I’m told that “homely” in Ireland means (of a place or surroundings) simple but cozy and comfortable, as in one's own home. That's exactly how Ireland felt when I visited there...like home. If you have roots in Ireland, one of your desires is to find that village, that place, that home where your ancestors originated.
If you’ve been doing your research for your family in Ireland, you know it can be an uphill battle with many records lost. Perhaps your family is like mine where you know the village and even have visited the homestead. In case you think I’m bragging, my other branch has Sullivans and Cotters from Cork and Kerry with no other clues, not even the names of siblings or parents. Just like they materialized out of thin air! So where do you start?
You’ve likely heard to start with what you know and work backwards when doing family history research. We need to find those elusive clues in United States, Canadian or Australian records before we head back to Ireland. There are many books and resources available to help you search in these locations. Today we’re going to talk a bit about what is available in Ireland.
I found this resource that is well worth investigating. It’s called Tracing Your Ancestors Irish Research – a Practical Guide by Dr. Maurice Gleeson MB. This magazine is a publication from the Publishers of Your Genealogy Today, Internet Genealogy & History Magazine and was published this summer. If you go to the publisher’s site, you can order back issues including others such as the Scottish Ancestors and Germanic Ancestors.
There isn’t a magic wand to get you from America to Ireland but if you do know the location where your ancestor came from this guide is helpful, highlighting the online resources (many free) as well as noting what records exist today or are being recreated. There is a lot of information packed into those 66 pages which can be overwhelming, so I would suggest picking a topic and thoroughly understanding and researching that information.
As an example, look at land records. Griffith’s valuation in Ireland has been a valuable resource, but did you know that after the primary valuation was carried out, there were subsequent valuations? These books are referred to as the Revision Books (sometimes Cancelled Books) because the information recorded was updated as land changed hands or acreage changed. According to Gleeson, these records are available via PRONI for the six counties of Northern Ireland. (https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/information-and-services/search-archives-online/valuation-revision-books) Others can be found in the Valuation Office.
Here are a few more online resources for land records including digital images of the actual Griffith’s Valuation for several counties.
Look for ways to tell your family story as you research these records. As genealogists they could prove interesting…we learn more about our family as land was passed from father to sons or other relatives. Or perhaps your family lost their plot of land about the time they sailed to America. There are great resources to help you talk about your Irish ancestors and their old Irish home.
“May your home always be too small to hold all your friends”
With a lifelong passion for genealogy and history, the author enjoys the opportunity to share genealogy tidbits, inspiring others to research and write their family story.