Genealogy for Beginners

Course 12KEC087 at Kildare Education Centre


Thursday 13 Dec 2012

by Paddy Waldron

WWW version:


  • Where do I start?
  • Basic free sources
  • Documenting sources
  • Irish administrative divisions and genealogical records
  • Where do I finish?
  • Where do I start?

    Basic free sources


    Google is great for more unusual names or combinations of names, like "quin sleeman"; but Google, by accident or design, does not harvest many genealogy sites.


    Roughly in reverse chronological order: --- Irish Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958
    See sample page from original index (1866)'s one-size-fits-all search form can mislead beginners. The indexes don't include spouse or parents, apart from the birth index from c1928-1958, which includes mother's maiden surname only. To narrow the search, you can fill in one of (a) birth date and/or place (b) marriage date and/or place or (c) death date and/or place. The appropriate placename to use is the Poor Law Union (see below). Filling in fields which are blank in the record you want will prevent you from finding it. More details here. Photocopies of handwritten records from the date of registration can be ordered for EUR4 each by filling in event (B/M/D), name(s), "district" (PLU/Superintendent Registrar's District), year, quarter (post-1877), volume and page on an order slip and handing it over the counter with cash (no plastic) at the General Register Office in the Irish Life Centre in Dublin. This is the order in which the fields must be filled in on the order slip, so is a sensible convention for circulating references and naming scanned image files. --- Ireland Births and Baptisms mostly 1864-1881
    See sample birth record
    To narrow the search, you can fill in both parents' first and/or last names and/or birth date and/or place. The appropriate placename to use varies from year to year and from record to record. Try townland or dispensary district or Poor Law Union or county. --- Ireland Marriages mostly 1845-1870
    See sample page from marriage register
    To narrow the search, you can fill in spouse's and/or father's first and/or last names and/or marriage date and/or place. Irish marriage certificates did not until relatively recently include the name of either the groom's mother or the bride's mother. The appropriate placename to use is generally the parish. --- Ireland Deaths mostly 1864-1870
    See sample death record
    To narrow the search, you can fill in death date and/or death place and/or residence place. Irish death certificates did not include the name of any relative until c2004, unless the informant happened to be a relative, and even then the relationship may not have been specified. If it was, then the relationship may be shown in the transcript. The appropriate placename to use is generally the townland.
    Full search
    In some non-Irish records the transcriptions may include father's first name, mother's first name and mother's last name, but not father's last name! See, for example, many entries in New Jersey, Marriages, 1678-1985. You must leave the father's last name blank if you want to find these records.
    Kildare County Library
    Local Studies, Genealogy and Archives and also Co. Kildare Online Electronic History Journal.
    Unfortunately, the Genealogy Department of Kildare County Library & Arts Service is part of the pay-per-view Irish Family History Foundation. In other counties, such as Clare or Limerick, the County or City Library provides copious free online source material for researchers.
    1901 and 1911 Census of Ireland
    Irish Genealogy
    parish records, free for only about 4 counties, mostly pre-1900
    Alternative search form.
    Griffiths Valuation (askaboutireland Family Name Search or Place Name Search - free)
    It's apparently not possible to link to specific map locations - see discussion. It is possible to link to the occupiers of a specific location using the PlaceID, e.g. Moveen West (PlaceID=257300). To view Original Page or Map View, right click on icon and select "Open Link in New Tab".
    Griffiths Valuation (Irish Origins - subscription)
    Griffiths Valuation (Find My Past - subscription; also includes Landed Estates Court Rentals)
    Griffiths Valuation, printed in the 1840s, 1850s and 1860s for different parts of Ireland,, is continued up to around the abolition of rates in 1977 in Valuation Office cancelled books, Irish Life Centre, Abbey Street, Dublin; e.g., Moore Street, Kilrush
    Lewis, Samuel: Topographical Dictionary of Ireland 1837
    e.g., Kildare
    Tithe Applotment Books 1823-1837
    Available online since November 2012.
    Continue with offline sources (General Register Office, Valuation Office, National Library, National Archives, local libraries and archives, etc.) and subscription, pay-per-view, etc., online sources (,,,,, etc.)

    Documenting Sources

    Irish administrative divisions and genealogical records

    Where do I finish?