Find out how to find the town your Irish ancestors called home.
Find the moments that defined your ancestors’ lives.
Look up names, addresses, occupations, religious affiliations, and more.
Learn new details from your ancestors’ parishes and congregations.
Get deeper context about the life and times of your Irish ancestors.
AncestryDNA can show you where your family likely came from, reveal your unique ethnic mix, and even uncover family members you never knew you had. Connect with your cultural roots in a whole new way with AncestryDNA.Learn more about AncestryDNA
TIP 1: Don’t stop your search if you find one entry for an ancestor. People may appear in multiple books, or you may find individuals associated with more than one account.
TIP 2: Search for everyone in the family. Details not found in your direct ancestor’s account may show up in a sibling’s account.
TIP 3: Remarks can also include immigration details, such as a ship name, port of departure, and date.
TIP 4: These records often provide women’s maiden names. For example, Daniel Buckley’s mother is listed as Ellen Lonergan. (Looking up the record for Daniel’s brother-in-law Michael Quinn reveals which of Daniel’s sisters he married: Bridget Buckley.)
TIP 5: Look for family details under Remarks. From this record we learn that Daniel Buckley comes from Waterford; his father, Thomas, is deceased; his mother, Ellen, is alive; he has sisters named Ellen, Bridget, and Mary; and he is unmarried.
TIP 6: Not all records included a birth year, so unless you’re looking at a huge number of hits, you might want to leave the birth year search option blank.
Records from the Emigrant Savings Bank. Members of the Irish Emigrant Society opened the bank in 1850, following the huge wave of Irish immigration spurred by the Irish Potato Famine. While most depositors were of Irish descent, the bank was not restricted to people from Ireland.
To identify account holders, the bank asked for personal details that are pure gold to family historians. There are four kinds of records in this database:
Test books include personal details used to identify depositors and cover the years 1850-68. Details can include dates, depositor’s name, account number, occupation, residence, and other remarks, such as names of other family members, immigration information, or birth or residence information in Ireland.
TRANSFER, SIGNATURE, AND TEST BOOKS
These books existed from 1850 through 1883 and were used primarily to record changes to an account, such as a new signature, change in address, or change in the account holder. You might find the account holder’s signature, date of a change, account number, residence, occupation, year born, birthplace, and family relations.
These records are arranged by account number and contain an account history of typical transactions, such as deposits and withdrawals.
Index books list names and account numbers.
This database is a good place to look up sponsors, neighbors, and other characters that keep reappearing in records with or near your ancestors. Because of the relationships often listed and the fairly consistent inclusion of mothers’ maiden names, information from this database may finally link these folks to your family tree. You can also learn more about Emigrant Savings Bank records in this 5-Minute Find video.
When you click on View Record for someone in your Emigrant Savings Bank search results, you’ll be taken to a page with a link that says, “View other records associated with this account number.” This is something you definitely want to do. Displaying results by account number can turn up entries that were indexed with different spellings. There are also instances where the Transfer, Signature, and Test Books don’t list a name in the “signature” field, but searching by account number will bring up the record.
TIP 1: To gain some perspective on surrounding townlands (where you may find related families), click the “Find this place on a map” link on the record page.
TIP 2: Griffith’s Primary Valuation is arranged by county and works down from there—barony, parish, etc.—to townland. Within each townland, each “occupier” is then listed, followed by the “immediate lessor.”
TIP 3: In cases where more than one person in the townland had the same name, “agnomens” (additional names or designations) were sometimes added to names. You’ll see some names appended with “jun.” or “sen.” which could imply a father-son relationship, or it could just be in reference to age. Places and relationships were also sometimes used.
TIP 4: If the occupier owns the property, you’ll often see the phrase “in fee” in the lessor column. Other terms may hold genealogical clues as well.
TIP 5: Property was measured in A. English statute acres (4,840 square yards; 640 acres = 1 square mile), R. roods (1/4 acre), and P. perches (30.25 square yards). Most Irish tenants occupied only a few acres.
