John Casey, is too common a name to really find concrete answers. Her mother was Cecelia Thornton and she immigrated to America with Honora and her other daughter, Mary. I have been told that a Gaelic speaking Thornton seems to indicate Honora’s family is also from County Galway. I’m hoping to get over this “brick wall” and find definitive answers.
    Honora’s first-born son, Arthur named his first-born daughter, my great-grandmother, Honora. She then named her first-born daughter, my grandmother, Honora and then my mother named me Honora in honor of her mother. I feel a deep connection to this part of my ancestry.

    • Mike Collins says:

      Its always a good starting point to assume that they knew each other – or came from a similar place – in Ireland. With the name of her mother, and her father first name – it should be quite straightforward to check Irish BMD records. Thanks for sharing, Mike.

  • Susan says:

    FYI, I am an LDS genealogist. Local LDS family history centers have free access to these and other paid sites in the centers. Just find your local FHC on LDS.org or by calling your local meetinghouse.

  • jacinta egan says:

    All your information is awesome to read,but I am at a road block to find relatives.My father is Liam Denis Egan,born 19th july 1921,and originally from Passage West.I do not know my family in Ireland and would dearly love to.I am sorry that that is all the information I have

  • Jan Boyle says:

    This is wonderful! Going to send to my friends who are having trouble getting started with their search. Plus, it’s very helpful for me as well.



  • Mary Ellen Trego says:

    One of my favorite letters! Concise and so useful…will keep this as a reminder for me and give a copy to a friend just starting on her Irish family!

  • Maire says:

    How timely that you reprinted these steps again. Just this week I discovered an obituary that stated that my Father’s family (Rooney) emigrated to Pennsylvania in 1868 from Sligo. Now I need to do more research to uncover information about his maternal line (Carr) and see what I can piece together.

  • Angela Severn ne Griffin says:

    I have been trying to trace my fourth great grandfather back to Ireland but not having much success.

    On his marriage certificate his place of birth just says Ireland, He was born in 1785

    His name is John Griffin and he married a Hannah Moxon in 1808. He settled in the St Anns area of Nottingham which was the lace district of Nottingham.

    I have no knowledge of when he came to the UK or if he lived elsewhere before coming to Nottingham.

    Where would I start to look for my ancestors in Ireland with this information.

  • Carol Anne Casey says:

    My daughter is currently in Ireland…on her way to Galway from Dublin then on to Waterford where my Great-grandfather and a couple of his brothers left from to come to Newfoundland. His name was Patrick Casey and born in 1835…we beleive he was from Lisemorè county Warerford. I don’t have a depatureor arrival date….would love to find out that information and learn of his parents and names of his siblings!

  • Carol Anne Casey says:

    Oh please excuse the spelling mistakes!

  • With an DNA test, it shows I am 19% Irish. I have Humphreys, Jackson, and Mundy in my family tree, that I don’t know where they are from. The Irish in my family are my brick wall. Any help would be appreciated, just to get started. My families are from Virginia, USA and have been here still early 1800’s, as far as I can tell. Thank you.

  • Frances Clancy-Green says:

    I am currently a Worldwide Ancestry.com access user for my family tree. My Problem is I cannot find any connections to the Clancy’s of Ireland or the Welch. My Great grandfather was Daniel Clancy, from County Cork, Ireland. His wife Elizabeth Welch married in West Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. 6 Nov. 1895. Daniel’s mother was Mary Cronin. I believe Daniel was born in 1856. Elizabeth father was David Welch and mother was Elizabeth Nation. I have no one I can ask living that can provide answers to what happened to the relative in Ireland or where exactly did they live. Ancestry is not helping through trace clues. I believe Daniel came to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. in 1890 or earlier. Where to I start? Did our Clancy’s just disappear or die out? I laugh as you say they all came out of Cork or Cork harbor for America.

  • jon sargent says:

    Hi guy’s new to this page at the moment so excuse me if i get things wrong – but i know my family root’s are from cork in Ireland and their names are maloney and o’keef and Corey “Courey” Good luck to All happy tracing .

  • Tina sughrue stroud says:

    Don’t know where my family came from over from Ireland I was just told that is where my dad’s family came from

  • Laurie Norton says:

    My Dad’s family lived in Dublin. His Mother’s name was Elisabeth Brennan, born in the late 1890’s. I know that she had a younger sibling that was disabled and that her parents took her to an orphanage as they could only afford one child, and figured she would be adopted faster than her disabled sister. My Grandma immigrated to Canada in the early 1900’s, and married “Pat” George Norton. He later became a criminal. I have been told that the Church that held her birth records burned down and that all was lost. My Dad passed away about 16 yrs ago and I do not have family that I can can ask questions of. I want to know my Irish roots! Can anyone help me please?

