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Monday, January 16, 2012
52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy: Free Online Sources for Irish Family History and Genealogy
Despite budgetary constraints amid the financial meltdown that still plagues the island of my ancestors, when it comes to Irish genealogy sources available online, there is an ongoing effort to make available as many family history and genealogy resources as possible, and all FREE of charge.
A sincere THANK YOU must go out both to individuals and to organizations who are working their fingers to the bone to provide an abundance of free resources for online researchers.
The Finding Irish Family: Research Aids page of this blog has a long list of resources, both free and paid, available for Irish family history research. With a tip of my hat and a thank you to Amy Coffin for creating the blogging meme 52 Weeks of Abundant Genealogy, I would like to put the spotlight on some of those online sources which can be accessed for free. There are many others, so be sure to have a look at the research aids page.
Click on the blue links to access websites and pages.
1. 1901/1911 Irish Census - The National Archives of Ireland
Ever since parts of these census documents were first posted on their website years ago, the NAI have worked hard to update and improve this site. Not only can you view all of the information available from these census records, but you can view the original census documents, and all for free.
All thirty-two counties on the island are included. The census can not only be searched by surname but also by religion, occupation, relationship to the head of the family, literacy status, county or country of origin, Irish language proficiency, specified illnesses, and child survival information. They have accounted for almost any search term you might think of. As stated on the site, "you can now search for female married teachers in County Cork, or how many people spoke Irish in Ballyshannon, or how many Presbyterians there were in Roscommon".
Also visit the NAI Genealogy advice page on which they have their own long list of Irish genealogy websites, many of which are free. There are some gems here, including Rachel Darlington's Hidden Wexford Genealogy, which features Wexford workhouse records among others.
2. The National Library of Ireland Digital Photograph Database
Through the NLI's free online photograph database, you can view over 33,000 photographs from the collections of some of Ireland's most respected photographers of history. Browse the collections of the Keogh Brothers, A. H. Poole, and others who used the medium of photography, beginning as early as 1860, to visually record the history of the land and its people.
3. Are you just beginning your Irish family history research, and need advice about Irish records? Take a look at the NLI's Family History introduction, and download the PDF which outlines resources available, and includes need to know addresses.
4. Ireland Genealogy Projects Archives
As the name suggests this is a project, so the work is ongoing, and regularly updated. Check this site often for updates. All thirty-two counties on the entire island are included. Some counties have more information posted than others. In particular, the work done by those focussed on County Dublin is excellent. Special mention has to go to Yvonne Russell and Joyce Tunstead who have done a spectacular job posting hundreds of headstone photographs and transcriptions.
5. Irish Genealogy
If you have ancestors who were hatched, matched or dispatched in County Carlow, County Dublin, County Kerry, or the Diocese of Cork & Ross, then you will want to search the church records on the Irish government website called 'Irish Genealogy'. They are currently working on adding County Monaghan, Diocese of Clogher. Although the site is slow to update, there are over three million records here, all available to view for free, and most include images of the original parish registers.
6. Cyndi's List
Cyndi has done an outstanding job bringing together over 3800 links across 32 categories for research, both free and paid, in the area of Ireland, and the United Kingdom. Ireland has been a Free State only since 1922, and a Republic with no political ties to Britain since 1949, meaning some information applicable to your Irish ancestors may likely be found in British resources, so make sure to check them out as well.
As always, Happy Researching!