STARTING YOUR FAMILY HISTORY
BEFORE YOU START:
Inquire with your family.
First talk to
- grandparents etc., and find out what they know.
Most families have at least one individual who keeps track of the extended network of relatives.
SURNAMES AND NAMING:
Although the spelling matters to us now, before the 20th century extraordinary variations regularly occur in different records.
Reported ages are almost never accurate. Before 1900, few privileged children celebrated birthdays and without a celebration, why would you need to know a precise date?
Find a way of storing the information in a way that makes it easy to find things. A storage-box with alphabetical index cards is perfectly fine. There are also some inexpensive software packages and websites available.
START FROM …The 1901 and 1911 census site.
http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/ – is by far the best place to get a start at it;
- It’s free
- Has images of all the original census forms.
ONE RULE TO BIND THEM ALL:
For the reason that it is almost impossible to take a historical family and try to uncover what your connection might be, it will be best to start from what you know.
So, think of yourself as a detective. Take each item of information as potential evidence. Use it to track down more information that in turn becomes evidence for further research.
How To Approach The Records
General Register Office records.
First, use state records of:1901 and 1911 census returns. These provide extremely helpful snapshots of an entire household.
c/ And Marriages
to verify what you have learned from your family. Get certificates and extract all the information on them – marriage records are particularly useful.
These records will show ages, occupations, counties of birth and, in the case of 1911, number of years married. www.census.nationalarchives.ie
- Property records. Griffith’s Valuation (1847-64) is the only comprehensive mid-nineteenth century census substitute. Information from the GRO now allow you to pinpoint relevant entries.
For early decades of the 19th century the only near-comprehensive resource is Tithe Applotment Survey of c. 1823-1938.
The records for the 26 counties of the Republic are online at www.titheapplotmentbooks.nationalarchives.ie.
- Parish records.
Before the start of civil registration for all in 1864, these records are virtually the only direct sources of family information.
The major resources are; www.rootsireland.ie and www.ancestry.co.uk.
The National Library and National Archives both run free walk-in genealogical advisory services.
Here you will get personal advice on records and research.