Finding Irish Ancestors: Research Aids

Although I principally conduct research in Ireland, I have found many of the following sites to be very helpful when conducting research away from Ireland's shores. Also, some of the sites included here offer information about accessing materials in Ireland. I have only included sites which I have used (with varying degrees of success).  I hope they will prove helpful to you in your search.

Visit the following sites in order to conduct online genealogy and family history research, or learn about Irish History, or discover what is available if you travel to Ireland for research. Some of the research sites allow a free search; some require a fee in order to view documents.  In square brackets I have noted those online sites which are fee based: [FEE].  I recommend that you start with the sites which allow free access before you go to the fee based sites.  Also, take advantage of any free trial offers made by fee based sites before you commit to anything long term.  

Some researchers have great success with fee based sites, others not so much.  All sites not denoted as fee based currently provide free access.  Just click on the blue URLs to access the sites.  Please read my disclosures page prior to visiting any of these sites.

Sites included here cover research in either The Republic of Ireland or the State of Northern Ireland, or both.

I add to this list as soon as I find anything useful, so check back on a regular basis for updates.  


DIPPAM: An online virtual archive: excellent site, regularly updated:


In their own words, "This web site contains information about archival collections open for public research in Ireland. Its purpose is to aid researchers in finding collections relevant to their studies".


Founded in 1788, and considered one of the premier cultural institutions in Belfast, the Linen Hall Library holds a renowned Irish and Local Studies Collection. It also holds an important genealogical collection including the Blackwood Pedigrees, a collection of over 1000 manuscript family trees. As well the library has an index to births, marriages and deaths published in the Belfast News Letter 1738-1864, and the Greeves Pedigrees collection of Ulster family trees. Unfortunately none of these is available online, but they can be viewed in person. Currently there are only some 'e-treasures', as they describe them, for viewing.



NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF IRELAND GENEALOGY PORTAL: for direct access to 1901 and 1911 census documents, Tithe Applotment Books 1823-1837, and Wills of Soldiers of the Great War (wills from 1914-1917)

NATIONAL ARCHIVES UK: [Fee for copies of some materials]




This collection features over 4700 documents, pamphlets, and books, digitised and released by Trinity. There are some gems in this collection, so it is definitely worth a look:



Ancestry Ireland (Ulster Historical Foundation) (Northern Ireland): [FEE] Irish Records: UK Records:

FindMyPast-Ireland: [FEE]

From Ireland: Irish Genealogy and Family History:

This excellent site from Dr. Jane Lyon includes records from various counties, cemetery records, some photographs. Be sure to check it out since you never know what you might find.

Irish Ancestors at Irish Times:

This site provides a wealth of information about the records available for family history and genealogy research, rather than the records themselves. [FEE]

Irish Genealogy Projects Archives: search by county: a lot of helpful records here, but some counties have more than others. Updated on a regular basis.:

Irish Genealogy: an official government site updated at a snail's pace, but you may find something here:

Library Ireland: some useful directories here: [FEE] (Irish Family History Foundation): excellent site, but records cost 5 Euros each.: [FEE]

They describe themselves as follows: " was created by the Ulster Historical Foundation. We are a non-profit family history research organisation with over 50 years experience tracing your Irish and Scots-Irish ancestors." There are over 2 million records available for searching here, including BDM, with a free search but a fee for full viewing. [FEE]

Also see:

Cyndi's List for the full gamut of resources:




Neither of these sites has records online, but you may apply for BMD certificates through them.

The General Register Office of The Republic of Ireland:

The General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI):




For any of the pages which charge a FEE for viewing records the search is free.

Belfast City Cemeteries Online Database: [FEE]

Discover Ever After:

This relative new comer to cemetery websites, on which access is currently free, recognizes the importance of the history on gravestones, and is working to add records on a regular basis. The description on the site explains, "everafter has modernised the way the deaths of our loved ones are recorded.  We provide Parishes and Councils with a complete set of up-to-date graveyard records and an online Graveyard Management System to record future burials."  They clearly intend to cover all of Ireland, and have a listing which appears to include all townlands in all counties. I have not yet found anything here, but if they deliver as promised this will be one site to watch.

Glasnevin Trust: [FEE]

History from Headstones (Northern Ireland): [FEE] Ireland and Northern Ireland:

Irish Death Notices Index:

Irish Genealogy Projects Archives (search headstones by County):

'Over thy dead body': is my cemetery blog which principally includes stones found in cemeteries in Ireland, although I have included a few from North American cemeteries. Together with photos of headstones, and grave markers, I include any biographical and historical information I have been able to find about those interred. There is a search box on the site, so you can check to see if any stones connected to your family are on my site.

