If you’re one of the 70 million people across the globe who claim Irish ancestry, why not use your ‘stay at home’ time to catch up on your genealogy.
Discovering your Irish back story has the potential to be one of the most exciting adventures of your life. And with extensive archives now available online, it’s one that can start with just a few clicks of your mouse.
Begin the journey down your ancestral trail by gathering as much information as you can from your family: for example, names of grand or great grandparents, their occupations, birth or marriage dates and which county in Ireland they came from.
Armed with even a little of this information you can start your quest with a search of the National Archives, where you can access census and other records through 11 searchable databases.
Also check out www.irishgenealogy.ie, which holds Church and civil records of births, deaths and marriages and also provides links to several other useful websites. Another great resource is www.rootsireland.ie, which has over 20 million records in the most extensive database of Catholic Church records anywhere online.
If your ancestry is Ulster-Scots, your first port of call should be the Ulster Historical Foundation’s website. Be sure to watch the video tutorials that will help you get the most out of your searches.
Researching your ancestry is exciting but it can be a little frustrating, so it’s good to talk to others who are on the same journey. The Ireland Family History Facebook page is an invaluable resource where you can ask questions and be inspired by other people’s success.
Once the trail hots up you’ll want to plan a future visit to Ireland to continue the quest and discover the land of your forefathers.
When that time comes, you should not miss a visit to EPIC, The Irish Emigration Museum in Dublin.
It tells the authentic story of 10 million journeys and uncovers the roots of 70 million people through a hi-tech journey that shows the impact of Ireland’s emigrants across the globe.
Epic Ireland also contains an Irish Family History Centre operated by genealogical specialists, who offer family tree DNA testing kits so visitors can learn about their Irish roots.
To get a flavour of what EPIC is about, take a virtual tour. With embedded audio and video descriptions about each gallery, the tour will transport you into Ireland’s dramatic emigration story and increase your pride in being part of the great Irish diaspora.