100 ways to trace your Irish ancestors

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The very idea of undertaking Irish ancestral research can seem like a formidable and arduous task but now one publication is successfully helping thousands across the US to trace and embrace their Irish ancestors.

Published by mother and daughter team Maureen and Julie Phibbs, they understand the many difficulties faced by readers yearning to piece together their fractured Irish family history.


Maureen says, “we see our role as inspiring readers to undertake and continue their research, to discover lateral ways of overcoming hurdles and most of all to enjoy the journey which brings joyous rewards with every nugget of discovery.”

Irish Roots Media have just published their one hundredth issue and are marking this significant milestone with a feature ‘100 Ways To Trace Your Irish Ancestors’ by Nicola Morris.

Some tips include:

1. Brew a pot of tea and get older relatives talking about family history.

2. Make a record of the conversations. Details can be quickly forgotten.

3. Sketch out a family tree. It is easier to see where you need to focus your research when you can see your family tree in its entirety.

4. Make copies of old family letters and photographs, but try to leave the originals in place. Many families have fallen out over the ‘disappearance’ of an old photograph album.

5. Label all of the images and keep your records organised. You may have to put your research aside for a couple of months or even years and you want to make it easy to pick it up again.

6. Old memorial cards for deceased family members record ages, dates of death and maiden names of married women.

7. Check whether your local library has collected and digitised memorial cards from the local area.

8. Start your research with birth, marriage and death records.

9. Civil registration in Ireland commenced in 1864 when it became compulsory to register all births, marriages and deaths. However, it is estimated that up to 15% of births and marriages went unregistered in the19th century.

10. Original birth registrations are now freely available online from 1864 to 1916.