Griffith’s Primary Valuation of Ireland was a valuation of Irish property for tax purposes. It required determining the value of all privately held lands and buildings to calculate the rate at which each unit of property could be rented. The valuation gets its name from Sir Richard Griffith, who oversaw the effort.
The valuation lists approximately one million individuals who occupied property in Ireland between 1847 and 1864. Pages provide name of the townland, occupiers, immediate lessors, description of property, and valuation of land and buildings. You’ll also find a map reference number that can help you identify and perhaps locate property.
Griffith’s Primary Valuation can be used as a census substitute for the years during and after the Great Famine. It is, effectively, the only detailed guide to where in Ireland people lived in the mid-nineteenth century and what property they possessed.
Because Irish surnames tend to be common, you’ll want to know at least the county name, and a townland or parish is even better. Our Six Places to Uncover Ancestral Origins has ideas on where to look for that information.
TIP 1: Look for the name of the parish in the bar above the record if it doesn’t appear on the page itself.
TIP 2: Registers often provide a mother’s maiden name.
TIP 3: Make a note of sponsors’ names. They were often relatives.
TIP 4: In later years you may find the baptisms on preprinted forms. The forms may be in Latin, but once the headers are deciphered, they’re fairly easy to understand.
TIP 5: On the second page of the record, the last column was reserved for comments. Many note private baptisms. This could mean a child was baptized outside the church, perhaps at home.
TIP 6: Occasionally, you may find that someone added marriage details to the record at a later date. These may include the name of the spouse and when and in what church they were married.
Roman Catholic baptismal registers from 71 parishes in Ireland. Although the Church of Ireland was the established state church from 1536 to 1870, Ireland’s population remained overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. This makes Roman Catholic parish registers, where available, valuable sources for Irish family history, both before and after civil registration began in 1864.
The format of baptismal registers varied through the years and from place to place, but you’ll typically find name, baptismal date, father’s name, mother’s name, godparents’/sponsors’ names, and place. Earlier registers may have fewer details (e.g., no mother’s maiden name).
If you find one family member in a parish, search for other family members in that parish. Knowing the family structure and extended family contributes greatly to research success.
If you know them, try entering both parents’ names in the available search fields. Because parents’ names were indexed in this collection, searching on the family as a group will narrow the focus and help identify family clusters of people who could be your relatives.
TIP 1: Use the confirmation date to pinpoint a family at a certain place and time.
TIP 2: Use the age to estimate a birth year.
TIP 3: Forms may be in Latin, but once the headers are deciphered, they’re fairly easy to understand.
TIP 4: Because parents’ names were indexed in this collection, searching on the family as a group will narrow the focus and help identify family clusters that could be your relatives. Sometimes only given names were recorded, so start your search using only parents’ given names.
TIP 5: Your ancestor may be recorded under a Latin version of their name, such as Edvardus for Edward. It may also have been abbreviated. Look up the Latin version of the name and try searching for that, or try a wildcard (e.g., Pat* will return Patrick, Pat, Patritium, Patk, Patritü, etc.).
TIP 6: When a single surname is given in the column for parents’ names, it may be the mother’s maiden name. For example, Margarita Boland is the daughter of Patricius Boland and Brigida Sweeney.
Roman Catholic confirmation registers from 12 parishes in Ireland. Roman Catholics were typically confirmed around the ages 10 to 13. Most of these confirmation records are from the late 19th and early 20th century.
These records typically list the name of the person being confirmed, age, date and location of the confirmation, residence, parents’ names, and name of officiating clergy. They can help you confirm a person’s age and residence. Parents’ names can help ensure you have the correct person.
If you find one family member in a parish, search for the surname and parish name to find other family members in that parish. Knowing the family structure and extended family contributes greatly to research success. Use the same strategies to search the Catholic baptisms, marriages, and deaths to learn more about the family.
