We know how to work around the record destruction caused by the 1922 Dublin Four Courts Fire to help with your Irish genealogy research.
Immigration & Your Irish Ancestors
As many as 4.5 million Irish men and women immigrated to the United States between 1820 and 1930.1 Today, over 33 million Americans (more than 10% of the total population) claim Irish ancestry – the second largest reported ancestry in the United States according to the U.S. Census Bureau.2
Obstacles in Irish Genealogy Research
However, Irish genealogical research is notoriously difficult. The Dublin Four Courts Fire in 1922 resulted in the near-complete destruction of the 18211851 census records, the backbone of most Irish genealogy research. In addition to the loss of the census, the fire caused the destruction of over half of the registers from the various Church of Ireland parishes. The majority of wills and related records and all local government records from before 1900 also fell victim to the fires.
Available Records for Irish Genealogy Research
In spite of this somber state of affairs in Irish genealogy, the professional researchers at Legacy Tree Genealogists have had excellent success with Irish genealogy research. Although many records have been lost, there are still wonderful records and documents available to researchers. There are still portions of the 1821 through 1851 Ireland Census pages, and the entire 1901 and 1911 records remain completely intact. Although half of the Church of Ireland parish registers recording births, marriages, and death were destroyed, the other half of those registers still remain.
Thanks to the work of Dr. Edward MacLysaght, Chief Herald of Ireland and Keeper of Manuscripts at the National Library of Ireland (NLI) the parish records for the Catholic Church were microfilmed and then digitally recorded, becoming available online in 2014 through the NLI’s website. The more than 370,000 images begin as early as the 1740s in large city parishes while the records for the western coast begin in the mid-1800s.
Additional Resources for Tracing Irish Ancestry
Other tools genealogists at Legacy Tree Genealogists use to trace our clients’ Irish ancestry include:
• Griffith’s Valuation, a list created between 1847 and 1864 which recorded the amount of land owned or rented by an individual.
• Traditional Irish naming patterns which help determine the names of the paternal and maternal grandfathers.
• The ability to trace an Anglicized surname to its original Irish surname and then place it in a specific geographical location.
Our Team of Professional Genealogists Can Help!
Although Irish genealogy research does have its challenges, knowing how to take advantage of the available documents can help smooth the way. If your family’s history includes an ancestor or two from the Emerald Isle, the professionals at Legacy Tree Genealogists can help you extend your ancestry back to Ireland.
1. “Irish-Catholic Immigration to America,” Immigration, The Library of Congress, http://loc.gov, accessed June 2015.
2. “Irish-American Heritage Month (March) and St. Patrick’s Day (March 17): 2015,” U.S. Census Bureau, https://.census.gov, accessed June 2015.