  • Michel Gagnon says:

    My ancestors are Thomas George Stanley and Elizabeth Hodgins. They arrived in Canada in 1816

  • Tim Carson says:

    My paternal grandfather William James Carson was born about 1867 in the Belfast area. The only “certain” info appears in his 1885 immigration to the USA and afterward. Ancestry Family Trees have “data” all over the map for birth and parental info so I don’t know what to “trust.” To make matters worse William James often went by James. There are soooo many “James” and “Williams” which makes sorting more difficult! To top it off my DNA suggests some Scottish ancestry. It appears there may have been quite a bit of travel between Ireland and Scotland in the early 1800’s but without parent names I’m bumping into brick walls. Thoughts?

  • […] their Irish ancestors back to Ireland – we start by asking them to follow this guide – 3 Steps to Tracing Your Irish Ancestors back to Ireland. And that is enough for some people – it gets them started in the right direction. But, […]

  • Elizabeth says:

    Thank you, I had traced back my families last name Dunn and I am of irish descent and I learnt that the dunns are of royalty and nobility . I think , I am just very confused on how that goes. I told my friend what I found out and they were joking and said that ” it sort of makes you a princess.” I told her if I was one I wouldn’t have a country and she said that would still count. As cool as all of that was I’m not a princess and we’re not royalty , not anymore. If anyone wants to reply or talk of this or anything , please do. I would like to hear what you have to say.

  • C, Thomas McCarthy says:

    I visited Ireland in 2011. I checked the Baptismal records for my grandfather at the Catholic record place in Armagh. But, couldn’t find a record of my grandfather, John Caherty, who was born in 1858 in Camly-Ball Northern Ireland. Can anybody help?

  • Judy says:

    The earliest record of Wilkinsons is for John Wilkinson forn in1735 in Antrim, Antrim, Ireland. His father was Thomas Wilkinson and mother was Catherine Brantley. John married Margaret possibly MacGune or MacGnume, also of Ireland. They emmigrated to Chatham North Carolina, USA where he died 14 Dec 1787.

  • Eloise Tallon Bucholtz says:

    Great information. Would like to connect to green room. Instructions please

  • Hello, I have researched my grandfather, James J Mulligan and have visited his childhood home and met my 2nd cousins. Now, I need to find a route to find my grandmother, Delia Tansey who was from Ballymote, County Sligo. I already have the 1901/1911 Census and the Ellis Island Passenger List information her. I am planning on going to Ireland in September, 2018 and would really like to visit her hometown and see if I can connect with any Irish relatives there.

    Can you give me some suggestions to try so I can complete my Irish circle? I would be willing to engage a researcher to accomplish this, so I would greatly appreciate a recommendation.



  • Carolyn Burke says:

    One of my great great grandmothers maiden name was Elizabeth McCrinck.and she came over in the mid 1850, SHe married Patrick Buckley. have you heard of McCrinck?

  • […] She does know that her ancestor was a military man – and this can offer many clues as to movements and whereabouts of a particular family. So, do have a read of Barbara Silver’s ancestral story – and have a look at the next search steps we suggest based on those military links. You may find it useful in your own Irish ancestral search. […]

  • Deborah Hughes says:

    Thank you so much for this invaluable information and resources.

  • Deborah Clark says:

    I have been so lucky to find your Letter from Ireland-what a font of information! I am also lucky enough to know where in Ireland my maternal great great grandfather (Phelan from Co. Tipperary) and my paternal great-great-great grandfather (Ryan from Kilkenny) came from but still have a lot of work to do on them and other family like the family from Ulster and my husband’s family (the O’Reardon {Rardin when they came to the states}). I have tried several times to get the Life membership for A Letter from Ireland but my bank always has issues with it-maybe the next time you have a special come up for it. Darn spam checks!

  • michael linton leary says:

    Trying to locate when exactly my Great Grandfather immigrated to USA. On the 1900 Federal Census indicates year 1860 as entry date. One problem with that. Shows he is married with 3 children ages 4,3 and 1. They are shown as being born in USA. Himself and Wife as Ireland. Unless he married his wife who assume was a widow how could the children have been born USA if they came with him to USA. Which brings the “real” roadblock. Trying to locate his immigration record(s) from 1860. You know how many Patrick Leary/O’Leary came to the USA and only occupation listed was “Laborer? Yikes. I did locate a Patick Leary occupation as Carpenter which was what he was as being passenger on ship Aberdeen arriving New York 25 Nov 1850. Age 30 which was close. No actual view of that ship passenger list though.

  • Margie Jacobs says:

    I have a trip planned to County Cavan in early October. I hope see Drumlane, Cornadarragh, Loughtree Lower, and the farms that my Richmond family worked on the lands owned by the Earl of Lanesborough. I am specifically trying to learn about 3x gr-grandparents Geofrey Richmond and Mary Graham.