I just read a "new/old book" that is one of the genealogy classics. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors by John Grenham first appeared some years ago and quickly became one of the leading Irish genealogy reference books. I suspect you will find a copy of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors on the shelves of every significant genealogy library, in most city libraries, and in thousands of private homes. A third edition of the book has just been released, and I had a chance to look at the new publication this week.
The first thing that one notices when picking up this paperback book is its size. The third edition of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors has more than 500 pages of Irish genealogy "how to" information, suggestions, lists, and references. In fact, it is a blend of textbook and reference book. Many of the chapters start off with an overview of the chapter's topic, followed by step-by-step instructions and then ending with extensive lists of where to find the information just presented.
For instance, Chapter 5 is entitled "Wills." The first three paragraphs quickly describe the information typically found in Irish wills. The text then switches to detailed descriptions of the various types of probate records found in Ireland:
- Testamentary Authority pre-1857
- Consistorial Wills and Administrations
- Prerogative Wills and Administrations
- Testamentary Authority post-1857
- Abstracts and Transcriptions
- Inland Revenue Records
- Estate Duty Office Records
- Land Commission Records
- The Registry of Deeds
- The Genealogical Office
- English records
- Other sources
The chapter ends with an 8-page series of checklists and guides to the various testamentary sources available.
That one chapter on wills is by no means unique; most of the chapters have equal in-depth coverage on the following topics:
- General Register Office Records
- Census Records
- Church records
- Property and Valuation Records
- The Genealogical Office
- Emigration and the Irish Abroad
- The registry of Deeds
- The Internet
- Occupational records
- County Source-Lists
- Roman Catholic Parish Records (with detailed information about every parish)
- Research Services, Societies, repositories and Publishers
If you are already familiar with the earlier editions of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, you will be pleased to learn that the third edition has all new Roman Catholic parish maps, a new guide to variant parish names, and a greatly enlarged reference section. The section on Internet resources is completely new. About a third of the book's 526 pages is filled with county-by-county listings of genealogical source records, including census returns and substitutes, local history publications, local journals, passenger lists, emigration lists, gravestone inscriptions, estate records, and place names,
The section on Catholic Church records contains a long list of all known Roman Catholic records that can be found in the National Library of Ireland, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the LDS Family History Library, and local Irish Heritage Centers. The list is arranged by county and by parish.
John Grenham is well known as a leading expert Irish genealogist as well as a prolific writer. He is a professional genealogist at the Genealogical Office in Dublin. I suspect he spent thousands of hours compiling and writing the information found in Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, Third Edition.
Even though it is crammed with detailed information, I found this book to be easy to read. It will meet the needs of newcomers and experts alike. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors is the best, most thorough Irish genealogy book that I have seen.
Tracing Your Irish Ancestors sells for $24.95, a bargain in my mind. I get to review a lot of books, and it is rare that I find a book with this much genealogy information and detailed coaching for such a reasonable price. If you have Irish ancestry, you want this book! It also belongs on the shelf of every genealogy library.
Any bookstore can order Tracing Your Irish Ancestors if you specify ISBN 080631768X. It is also available from its publisher, Genealogical Publishing Company. It is also available on Amazon.com for the same price, $24.95.