Book Review: The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide

The following book review was written by Bobbi King:The following book review was written by Bobbi King:

The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide
By Claire Santry. Family Tree Books. 2017. 238 pages.

For years, Ms. Santry avoided research of her Irish ancestors because she believed that a 1922 fire had destroyed all Irish records. Once she realized the myth for the obstacle that it was, she launched her family search.

She believes Irish research it a whole lot easier nowadays, what with the availability of online records, along with the myriad libraries and archives that still hold valuable old registers. Ms. Santry’s experience led to writing the Irish Genealogy Guide which she promises “will give you a thorough grounding in genealogical techniques and point you towards the records you need to search, both in the United States and in Ireland. It’s full of tips, essential explanations about the collections, and strategic advice.”

The book is comprised of:

Part 1: Linking Your Family Tree to Ireland

Chapters are:

  • Discovering Your Irish Heritage
  • Jump-Starting Your Irish Research
  • Identifying Your Immigrant Ancestor

Part 2: Getting to Know the Old Country

Chapters are:

  • Understanding Irish History
  • Understanding Irish Geography
  • Deciphering Irish Names and Surnames
  • Civil Registrations
  • Church Records
  • Census Records
  • Land and Property Records
  • Printed Records
  • Probate, Law & Order, Military, and Occupation Records

Part 3: Using Advanced Sources and Strategies

Chapters are:

  • Putting It All Together
  • What To Do When You Get Stuck

Appendices are

  • Latin in Irish Catholic Parish Registers
  • Irish Genealogy Research Societies
  • Irish Graveyard Research
  • Archives, Libraries, and Other Repositories in Ireland
  • County and Heritage Genealogy Centers
  • Publications and Websites

Irish Genealogy presents a broad and inclusive guide to Irish research. I think it would be immensely useful for beginners and advanced Irish sleuths alike.

The Family Tree Irish Genealogy Guide by Claire Santry is available from the publisher, Family Tree Books, at: as well as from Amazon at:


I bought it today, based on Clare Santry’s great website and another review I read today.


Does the book or she deal with any of the English names/families that went to what is now N. Ireland and either stayed there or left for America??


Thanks Bobbi! Looks like a good one.


Most of my research is among the Irish. Anyone who thinks Irish research isn’t MUCH harder than in other countries just hasn’t done enough of it. Are there records? Sure there are some, but nothing at all like what you find in Canada, England, the US, etc. Most of the good stuff DID burn in the Four Corners fire. What is left, the really helpful stuff left, only goes back as far as mid-19th century and, even then, much is missing. The parish records for earlier times are often all but illegible and even more often contain nothing terribly useful (e.g. a record that tells us a Susan Cunningham was born in such-and-such year, no parents mentioned, not even witnesses is about as useful as one that tells us a “Susan” was born in that year). If you’re able to trace your grandparents back beyond 1840 in Ireland, consider yourself very lucky. The Irish genealogical landscape is littered with stone walls, dead ends, and black holes.


My Irish ancestors came to Pennsylvania from northern Ireland before the American revolution. I was going to ask if this book would be of any use in helping me track them in Ireland, but the comment from John Grimes makes me think not. Any other thoughts on this?


Ah! If you have the luck of the Irish and your ancestors were Quakers the records on Findmypast are a wealth of information. My 3rd great grandmother line’s scoot right back to the 1600’s but sadly, in my case, she married outside the faith and therefore I am no further ahead with my 3rd greatgrandfather’s people. However, the bright side is having a challenge, so far unfulfilled, to find out who his parents were and in the meantime it certainly keeps the memory of him alive and well within me.


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