Ireland is one of the countries in the world that has seen its people spread far and wide throughout history.
Literally millions are proud to celebrate their Irish heritage, but there are millions more yet to discover their family’s past.
Perhaps you know for sure, or maybe you have an inkling there’s Irish blood in your family. Well, there’s no time like the present to start looking into it.
There’s a community of searchers and sleuths among the 70 million people around the world claiming Irish ancestry, but with the help of online databases and genealogy resources it’s never been easier to join in and start your own investigation.
A good starting point is the Irish Government website www.irishgenealogy.ie, which has records of births, baptisms, marriages and burials from a number of counties. The National Archives website contains early 20th-century census returns while www.rootsireland.ie has over 20 million records from the various county genealogy centres on the island of Ireland. Simply key in your name and the journey begins.
Armed with your online discoveries, a trip to Ireland is a great next step in unearthing your family history.
Head for the National Library, National Archives and General Register Office in Dublin or, if your history points to Northern Ireland, visit the Public Records Office in Belfast.
If you already know which county your ancestors hail from you can find out more from the professional genealogists in the many county genealogy centres.
Tracing your ancestry is an exciting adventure but it can be time-consuming and complicated. Happily, there is also the option to commission the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland to help.
They’ll find not only your ancestors but also living relatives, and getting to meet long lost cousins in the land of your forefathers is a thrill worth waiting for.
The immense Irish diaspora is the result of hundreds of years of emigration. For those seeking to know more about how and why their family emigrated a visit to Epic Ireland in Dublin is a must.
This hi-tech, interactive experience tells the authentic stories of 10 million epic journeys and how Irish emigrants helped shape the world.
Epic Ireland also contains an Irish Family History Centre operated by genealogical specialists, Eneclann.
They offer consultations with experts, access to Irish family history records and information to help with genealogical research.
There is even the opportunity to purchase a Family Tree DNA Kit to see if Irishness is in your genes.
So why not get on the trail? Next time you visit Ireland you could be coming home.
There are millions of people around the world who have delved into their family tree to discover incredible stories about their Irish ancestors. Take a look at the links below and who knows what you might find out?
Written by Andrew Moore