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Ireland has been known by many names throughout time. The first name given to the land was Island of Woods, a name given by a warrior of the people of "Nin, son of Bel.” Other names were Eire, Isle of Mists, and Irlanda.
Ireland is located in the North Atlantic Ocean, and separated from Great Britain by the Irish Sea on the east. It is divided into Northern Ireland, a constituent part of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, also known as Eire. The island comprises thirty-two counties within four provinces: Connaught, Leinster, Munster, and Ulster.
- Browse by topic: Pages for Ireland
- Gravestone inscriptions can be a useful source of family history information. Gravestones may give birth, marriage, and death information. They may also give clues about military service, occupation, or family members buried in the same area. Sometimes they give more information than the parish burial register or civil certificate of death.
- Topographical maps
- Here's access to The Family History Library's Patron Desktop Irish " Favorites". Please note that currently there are significant county 'collections' for just about every single one of the following genealogical subjects--including Probate, Census, Land & Property, Genealogy and Church/Civil Registration with only a few county exceptions.
Before 1922, the whole of Ireland was an integral part of the United Kingdom, consisting thirty-two historic counties. After 1922 part of Ireland became independent and was known as the Irish Free State. The Free State went on to become the Republic of Ireland in 1949, while Northern Ireland remained a part of the United Kingdom. The two countries in Ireland today are:
- Northern Ireland with six counties
- Republic of Ireland with twenty-six counties
For further historic information, see Counties of Ireland.
The map below shows the whole of Ireland. The six counties of Northern Ireland are divided from the rest by a heavy black line. Note that Donegal is part of the Republic of Ireland.Click on a county to go to that county's page:
Or click on a county name below:
If you are just beginning to research your Irish ancestors, here are some helps to get you started. Choose an event to learn about in the life of your Irish ancestors:
How Can I Find My Irish Ancestor?
You may have a family story or a document that says one of your ancestors came from Ireland. You don't know where in Ireland, or perhaps you only know the name of a county. You want to know more. A good place to start is by finding your family in the country where they settled. Read on to learn what you can do.
You may also want to try step-by-step research guidance. This includes suggested records to search and instructions on how to access them. Select a time period for an event type you would like to find.
Ireland Research Guide
You may also wish to review the Ireland Research Guide. This 538-page resource is from the BYU Family History Library at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, and is a collection of many reference sources and articles (far more than just the Ireland Research Outline that appears first). The information is out of date and does not include online sources, but it is still valuable.
FamilySearch Historical Record Collections
Online collections containing these records are located in FamilySearch.org.
Wiki articles describing these collections are found at:
- Ireland Births (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Ireland Deaths (FamilySearch Historical Records)
- Ireland Marriages (FamilySerach Historical Records)
News & events
- Join a Community of Ireland researchers! Ask questions, help others, and share your research successes on Facebook and/or Skype.
- On 11 October the Genealogical Society of Ireland will sponsor a lecture on Court and Prison Records by Brian Donovan.
- 32,000 baptism records posted by RootsIreland for County Monaghan.
- Irish census records, 1901 and 1911, are now being digitized by the National Archives of Ireland.
- Clare Library wins major award for genealogy. "... includes invaluable transcriptions of Tithe Applotment Books, gravestone inscriptions with photographs ..."
Did You Know?
- Between 1831 and 1841 in Ireland, 34,090 recruits joined the Army.
- The Princess Grace Irish Library provides online biographical & bibliographical information on 4,500 Irish writers on its EIRData website. EIRData, which stands for Electronic Irish Records Dataset, was compiled by Dr. Bruce Stewart of the University of Ulster. The site also contains primary and secondary bibliographies, commentaries, quotations and notes.
- The term 'Census Strays' refers to people who are born in one place whose name appears in a census in another place. A page on the North of Ireland Family History Society website contains details of over 15,000 records of persons living in households with one or more people of Irish origin. These "strays" compiled by the Society were sent in from the UK and the rest of the world. office
- Records of Officers from first Irish Police force on internet. Record of more than 80,000 officers from the 1st Irish Police Force are being released on line. It will contain personal details of every man that enlisted in the Irish Constabulary between 1816-1921 including their name, year and place of birth, age of enlistment and marital status. It is on the Ancestry Subscription site.
- The National University of Ireland in Galway, in conjunction with the Moore Institute for Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences, has created an online index to the landed estates of Connaught Province covering c.1700-1914. Though the project was not primarily intended as a genealogical tool, it is that, and they are to be commended for creating this great resource. The index can be searched alphabetically by the names of estates, families, and houses, and the website includes maps and images of the great houses. The index is found at the Landed Estates website.
- National Archives
- Irish Genealogy -- particularly for Dublin City and counties Carlow, Cork and Kerry.
- Irish Family History Foundation's online searchable database
- Cumann Geinealais na hÉireann - Genealogical Society of Ireland
- Historic Maps
- From Ireland
- Ask About Ireland
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