Before diving into a search of Irish records, it’s best to have an idea of where the family is from—at least the county. You’ll also want to know a little about the extended family. Gather details on extended family, in-laws, friends, neighbors, and any known associates of your ancestor. All these clues can help you identify your ancestor in the records.
TIP 1: Make note of witnesses’ names. They were often family.
TIP 2: Forms may be in Latin, but once the headers are deciphered, they’re fairly easy to understand.
TIP 3: Some forms will include both father’s and mother’s names.
TIP 4: Note that the surname given in the column for parents’ names may be the mother’s maiden name. For example, Catherina Hegarty is the daughter of Jacobi Hegarty and Maria Brown.
TIP 5: More recent marriage records may be on two pages. Always make sure to page forward to ensure that you’ve viewed the complete record.
TIP 6: The notes on possible impediments to this marriage indicate that this bride and groom were second cousins.
TIP 7: Later records may include a residence for witnesses.
TIP 8: Observations in the last column may include references to previous marriages or conversions by one or both parties.
Registers from 59 parishes in Ireland recording Roman Catholic marriages, with dates ranging from 1775 to 1912. Although the Church of Ireland was the established state church from 1536 to 1870, Ireland’s population remained overwhelmingly Roman Catholic.
Marriage records varied in format from parish to parish and through the years. Early registers may record only date and place of the marriage and names of the bride, groom, and witnesses. Later records may include residences for the bride and groom, parents’ names (including mother’s maiden name) and residences, name of the officiant, and witnesses’ residences. You’ll also see notes on banns, possible impediments to the marriage, and dispensations granted.
When searching for marriages that took place in the latter 1800s, you can enter both parents’ names in the available fields to narrow your search. Searching on the family as a group can also help identify family clusters that could be your relatives. (If you’re not getting results, try omitting the parents.)
Notes on impediments to marriage can include important genealogical clues. One of the impediments you may find is consanguinity, which indicates a familial relationship between the bride and groom. Other impediments might be one of the parties being non-Catholic or affinity (a close relationship by marriage). Dispensations to the impediment were typically noted.
TIP 1: Use the age at death to estimate a birth year.
TIP 2: Forms may be in Latin, but once the headers are deciphered, they’re fairly easy to understand. Some common Latin terms can be found in this glossary.
TIP 3: Your ancestor may be recorded under a Latin version of their name, such as Gulielmus for William. It may also have been abbreviated. Look up the Latin version of the name and try searching for that, or try a wildcard (e.g., Pat* will return Patrick, Pat, Patritium, Patk, Patritü, etc.).
TIP 4: If a place of burial is indicated, search for other family members in the same locale.
TIP 5: Observations occasionally include notes on the cause of death.
TIP 6: When you find an entry that lists a woman’s name followed by “alias” and two more names, these will be the woman’s maiden name and her former residence. For example: Bridget Durkan alias Leonard Tully means Bridget, born with surname Leonard, married surname Durkan, residence Tully.
Roman Catholic death and burial registers from 19 parishes in Ireland, with dates ranging from 1767 to 1912. Although the Church of Ireland was the established state church from 1536 to 1870, Ireland’s population remained overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. This makes Roman Catholic parish registers, where available, valuable sources for Irish family history, both before and after civil registration began in 1864.
Details found in burial registers vary but may include the name of the deceased, age, occupation, residence, marital status, date of death, date of burial, place of burial, and occasionally cause of death.
If you find one family member in a parish, search for the surname and parish name to find other family members in that parish. Knowing the family structure and extended family contributes greatly to research success. Use the same strategies to search Roman Catholic baptisms, marriages, and confirmations to discover more about the family.
Some women may be listed as Mrs. [Surname] or Widow [Surname], and some people may be listed under a Latin version of their first name, so try searching by surname alone if you aren’t finding who you’re looking for.