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Article Published September 24, 1999
Using the Internet for Irish Research
By: Kyle Betit
The ever-expanding Internet is increasingly useful to the family historian tracing Irish ancestors. This is true whether you are doing research in Ireland or searching for the Irish origins of your immigrant ancestor. Records, indexes, reference material, addresses, repository descriptions, special-interest mailing lists and a wide variety of other helpful material can be accessed through the Internet. The aim of this column is to describe some of the resources available and to direct the reader to sites which can be used to explore the riches the Internet holds for Irish family history research.
General Irish Genealogy Sites
Listed here are some of the more important web sites for accessing Irish genealogical material and for keeping current about information available on the Internet. These sites are excellent starting points for Irish research.
Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet: Ireland and Northern Ireland
Cyndi's List contains the most links to genealogy sites of any site on the Internet. The "Ireland and Northern Ireland" page is an extensive catalog of Irish genealogy and related Internet sites, some with brief descriptions. Categories are: General Resource Sites, History & Culture, How To, Heritage Centres, Libraries & Archives, Mailing Lists & Newsgroups, Maps & Gazetteers, Newspapers, People & Families, Research Services, Publications, Queries & Surname Lists, Records, and Societies & Groups.
The Irish Ancestral Research Association
This site includes pages with links to Irish Library Catalogs, Book Stores and Publishers, Online Newspapers, Periodicals and Journals, Emigration and Passenger Lists, Family and Clan Associations, Databases and Search Engines, Professional Researchers and Commercial Services.
Irish Genealogical Society, International
This site contains links to specific Irish surnames, townlands and counties, resources and other genealogy links. There are pages about getting started in Irish genealogy, research in Ireland and other countries. Articles from The Septs, IGSI's journal, have been uploaded. There is an index to genealogical articles in Irish periodicals.
Ireland World Gen Web Project
Queries can be posted here under the various Irish counties. In the section "Ireland Specific Lookups," volunteers are listed who will look up information from published works, records, and the Ireland phonebook. There are ads for professional research, surname links and resource lists for each Irish county in the GENUKI web pages.
UK+Ireland Genealogy (GENUKI)
This site has regional sections on England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Channel Islands, and Isle of Man; subject sections relating to all of the British Isles; and archives and libraries.
The Fianna: Irish Ancestry & Historical Research
This site aims to be a "comprehensive on-line guide to Irish genealogy links, history and more" including sections on Irish County web sites, Irish Immigration & Ship web sites, Irish Land, Geography, and Map web sites, and Searchable Irish Genealogy web sites. Extensive links to databases and other genealogy sites are included.
Irish Ancestors on the Irish Times Web Site
This site maintained by John Grenham has extensive reference material for Irish genealogy including featured periodicals with free articles about Irish family history. Placenames are searchable countrywide or by city or county. The "Browse" section gives a general overview of some of the records relevant to Irish family history research, and researchers may browse through listings and descriptions of these records.
British Isles Family History Society - USA
Included here is a detailed description of the BIFHS research collection housed at the Los Angeles LDS Family History Center. Irish record sources and research guides are discussed. FHL microfilm No.s are given for many sources, and the site explains how to use a Family History Center to do Irish research. There are links to other British Isles resources.
Irish Repositories On-Line
National Archives of Ireland
The NAI site includes a searchable database of "Transport Records: Ireland to Australia" as well as inventories of various record collections including Business Records and School Records.
Guide to the National Archives of Ireland
(by the Centre for Irish Genealogical & Local Studies)
This site contains concise accounts of the Republic of Ireland's main holdings of public archives under the following headings: Courts and Probate Registries, the Former State Paper Office, Church of Ireland, Government Departments, Public Offices, State Sponsored and Local Bodies, Acquisitions from Private Sources, and Transcripts, Calendars and Abstracts. There is also a section dealing specifically with genealogical research.
National Library of Ireland
The site describes services, publications, and collections (with details of the manuscript and newspaper collections, for example, but not inventories of these collections) and the Office of the Chief Herald of Ireland. Family history research information includes a list of professional researchers and discussion of church records, the Tithe Applotment Books, and Griffith's Primary Valuation.
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
A search engine allows the entire site to be searched by key word, such as a county name, estate owner's name or record type. There are detailed descriptions of some of the large manuscript collections such as the Kenmare Papers (D/4151) and The Drapers' Company Co. Londonderry Estate Archive (D/3632). Many of the descriptions of estate paper collections provide lists of the townlands which are covered in the records. You can also view an alphabetical list of the collections described on the web site. The site includes sections on Using the Records, Publications, Records Held, Sections in PRONI, Exhibitions & Events, Links, and records recently opened to public access. There are documents with extensive descriptions of genealogy sources such as "Census Substitutes: 18th- and 19th-Century" and "Valuation Records."
