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Genealogy Section

Get Started

  Genealogy for beginners. A guide to researching your family history in Ireland

  Two free blank genealogy forms to help you decide on your initial research direction

  Some strategies for finding the origin – the townland or county – of your Irish ancestry

  You say Irish geneology, I say Irish genealogy. That third vowel causes a lot of problems!

  Finding family history stories – preparation for interviews

  Family history interviews – Etiquette

  Suggested questions for family history interviews with relatives

  The Fire of 1922 – 'All the Irish records burned' – myth or fact?

Next Steps

Explore the possibilities for taking your Irish family history research a stage further

My top ten free Irish genealogy websites

My top five not-so-free Irish genealogy databases

The best genealogy websites for tracing Irish ancestry in the North of Ireland

Census Records

An overview and history of Irish census taking

1821-1851 Irish census fragments and transcriptions

Very few census records survive from 1861-1891

The 1901 census – its value and where to find the records

The 1901 census – detailed information on what the census forms recorded

The 1911 census of Ireland is now online - free census records don't come any better

The digitisation and online release of the 1901 and 1911 census returns

A blank form to help you transcribe details from the 1901 all-Ireland census

Use this blank 1911 census form to transcribe details

18th century religious census records and surveys

1766 religious census

Irish pension records can be used as 1841/1851 census substitutes

1926 Irish census - when will it be released?

Search the 1939 National Register for named individuals and occupants of specified addresses in Northern Ireland

Church Records

Irish church records: Part 1 - an Overview

Irish church records: Part 2 - where to find Irish church registers

Tracing Irish Protestant ancestors in Church of Ireland records, Part 1

Tracing Irish Protestant ancestors in Church of Ireland records, Part 2

Your Irish ancestry search using Methodist baptism and marriage records

Irish Quakers, history and where to find Quaker genealogy records

Sources for Roman Catholic baptism, marriage and burial records

Using the National Library of Ireland's Irish Roman Catholic Parish Registers site

Some help with translating Latin in Irish Catholic parish records

Finding Irish Presbyterian baptism, marriage and burial registers

Civil Registration

An overview of the Irish civil registration system and a summary step by step guide to using it

A list of Ireland's civil registration districts in county order

Northern Ireland civil registration records

Irish civil registration indexes, Part 1 - history, compilation, arrangement of books, creating the GRO Index reference

Irish civil registration indexes, Part 2 - Detailed descriptions of online and offline resources for searching the indexes

Ireland's birth records – what information they contain and where to access them

Irish marriage records - what information they contain and where to access them

Irish death records - what information they contain and where to access them

Tips for searching IrishGenealogy.ie

Place of Origin

Strategies for finding your ancestral townland of origin – Part I

Strategies for finding your ancestral townland of origin – Part II

When you know the county but not the townland where your Irish ancestry originates

Irish land divisions ie provinces, poor law unions, parishes explained

Details about the counties of Ireland A-D, Antrim to Dublin

Fermanagh to Louth, some details about Irish counties E-L

Get to know the counties in Ireland M-S, Mayo to Sligo

Get to know the counties in Ireland T-W, Tipperary to Wicklow

Website recommendations for learning about your ancestor's townland, town or county

Genealogy - Moving On

Societies & Groups

A list of local history groups and Irish family tree research societies in Ireland and abroad

The best genealogy sites specialising in local records

Land & Property

An introduction to land and property records in Ireland – genealogy gems

Tithe Applotment Books : a great source for locating pre-Famine rural ancestors

An indepth study of pages of Richard Griffith's Primary Valuation of Ireland

How Griffith's Valuation can progress your mid-19th century research

The genealogical value of the Landed Estates Court Rentals collection

Griffiths Valuation books used by enumerators. Also known as Field Books

Revision Books, also known as Cancelled Books, tell the story of a property, and often a family, through to the 20th century


Irish emigration: a brief history of 17th- and 18th-century emigration; American Wake

Emigation from Ireland in the 19th-century; social consequences

The immigration ships were so unhealthy and unsafe that they earned the nickname 'coffin ships'

An overview of Irish Canadian immigration history from the 17th century to the tragedy of Grosse Isle

US immigration records: a summary of what's available and where to find it

Irish American history: the early years to 1845

Where to find Canadian immigration records and details of Canadian naturalisation

Irish immigration to America: 1846 to the 20th century

The journey to Ellis Island, New York

Use these great tips to get the best from the Ellis Island Immigration Records database

An overview of Irish immigration to Britain from the 18th century to the early 20th century

An overview of Irish immigration to England from the 18th century to the early 20th century

An overview of Irish immigration to Scotland during the 19th century


What is genealogy dna testing? Find out how genealogical dna testing can extend your genealogy research

A brief look at each of the three main types of dna test used for genealogy research

How a paternity dna test (y-dna ancestry test) can help extend your family tree

'Deep ancestry' or mitochondrial dna testing help you discover your ancient origins

Layman's dna facts for genealogy researchers

Surname projects and their value genealogically

Niall of the Nine Hostages: The Big Daddy of Ireland?

