Catastrophic record losses make Irish genealogy challenging. Even the surviving records have often been hard to access, but that’s changing. Various services now provide online access to millions of records dating back to the early 1600s from both the present-day Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re highlighting our seven favorites here. Most of these sites are continually adding new records, so it’s worth checking them regularly. Though many charge a fee to view complete records, they all let you search their indexes for free.
- Price: $79.95 annual membership in the New England Historic Genealogical Society
- Content: One of many databases on the site, The Search for Missing Friends: Irish Immigrant Advertisements Placed in the Boston Pilot 1831-1920 has 100,000 names from 45,000 ads.
- Tips: Boston College has a free but less comprehensive collection of ads from the Boston Pilot.
- Price: about $6 per record to view most records, with discounts for members
- Content: more than 2 million records from Ulster, including birth, marriage and death records, gravestone inscriptions, street directories and censuses
- Tips: Search the Distribution of Surnames in Ireland in 1890 file for free.
- Price: about $15.50 for one month, $47 for six months or $78 for a year
- Content: more than 1 million birth, marriage, death, and census records from Northern Ireland
- Tips: A paid membership gives you access to advanced search options.
- Price: free
- Content: more than 26 million records, including births and baptisms (1620-1881), marriages (1619-1898), deaths (1864-1870) and civil registration indexes (1845-1958)
- Tips: The FamilySearch Wiki has an extensive guide to Irish records.
- Price: about $10 for 72 hours, about $15 for a month
- Content: Griffith’s Valuation (a tax census), censuses, wills, passenger lists, militia records and more
- Tips: Click Help and Resources for information on Irish Origins’ databases.
- Price: free
- Content: the Ulster Covenant of 1912, freeholders’ records (1662-1839), index to wills (1858-1943) and digitized wills (1858-1900)
- Tips: Click on Family History for links to databases, guides, catalogs and indexes.
- Price: about $8 to view a record
- Content: 17 million baptismal, birth, marriage, death, burial and census records, as well as gravestone inscriptions, from most counties of Ireland, plus Griffith’s Valuation
- Tips: Scroll down below your search results to refine your search by year, county and exact surname spelling.
From the May 2011 issue of Family Tree Magazine
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