Representative Church Body Library
The RCBL holds Church of Ireland parish registers and other sources for tracing ancestors. The site includes information about the functions of the library, its holdings and hours of operation, address/telephone/fax, and details of books offered for purchase. The RCBL is publishing a series of some of the earliest surviving Church of Ireland parish registers.
Valuation Office (Dublin)
This site includes information about the activities, services, fees, and location of the Republic of Ireland's Valuation Office. There is a Genealogy page which explains some of the valuation books available and how they might be used. However, the section is misleading in indicating that the records at the office go back to only c.1846 when in fact the manuscript materials extend back to about c.1830. A sample image of a c. 1920s valuation revision book is on the site and shows the types of information available in the records, relating occupiers to specific pieces of land. Costs for archives research, copies, extracts, and maps are given.
Heritage Centres on the Internet
Ireland is served by a group of heritage centres which have indexed genealogical records on a county-by-county basis. Most of the heritage centres in Ireland belong to the Irish Family History Foundation. Current information about them may be accessed through the IFHF's Internet web site: http://www.mayo-ireland.ie/roots.htm. The information includes background history regarding the county, what records have been indexed by the centre, and what publications are available. Some heritage centres have their own individual Internet web sites and e-mail addresses.
The Irish Abroad
The following are some of the most helpful web sites for tracing emigrant Irish ancestors who lived in Canada and the United States:
inGeneas Canadian Immigration Records & Passenger Lists
including National Archives of Canada Miscellaneous Immigration Index
inGeneas specializes in passenger lists and immigration documents for Canada. Their site offers free a searchable database of the National Archives of Canada Miscellaneous Immigration Index with 14,000 records of immigrants to Canada, primarily 1801-1849. inGeneas offers another searchable database in ongoing development, the inGeneas Database containing passenger list records for immigrants arriving at Canadian ports between 1748 to 1873 and various other Canadian immigration records between 1748 and 1906. Over 50,000 records are already included with the work ongoing. A search of the inGeneas Database produces matching entries showing immigrant's name, age, year, and source. Information from the source and a photocopy may be obtained for a fee with check/money order from inGeneas (Ottawa, Canada) by post. Soundex-type search capabilities are included for the inGeneas Database.
Immigrant Ship Transcribers Guild
This web site contains links to passenger lists which have been transcribed and are available on the Internet.
Archives of the Canada Orange Mailing List
The Orange order included many Protestant Irish immigrants in Canada. This site now contain articles and submissions covering the history of Orangeism in Canada and througout the world, genealogical inquiries regarding family members who were members, sources of Orange genealogical, historical and cultural records in Canada and their locations, early Orange newspapers in Toronto, books, and publications about aspects of the order.
Quebec Eastern Townships Database
Over 500,000 name searchable database index from church, cemetery, census and newspaper articles. Extracts can be provided for a fee. Regarding Quebec genealogy there are also background articles, addresses, Internet links, and old maps. The database concentrates on English-speaking Protestants in the Eastern Townships and includes all pre-1800 microfilmed Protestant church records for the province of Quebec. Some Vermont records are also included.
City Directories On-Line
Primary Source Media's site includes directories for 99cities for the year of 1859, with plans to add more cities periodically. The text of the database is fully searchable, for example by name, address or occupation. There is a fee for the use of this site.
Ontario Genealogy Resources
Ontario Cemetery Finding Aid
Index to Transportation Registers, Ireland to Australia (1788-1868) (Dublin)
Index to the 1871 Census of Ontario
British Columbia Vital Records (BC Archives)
Quebec Notarial Records Database (1635-1800)
Canadian Expeditionary Force (WWI) Nominal Index (National Archives of Canada)
Irish Genealogy Mailing Lists
There are numerous genealogy mailing lists available on the Internet for the exchange of information about particular topics, such as Irish research, the Scots-Irish, or Canadian Orangemen. For Ireland there are mailing lists concerned with particular counties. Some mailing lists concern particular surnames. A list of available Ireland mailing lists may be found at John Fuller's web site, Genealogy Resources on the Internet: http:// users.aol.com/johnf14246/gen_mail.html.
A list and description of the Rootsweb genealogy mailing lists for countries around the world may be found at: http://www.rootsweb.com/~maillist/
In these mailing lists, the genealogist can find queries about particular ancestors or groups, history of surnames, information and questions about particular record sources, religious, historical and cultural background, news relating to genealogy. Some family historians find specific information about a particular ancestor by posting a message to these mailing lists, but more commonly valuable information about sources can be found. Some list members even offer to look up records for other members.
More Irish Resources