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Genealogy Section






   Irish Family History



Scottish Family History Researchers will find that many of their ancestors in Scotland came across from Ireland so often our research takes us into Irish Family History. 


Tracing your Irish roots

MANY South Western Scotland  families are inextricably linked with Irish emigration after thousands of families from the Emerald Isle settled here during the mid-late 19th century.

The reason for the mass emigration was basically poverty, fuelled for the most part by the great potato famine of 1847.

The resulting inflow of population into cities such as Liverpool and Glasgow presented the authorities with huge social problems – living conditions were intolerable with families crammed into the courts and cellars of the city centres, and all living alongside the horrendous realities of poor public sanitation, disease and infant mortality.

Searching for Irish ancestral links can present problems, though not always insurmountable ones. Irish genealogy is a complex subject but to start with here is some general information:

One of the first points of research for the family historian is usually the Census returns, but unfortunately, the Irish returns from 1821-1851 were mostly destroyed in a blaze in Dublin in 1922. The 1861 and 1871 returns were destroyed soon after they were made, while the Censuses for 1881 and 1891 were lost during World War I. So all in all, the Irish census returns are not a great basis on which to start your research!

Fragments of some of the surviving returns from 1821 and 1831 are available at the National Archives of Ireland and at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast which contains the surviving Fermanagh returns. The records for County Derry are the only ones that survive for 1831 and can be accessed at both the Dublin and Belfast archives. Fragments of later censuses also survive, including the 1851 returns for most of Antrim.

Twentieth century returns – for 1901 and 1911 – are available and are now being made available on-line by the National Archives of Ireland at www.census.nationalarchives.ie/

As far as your research is concerned, if you have Irish ancestors who lived in Ayrshire in the 19th century, you will of course find them listed in the Scottish Census.

When you find an ancestor, look at ALL the Census returns available, for although mostly the place of birth is listed as simply ‘Ireland’, some will go into more detail, listing the actual place.

There are many Irish town directories which can be used in the hunt for your ancestors and these can provide a valuable substitute for the Census returns.

There is an excellent website by Jo McCann and Marie McQuade called Irish Family History Research in the Liverpool Area at http://freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.com/~hibernia/records/iril.htm which goes into detail about the types of records available for Irish family history research.

Another useful starting point is the Emerald Ancestors website: www.emeraldancestors.com/

This provides access to one of the largest collections of Irish genealogy records available. It specialises in Northern Ireland genealogy and has a database containing birth, marriage, death, and census records for more than one million Irish Ancestors in Counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone.

For a good overview of Irish family history a new book by Anthony Adolph: Tracing Your Irish Family History is well worth reading. It is published by HarperCollins and gives a very readable overview of solutions to problems facing the genealogist.



Useful links and addresses

*** 1911 Census for all counties in Ireland   http://www.census.nationalarchives.ie/

National Archives of Ireland: Bishop Street, Dublin 8, Ireland. www.nationalarchives.ie/genealogy/index.html

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) 66, Balmoral Avenue, Belfast BT9 6NY. www.proni.gov.uk

www.irishorigins.com is a pay-per-view site includes lots of useful data including an index of the heads of household in Dublin from the 1851 Census.

Eneclann (www.eneclann.ie) offers a number of family history CDs for sale and is a useful site from which to explore further your Irish ancestry.

www.myirishancestry.com includes an extensive database of records, including the Griffiths Valuation of the mid-nineteenth century – an invaluable substitute for the missing census returns.

www.lennonwylie.co.uk/index.htm Lennon Wylie Telephone Directories, Belfast Street Directories, and much much more.



















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