How to Trace your Irish Family History: a Step-By-Step Guide

Irish genealogy expert John Grenham has published an excellent beginners’ guide to Irish genealogy. If you are new to genealogy and are interested in tracing your Irish heritage, I suggest you first read his tutorial published in The Irish Times at:


Thanks for posting the link to this excellent article.


The article does at least confirm what has become very clear to me in trying to research my Ireland-born ancestors, namely that it is nearly impossible to trace individuals born in Ireland before about 1800 or even slightly later. I would think that most serious, experienced genealogists can push their Ireland research back to about 1840 or even 1820 or so, but in my case, my maternal grandfather’s Irish side (who were so-called ‘Ulster Scots’) were born in County Londonderry, and I believe as well also the Belfast area, around or slightly before 1800; they immigrated to New Brunswick (now Canada, not at that time of course) in the early 1800s. Another Irish line (on my maternal grandmother’s side) were originally pre-Revolutionary immigrants to Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York, but as Loyalists they ended up being driven from the US in 1783 and they relocated to Nova Scotia. In going over DNA-predicted connections I have found some matches which I now am fairly certain point to a common link in Ireland, and around or before 1800, but what use is that in the end?


I always get excited when I see an article like this, but am always disappointed. The article was well-written, but like DFSpencer, I need to accept the fact that I’m most likely not going to find my family in Ireland. As Catholics that left Ireland just before or at the beginning of the Great Famine, my lines just don’t exist on paper.


Thank you!!!!! Very helpful.


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