Best websites for... Irish ancestors

This guide was last updated in 2009

The researcher with Irish roots is blessed with a wealth of online material, including a wide range of primary and secondary sources, plus lots of tips and advice, according to Jonathan Warren

Irish research is unique, not least because of the large amount of material lost in the 1922 National Archives fire and the 1851 census substitute, the Griffith’s Valuation.

Beginners may want to start with civil registration material. For Northern Ireland, a central index is held by the General Register Office in Belfast (; for the Republic of Ireland, the central index can be searched at the General Register Office in Dublin (

The Family Search website includes Civil Registration Indexes (1845-1958), comprising around 23 million records. From the homepage ( click ‘Search Records’, ‘Record Search pilot’, and select Ireland to begin trawling the data.

Read more of our top selections by clicking on the tabs on the right-hand side. If you're interested in exploring your research through other avenues, don't forget our general guide to tracing your Irish ancestors



My Star Site

John Grenham, author of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors (Genealogical Publishing Company, 2nd ed, 2000)

The Irish Times Irish Ancestors

The idea behind this site is straightforward: to act as a single reference point for anyone interested in their Irish forebears. There are no transcripts of original records, rather a series of detailed guides to which records are relevant, and where they are.

Most of the site is free, including a great step-by-step guide to Irish research, mid-19th century counts of householders by surname and county, surname histories, links to record transcripts, locations database, and county sourcelists taken from the second edition of Tracing Your Irish Ancestors. For more detailed and up-to-date information, a range of pay-per-view reports and subscription options is available.



Photo © Hulton Archive Getty Images

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