Search for cemetery records in Ireland at by entering a surname and clicking search:

Restrict search to



1901 and 1911 Census at National Archives of Ireland: An excellent site, freely searchable, and you can view original census documents:


Registry of Deeds Indexing Project: The purpose of this project is to index all of the names that appear in the memorial books at the registry of deeds. The Registry of Deeds is located in Henrietta Street, Dublin, Ireland and is a repository of records of wills and land transactions in Ireland, as well as other deeds dating from 1709. While most of the deeds registered prior to 1800 were related to the Protestant ascendency, Catholic occupiers are sometimes mentioned. The Registry of Deeds is a rich source of genealogical information.


Issues affecting the dissemination of information pertinent to those doing Irish family history and genealogy research falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Arts, Culture, and the Gaeltacht. The TD, or minister, responsible for this department sits in the Dáil Eireann (House of Representatives). If you want to stay in the know as far as government initiatives are concerned, or see what is currently under discussion and debate, visit the Houses of the Oireachtas website at and click on Dáil Éireann debates.



"In Quarantine: Life and Death on Gross Île" (through Library and Archives Canada [archived page]):

Orphans List of 1847: Grosse Île: a page on this blog (it has its own tab) which bears my transcription of a list of some 500 children who landed at Grosse Île Quebec Canada in the year known as Black '47. Many of the children included were orphans whose parents died either on the journey over or at Grosse Île, but some were not.: 

Immigrants at Grosse-Île: This database includes information on 33,026 immigrants whose names appear in surviving records of the Grosse-Île Quarantine Station between 1832 and 1937. As you can see from the dates indicated, this includes those landed during the period of the Great Famine. 

6000 burials on Grosse-Île: This database on the Parks Canada website is a searchable list of 6000 names of those buried on Grosse-Île (There are options on the main page for further research). These names are engraved on glass panels which overlook the Irish cemetery on the western side of the island. They are grouped by year on the website.

Records for Passengers Who Arrived at the Port of New York During the Irish Famine (created between 1977 and 1989) documents the period from 1/12/1846 - 12/31/1851. For researching famine victims who landed in the United States view this database on the NARA (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) website:

**Be aware that on the NARA site the records of immigrants to the United States during the Famine period is not exclusively limited to the Irish born.  In the Irish Famine Passenger Records approximately 30 percent of the passengers list their native country as somewhere other than Ireland.

Passenger Lists for those who emigrated from Ireland during the Great Famine: 

On the Ships' Lists website there are many passenger lists which include those Irish who travelled during this period, and well as many other passenger lists covering emigration during other years. Many of these lists are very well detailed and include such information as town and county of origin as well as occupation.



Griffith's Valuation: [FEE] (this site has the correct valuation maps for the period in which the valuation was actually completed.)



CELT, the Corpus of Electronic Texts, is Ireland's longest running Humanities Computing project.  The free digital Humanities resource for Irish history, literature and politics. It brings the wealth of Irish literary and historical culture to you on the Internet, for the use and benefit of everyone worldwide. It has a searchable online textbase consisting of 14.85 million words, in 1230 contemporary and historical documents from many areas, including literature and the other arts.  

CENTURY IRELAND: The Century Ireland project is an online historical newspaper that tells the story of the events of Irish life a century ago. It is published online on a fortnightly basis, beginning in May 2013, and is the main online portal for the Irish decade of commemorations, 1912-23.

News reporting on life in Ireland 100 years ago is supported by a wealth of visual, archival and contextual material to facilitate an understanding of the complexities of Irish life in the year between 1912 and 1923. The various partners are working to make a range of rarely or never before seen material available, bringing to life the events which shaped Irish history a century ago.

Dublin Heritage: a great site for all things Dublin including an index of cemeteries, voters lists and other helpful online resources.

Guinness Brewery Genealogy Database:
Search the surviving personnel records of past employees dating from the 1880s to late 1990s, and early 2000s. They hold over 20,000 individual employee files, accounting for approximately 80% of all employee files from this period. These personnel files do not contain employee photographs.

Heritage Ireland: a good site for getting to know Ireland by geography:

Irish History Online:

Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) :

National Museum of Ireland:



Buildings of Ireland: via the website of The National Inventory of Architectural Heritage (NIAH). The work of the NIAH involves identifying and recording the architectural heritage of Ireland, from 1700 to the present day.

The DeCamillo Companion to British and Irish Country Houses:

Landed Estates Ireland: Landed Estates and Gentry houses in the West of Ireland:



First of all you will notice I have both the words 'emigration' and 'immigration' in the title for this section. Although some people use these words interchangeably, there is an actual difference in their meanings. 

EMIGRATION: a person emigrates FROM their country of origin.

If you are searching for information about ancestors leaving Ireland, then take a look at the emigration database connected to the site of the Dunbrody Famine Ship. For the port of New York, the database covers the years between 1846 and 1890. For Boston, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Philadelphia the database covers only the famine years between 1846 and 1851. Access to the database is free; there is a small Fee for printouts of the information.

IMMIGRATION: a person immigrates TO a foreign country in which they wish to permanently live.

If you are searching for information about ancestors who immigrated to the United States, then take a look at the following immigration databases.

