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Top Web Sites for Researching Irish Ancestors

Irish Genealogy Databases on the Web

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Researching your Irish ancestors online can be difficult as there is no one-stop Web site with vast quantities of Irish family history records. Yet many sites offer valuable data for researching Irish ancestry in the form of extractions, transcriptions and digitized images. The sites presented here offer a mix of free and subscription-based (pay) content, but all represent major sources for online Irish family tree research.

1. FamilySearch

Irish civil registration indexes 1845-1958, plus parish records of births (baptisms), marriages and deaths have been transcribed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and can be searched for free on their Web site at FamilySearch.org. Browse to "Ireland" and then search each database directly for best results. Coverage is by no means complete, but it is a good place to start. Another search trick is to use Ireland IGI Batch Numbers to search the International Genealogical Index - see Using IGI Batch Numbers for a tutorial. Free

2. FindMyPast

Subscription-based website FindMyPast.ie, a joint venture between brightsolid and Eneclann, offers about 12 million Irish records, including some which are exclusive to the site such as Landed Estate Court Records with details on over 500,000 tenants residing on estates across Ireland, Irish Prison Registers featuring over 3.5 million names, and Petty Session Order Books. Additional Irish genealogy records include directories, military records, BMD indexes, and almanacs. Subscription, pay-per-view

3. RootsIreland: Irish Family History Foundation

The Irish Family History Foundation (IFHF) is a nonprofit coordinating body for a network of government approved genealogical research centres in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Together these research centres have computerized almost 18 million Irish ancestral records, primarily church records of baptisms, marriages, and burials, and made the indexes available online for free. To view a detailed record you can purchase credit online for instant access at a per-record cost. Free index searches, pay to view detailed records

4. Irish Origins

This subscription-based genealogy site features an Irish Wills Index (1484-1858), the 1851 Dublin City Census, Irish Royal Garrison Artillery Records, and the best online version of Griffiths Valuation. While other Web sites such as MyIrishAncestry.com offer a free index to Griffiths, Irish Origins offers full details and links to digitized images. Free name search. Subscription

5. National Archives of Ireland

The genealogy section of the National Archives of Ireland offers several free searchable databases, such as the Ireland-Australia Transportation Database, along with finding aids to many useful record series held in the National Archives. Of special interest is their digitization of Irish 1901 and 1911 census records which are complete an available online for free access. Free

6. Emerald Ancestors

This extensive Ulster genealogy database contains baptism, marriage, death, burial, and census records for over 1 million Irish ancestors in Counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone. Most database results are indexes or partial transcriptions. Subscription

7. Ancestry.com - Irish Collection, 1824-1910

The Ireland subscription-based collection at Ancestry.com offers access to several important Irish collections, including Griffiths Valuation (1848-1864), Tithe Applotment Books (1823-1837), Ordnancy Survey Maps (1824-1846) and the Lawrence Collection of Irish Photographs (1870-1910). Subscription, plus Irish census, vital, military, and immigration records.

8. AncestryIreland

The Ulster Historical Foundation offers subscription-based access to more than 2 million genealogical records from Ulster, including birth, death, and marriage records; gravestone inscriptions; censuses; and street directories. Matheson's Distribution of Surnames in Ireland in 1890 is available as a free database. Most of the rest are available as pay-per-view. Select databases are only available to members of the Ulster Genealogical & Historical Guild. Subscription, pay-per-view

9. Irish Newspaper Archives

A variety of newspapers from Ireland's past have been digitized, indexed and made available for searching online through this subscription-based site. Searching is free, with a cost for viewing/downloading the pages. The site currently features over 1.5 million pages of newspaper content, with another 2 million in the works from papers such as The Freeman's Journal (1763 to 1924), Irish Independent (1905 to 2003) and The Anglo-Celt (1908 to 2001). Subscription

10. Failte Romhat

The personal Web site of John Hayes might not be the first place you'd expect to visit, but his site actually offers a surprising number of online Irish databases and transcribed documents, including Land Owners in Ireland 1876, Irish Flax Growers List 1796, Pigot & Co's Provincial Directory of Ireland 1824, cemetery transcriptions and photographs, and much more. Best of all, it is all free!

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