You know your ancestors came from Ireland but you don't know where in
Ireland - you know they came from a particular county but you don't know
where in that county............ and while I've said how small a country we really are....how small our
counties are.....we did once have a population of about 8 million.....
and there are only so many records remaining. how do you make the search area smaller.....where do you begin?
There are three possibilities open to you - before you begin the search for
and through parish registers.
The earliest records are usually going to be the
1. Tithes and then
for some counties. You can get some idea which parts of the
country or a county that a surname was found in using Griffiths......*but*
the Griffiths is a land valuation - the names listed in Griffiths are based
on the value of the land.....and that in itself changed as far as I can
remember from one county to the next or from one year in which the valuation
was being carried out to the next......the year was different for different
However, Ireland was not all farmed.....we had mines, we had
Most people searching today are looking for descendants or relatives of
their ancestors who left Ireland during the famine period. For some to even
be able to identify the county from which their ancestors left would be
3: the death
I personally like to take a look at the early death register indices to give
me some idea of where names were found - or a variation on a name.
Registration began in 1864. Few people actually bothered with
registration - if one looks at the registration indices for those early
years, compared to the 1890's - and compared to now - and considers the
differences in population sizes to those times and now - one gets an idea of
how few probably did register. *But* the death indices are still useful -
to me - more useful than the birth and marriage ones......because the death
indices list the age of the person at death.
If I'm looking for surname distribution - and I see that six people died in
one district with that surname in 1864.......and they were all under the age
of 16.....and I also see that one or two people died in another district
close by in that same year - and that these two were much older - in their
Well then - that's the district I will begin to look for parish registers
for - that's the district that my family may have come from - always keeping
in mind that for every family - no matter how many left - there more than
likely was at least one person who didn't get to leave...... and they had to die..........and maybe - just maybe I'll be lucky and find
them registered.......showing me the way to the parish registers.....
When you don't have a specific place to go looking.......when the parish
registers for an area are sparse.....
Sometimes it's nice just to be able to home in on an area.....
The Register indices are available through LDS research centres.....and the
good thing for those of you who use them is that unlike me - you can also
use the Marriage and birth indices in a surname/district search. When I look
at the marriage and birth indices here in Ireland - all I get is a
name....nothing else - unless I pay the nice men in the GRO for a photocopy
of the entry so I can see what parish the people were from - any details
there are.....but for those of you who use the LDS centres....you can get
the info which is on those photocopies I pay for here.
I don't fully understand how the LDS system works........maybe someone will
Published here with
full permission of Jane