Information Wanted: : This website created by Boston College offers a database of advertisements placed in a 'Missing Friends' column, published by the Boston Pilot newspaper between October of 1831 and October of 1921. The ads were placed by friends and family members of Irish immigrants with whom they had lost touch.

Ellis Island: This website offers a database of immigrants who landed at Ellis Island between 1892 and 1924. Searching on the site is free, but viewing results requires registration. Also, offers are made throughout for the purchase of various documents. Still, it is definitely worth a look.




This stunning collection of maps assembled in Trinity College Dublin (TCD) which reveal exactly who owned the lands that were taken from Irish families and given to landlords during the Cromwellian Plantation of 1670. The collection has been digitized and layered onto Google maps in order to give a modern day perspective of exactly who owned which lands across Ireland prior to the invasions by Cromwell. The maps are fully searchable by county, barony and parish. There are some areas of the country for which there are no currently extant maps. For example, there is no map for the Barony of Murrisk in County Mayo because the map for that area was destroyed in 1711; however, there is other information on the site for that county. Overall this is a very valuable resource.



Irish Mariners: Irish Merchant Seamen 1918-1921:

Coast Guards of Yesteryear:

Tony Daly describes his site as follows: This site is dedicated to the Coastguards who lived and worked around the Irish coastline between the 18th and early 20th centuries. It includes a collection of CG station photos as well as facts and figures about the people , births, deaths, census information, etc.



CWGC Commonwealth War Graves Commission:

Military Heritage of Ireland Trust:


An excellent website, fully searchable by surname, and also rank, regimental number, and regiment. This site provides photographs of the graves of those who fell on fields of battle in Europe and elsewhere. For a small donation they will provide copies (digital and/or hard copy) upon request.  They work together with the CWGC.



Irish Newspaper Archives: [FEE]

British Newspaper Archives 1800-1900: [FEE] - Since Ireland was still part of the British Empire in the period covered, this is a good source for Irish news.

Google News Archive: [FEE] - This site offers access to old newspapers, with free searching and free access to some newspapers, while others require a subscription or pay-per-view.



You don't have to pay to view photographs from the National Library of Ireland Digital Photographic Archive. Just click on the link below to access more than 33,000 digital images including those from the Lawrence Collection, the Keogh Brothers and the Irish Independent newspaper.

National Library of Ireland Digital Photographic Archive

Clare County Images Online: a database of photographs held by the Clare County Library, including some 6,000 Bunratty graveyard images.



Place names Database of Ireland:


POST CARDS: a great site for finding postcard views of places in which your ancestors may have lived.



The 1641 Depositions, held in the archives of Trinity College Dublin are witness testimonies concerning the experiences of persons affected by the 1641 Irish Rebellion. The testimonies are principally given by Protestants, but also by some Catholics. Testimony is given by persons across the entire social strata and document the loss of goods and property, as well as crimes allegedly committed by the Irish insurgents, including assault, stripping, imprisonment and murder. Military activity is also covered. 

This body of material is a unique source of information for the causes and events surrounding the 1641 rebellion and for the social, economic, cultural, religious, and political history of seventeenth-century Ireland, England and Scotland. It is entirely free to search, but you must sign on for an account, and the advanced search option allows for a wide range of details including such things as age, occupation, nationality and religion.



Distribution of surnames in Ireland: Derived from Robert R. Matheson's Special Report on Surnames in Ireland, 1890.

Accessible through the Ulster Historical Foundation website, this search tool allows you to key in a surname, and will give a numerical report showing where the surname occurs most frequently based on province (Connaught, Leinster, Munster, Ulster).

Don't be fooled the simple look of this site; it is good search engine. Simply key in the surname of your ancestor and it will pull that name wherever it is found, with varying results. Some pages pulled are definitely better than others. You will get lists from many places including the NAI Census. 


1. From the Irish Manuscripts website:

View the original publications the Calendar of Ormond Deeds 1172-1605. The Calendar of Ormond Deeds is an excellent resource for genealogical research because it offers details of such documents as wills, letters patent, indenture papers, and tenant lists. If your ancestors were not gentry, you may still find them in the tenant lists or indenture papers. The Irish Manuscripts site is engaged in the ongoing digitization of their original manuscripts, so there are regular updates.

2. For the Province of Ulster:

Through the website of the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland you can access will calendars for the District Registries of Armagh, Belfast, and Londonderry. Included in these are areas in the Province of Ulster (including some which are now part of the Republic of Ireland) from the year 1858 to 1921:

The Armagh Registry covers testators living in Counties Armagh, Fermanagh, Louth, Monaghan and Tyrone (except for the Baronies of Strabane and Omagh in Co. Tyrone). 

The Belfast District Registry covers Counties Antrim and Down.

The Londonderry District Registry covers Counties Donegal and Londonderry, as well as the Baronies of Strabane and Omagh in Co Tyrone.

For best results use the 'ALL' option for district searches.


WORKHOUSES: UK and The Republic of Ireland

Peter Higginbotham's excellent website:

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