When you start researching your family history, you never know what you’re going to find.
In addition to the several million church records available online, there are national repositories of material, as well as local heritage and genealogy centres around Ireland. Download our guide, Tracing Your Ancestors (2.5 MB.pdf), to get started.
National repositories include the National Library, www.nli.ie, the National Archives, www.nationalarchives.ie, and the many public libraries around the country. All are listed in our guide. www.irishgenealogy.ie and www.rootsireland.ie are also dedicated websites to help you begin tracing your roots.
With no fewer than four recent US presidents claiming Irish family connections, the chances of discovering an influential relative are not as slim as they might at first seem
Alternatively, there are a number of exciting community-led genealogy projects taking place across the island of Ireland – many of which have developed additional electronic sources.
The Ireland Reaching Out project (Ireland XO) enables parish
communities across Ireland to identify and connect with
their diaspora, strengthening their community network
worldwide. It involves training local volunteers on how
to seek out their Diaspora abroad (reverse genealogy),
and also trains people locally to “Meet & Greet” returning
Diaspora to their locality.
This national award-winning programming enables Irish
Diaspora around the world to return to see where their
family home once stood, family graves, the land connected
to their families, perhaps even a living relative! The
programme allows Diaspora searching their roots to
reach out to a parish to which they believe they may be
connected. The Ireland XO programme is now rolling out to every parish community in Ireland. You can watch a video on the Ireland Reaching Out project here.
Eachtra’s Historic Graves Initiative is a community-based heritage project which digitally records and publishes historic graveyard surveys and stories. Visitors from Ireland and further afield can freely access its growing database of multimedia records and oral histories.
The Irish Ancestry Research Centre (IARC) provides research, education and training in History of Family and Irish Ancestry under the auspices of the University of Limerick. IARC was established in 2011 and is a not-for-profit organisation.
The Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (www.apgi.ie) accredits genealogists in Ireland. Members are based all over Ireland and provide advice and support to individuals tracing their roots and local groups who want to offer support to visitors interested in tracing their ancestry. Throughout 2013, APGI members will be available to provide genealogy services to visitors.
Once you’ve traced your roots – whether you’ve done it on your own or with a little help – you can apply for a Certificate of Irish Heritage. The certificate is issued by the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade and is a beautiful way to acknowledge your Irish ancestry and honour your descendants. Anyone of Irish descent who was born abroad can order a certificate by visiting www.HeritageCertificate.com.