5 books for tracing your Irish ancestors

Niall Cullen, Findmypast

Discovering your Irish family history has been made more accessible and affordable than ever over the past decade, with millions of Irish records now available online.

However, if you are a traditionalist who still likes to use a book for research, here’s a list of 5 titles that will come in very handy:

Surnames of Ireland by Edward MacLysaght

This book is all about the origins of your Irish surname, a topic that many people find fascinating. In it, you’ll find over 4,000 Gaelic, Norman and Anglo-Irish surnames, how they originated and the places in Ireland they are most commonly linked with.

As most researchers know connecting a surname to a placename could prove vital for your Irish family history.

5 books for tracing your Irish ancestors

Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet by Chris Paton

Researching your Irish ancestors on the web saves you both time and money and in this book Chris Paton examines the different sources available online.

Included, of course, is the largest collection of Irish records available online at Findmypast, as well as all the other major free and subscription sites.

Fascinating case studies explain how to get the most out of the online source and Paton also examines how social media can be useful for tracing your family’s past.

Tracing Your Irish Ancestors by John Grenham

One of the most essential books for all Irish family historians and now in its 4th edition, John Grenham’s publication helps you decide what Irish records to look for, where you’ll find them and what you can take from them.

The author and genealogist highlights offline and online resources and includes county-by-county reference lists, ideal if you know where in Ireland your ancestors came from.

Tracing your [County] Ancestors series by various authors

This range of handy guides are published by Flyleaf Press, Ireland’s specialist genealogy publishers. They provide how-to guides and all the detail you need about your Irish family in a particular county.

There are 12 titles currently available – for Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Kildare, Sligo, Westmeath, Donegal, Kerry, Mayo, Roscommon and Clare ancestral research.

A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland by Brian Mitchell

Brian Mitchell, a county Derry genealogist, has published a variety of Irish family history titles over the years. This one addresses the somewhat confusing issue of Irish placenames, parishes, townlands, baronies and registration districts.

This is an issue commonly faced by researchers who are not familiar with Ireland’s geography.

In the book you’ll find detailed maps allowing you to narrow down the possible locations in Ireland your ancestors came from and focus your research.

Any of these titles on their own, or a combination of them, can be a real asset when tracing your Irish ancestors. Once you’ve discovered what records to look for, see if you can find them in over 90 million Irish records on Findmypast and let your Irish family history journey begin.