Where they came from

This guide was last updated in 2012

The first step is to try and identify the parish in which they originated in Ireland and determine whether the parish registers survive.

Before you will be able to identify the parish, you will have to identify the county where your ancestor originated. This information can sometimes be recorded on UK census returns, newspaper obituaries and gravestone inscriptions.

It is sensible to check all UK census returns, as a more specific place of origin can be recorded on one form but not on later or earlier forms.

Try and identify extended family who may be living in the same area or appear as sponsors at baptisms or witnesses at family marriages. If you can find one member of the family who states where they originated in Ireland, you will have your starting point for research in Ireland.

In the US series of Who Do You Think You Are?, Rosie O’Donnell was able to locate a newspaper obituary for her great grandmother in Canada, which stated that she was born in County Kildare. This was the starting point for her research in Ireland.

Famine emigrant ancestors
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Land records
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