Irish genealogy gained a reputation long ago for being a frustrating one-way street to disappointment and headache.
Thankfully, calming potions and analgesics are no longer essential equipment for the amateur genealogist because family history in Ireland has entered a golden era.
More and more records – many of them free – are now available online and offline.
So, if you've been longing to find out who your ancestors were, and how they lived, there's never been a better time to start looking.
You do, however, need to look with some care!
With the independent advice available on this site – all of it provided absolutely free
and without favour to any organisations or service providers – you can avoid
No matter where in the world you now call home – whether it be the Canadian Rockies, the Australian Outback, one of the world's great emerald cities such as Liverpool (UK) or Boston (USA), or the beautiful craggy coast of Donegal – you'll find page after page of relevant advice on this website plus the very latest information on genealogical resources in Ireland.
Here's just some of what of the research topics, historical themes and areas of help you'll discover here on Irish Genealogy Toolkit:
Take a look around by clicking on the images above or in the dropdown menus just below the masthead picture. (There's also the A-Z page to help you go directly to specific topics you're interested in.)
You'll soon see this isn't just another website listing hundreds of genealogical databases (although I'll show you where to find the best), nor will it attempt to sign you up for commissioned research or database subscriptions.
You'll find all the information and contacts you need to help you to discover your heritage in Ireland. Whether you're just starting out on your family history search or you've already made some headway on your journey, Irish Genealogy Toolkit will lead you to a greater understanding of how your ancestors lived and where you come from.
Thanks to some of the genealogy resources that have become available in recent years, I've managed to trace my Irish roots back to 1723 on my maternal line and to 1775 on my paternal line. Not bad for a supposedly impossible exercise, eh?
Among the family I've discovered is my 3 x gt grandfather, Edward Doolittle, seen below at the launch of the 'Robert T Garden' lifeboat in Wicklow in 1866.
Along my ancestral trail, I've extended my understanding of Ireland's social and political development, dusted off my schoolgirl Latin, learned to decipher 18th and 19th century handwriting, been riled by many historical injustices, and stood and stared at the very same gentle hills and dramatic seascapes that my ancestors stood and stared at.
I've also written a 230-page paperback - Irish Genealogy Guide - published by Penguin Random House; been voted Rockstar Irish Genealogist by my peers; and in 2013 was honoured to be elected a Fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society. (You'll find more about what I get up to on the About Me page.)
It's been a fascinating and rewarding experience, and this website is my chance to share the knowledge I've gained with others who want to discover their roots in the Emerald Isle for themselves.
When relevant, I'll be using my own ancestors' records to demonstrate certain Irish family history research methods or to highlight the value or the quirks of individual genealogical resources.