At home DNA tests for ancestry research or curiosity

Law & Court Records

What the Irish prison registers may reveal about your ancestors

Irish petty session order books: a great collection for colourful discoveries about ancestors and their lives

A brief history of the Irish prisons system


Interview features with the custodians (or other 'keeper-officials') of Irish genealogy resources

Wicklow Family History: Welcome to the Garden's Centre

Dunmanway Heritage Centre: a little gem for anyone with ancestors from the heart of West Cork

Waterford County Archives in Dungarvan has records a-plenty for anyone with ancestors from this southern county

A-Z  & 'Shop'

An A-Z of resources and notes to aid your Irish genealogy search

Want to buy the best family tree software for your needs? Things to think about before buying family history programs

The best pay-to-view online databases of historical Irish newspapers

The best free Irish newspaper archives, offline and online

All the current special offers and discounts for Irish genealogy records and services

A 150-page ebook noting Irish family history records released from 2011 to 2023

Irish burial records, funeral registers, death and funeral announcements, headstone transcriptions, burial ground surveys etc.

Free stuff

My top ten free Irish genealogy websites

Two free blank genealogy forms to help you decide on your initial research direction

A blank form to help you transcribe details from the 1901 all-Ireland census

Use this blank 1911 census form to transcribe details

The full menu of free family history forms available on Irish Genealogy Toolkit

Use a family tree worksheet to prompt your exploration of your ancestor's life

Use these family tree forms to keep family units together

If you're confused about second cousins and 'once removed', this handy family history chart will explain all

My favourite family history forms! Fill these in with the key life events for each of your Irish ancestors

Known as a Pedigree chart, this free printable genealogy form covers six generations

Choose a family tree template from Toolkit's exclusive range

Ready to fill in, here's a free printable family tree chart for four generations of one family

Choose these blank family trees for stylish keepsakes

In portrait shape, this free printable blank family tree template comes in sepia or original colours

These free family trees records three generations of two families on one sheet. Three versions

A printable blank family tree on which to record four generations of two families. Three versions


A brief lesson on the subject of Ireland geography - to help you learn more about the land your emigrant ancestors left behind

A Northern Ireland map and details of the modern and historical population of Northern Ireland

A colourful County map of Ireland, free to download and print

Irish Names

A history of Irish names and an explanation of Irish naming conventions

Irish last names: a short history and explanation of the Mac and O' surnames of Ireland

The top 20 most common Irish surnames, meanings and geographical spread

Ten more Irish family names with origins and meanings

Irish first names in 1864 – the year civil registration was introduced

The 100 top Irish boy names in the Republic in 2020

Modern Irish girls names, 2020

Irish boys names, from Aed to Donal

From Eamonn to Muirchertach, traditionally male Irish names

Irish baby boy names from Naoise to Tomaltach

What was the most popular Northern Irish name in 2012?

Irish girls names A to D, their meaning, history and usage

Girls names E to M show how Irish baby girl names allude to fiercely strong women

Names N to Z include many of the internationally best-known Irish female names

The history of traditional Irish names from their origin as Celtic names to their modern revival

Heritage Section

Saint Patrick

The history of St Patrick – the real life behind the legends

Shamrocks, fires, blackbirds and snakes - the colourful legend of Saint Patrick

How did St Patrick's Day become such an excuse for a party?

Irish Crafts

Irish crafts tell us more about the world our ancestors lived in

Aran sweaters – the truth behind this well-known item of Irish knitwear

Aran sweaters – the symbolism of the stitches

Irish Linen – how Ireland earned the internationally recognised mark of quality

Irish Linen – the dirty work that transforms the flax plant into beautiful soft fabric

The difference between single and double damask fabric

Irish Symbols

Irish symbols are a shorthand for 'Ireland'

The Shamrock plant – forever Irish

The history and symbolism of the flag of Ireland

This Irish coffee recipe promises a warm glass of luxury

The history of claddagh rings – the famous Irish rings consisting of hands, heart and crown – dates back to the 17th century

The Irish Celtic Cross – These ancient Celtic symbols remain popular signs of Irish heritage

The Celtic High Cross: the oldest high crosses in Ireland are decorated with spirals, geometric patterns and Celtic trinity symbols

Introduction to Molly Malone, with lyrics from the famous song

The official national symbol of Ireland is the Irish harp, aka the Celtic harp, Gaelic harp, Clàrsach or Cláirseach

The origin of Halloween lies in Celtic Ireland

The story of the Jack O Lantern. The origin of trick or treating.

The 'evil' leprechaun is probably the best known of the Irish fairies

Irish Recipes

A menu of traditional Irish food recipes

This Irish coffee recipe promises a warm glass of luxury

An unfussy Irish whiskey cake recipe, great for afternoon tea

This Baileys cake is full of taste and easy to make

The best and easiest Baileys Irish cream cheesecake

Colcannon. Perfect.

Christmas & Seasonal Traditions

The most popular and widely practised Irish Christmas traditions

How the four most important days of Christmas in Ireland are celebrated

Some traditional Irish Christmas recipes for your family to enjoy

Add a little drop of Ireland to your Christmas table with this luxurious Bailey's Irish cream cheesecake

Fasting, eggs and dancing... some Irish Easter traditions

The origin of Halloween, and other things that go bump in the night, lies in Celtic Ireland

Lá Lúnasa is held in August and was one of the most popular Celtic holidays