BIFHS-USA: Irish Internet Resources
Compiled by Jim McNamara
The following lists of URLs were compiled for the British Isles Family History Society’s August 2004 seminar, held at the Los Angeles Regional Family History Center, and have been supplemented for this web page. These lists were compiled from many sources, as well as from Google searches. Many thanks to all whom have contributed to this list, including my many Internet buddies, the BIFHS–USA members and board members, as well as Nancy Carlberg for category ideas. Many thanks also go to Nancy Bier and Linda Jonas for their encouragement of this project. Even though this list is quite long, it is acknowledged to be an abbreviated set of lists for each category. As with any kind of cataloging, some items may be listed under several categories, and others may appear in a single category only, even though several other categories are also applicable. Some web sites such as LDS’s Family History Library Catalog are so well known that no attempt was made to categorize them; these are listed by their name, even though in this case the FHLC would easily fall into the Library category. You may also find that some USA, Scotland, and UK sites have found their way into this list for obvious reasons. I have included short intro sections for most of the categories; however, some categories are so obvious, no intro is necessary.
Books, Bookstores, Book Reviews, etc.
Culture, Customs, and Superstitions
Directories and Indices
DNA Projects and Studies
Heritage Centres [Irish Family History Foundation]
History & Genealogies
Libraries, Universities, and Colleges
Lists, Use-Groups, Newsgroups, Message Boards
Privately Owned & Operated Non-Commercial Sites
Radio Stations — Live on the Internet
Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness
Surname Specific Sites
Transportation and Convict Records
 How the Irish Saved Civilization, the Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe, by Thomas Cahill. See the Introduction, "How Real is History", pages 3–8.
Don’t worry about whether people call the transcribed records "transcriptions", "inscriptions", "memorials", "gravestone"’, etc. I was very pleasantly surprised at how much useful information and actual records can be found on-line for this category. Don’t neglect the Internet Lists, some people may have found just the record you need and don’t mind sharing a few transcriptions when asked nicely.
For the most part, you will only get references to church records on-line, except for the odd ones you find on lists and on personal sites. You will need to either get a film [FHLC], or go to the National Library of Ireland, or commission some research through the Heritage Centres. My favorite site below is ‘The Irish Times’, as you can see the actual parish maps and get the actual repository references and time periods of birth and marriage records.
Copy and paste the following URL into your web-browser search window:
Note: The URL is purposely inactive here as access from any web site causes a reduction in functionality. Likely it's an attempt to prevent subscription sites from having free access for their subscribers. Once you are there, click on Catholic parish maps link in left-hand corner. That takes you to an interactive county map of Ireland.
Click on any county and you will be taken to a page showing that county’s Roman Catholic parish map. Click on the parish of interest, and you will get to a listing all the known references for that Roman Catholic Parish register, as well as the range of years each type [Baptism-Marriage-Burial] of record exits for. References include Family History Library Catalog film numbers, National Library of Ireland references, and year ranges of each type of record for which commissioned research may be done through the Heritage Centres of Ireland.
Although most historians consider the clan system to be nearly exclusively a Scottish phenonemon, some powerful families in Ireland did form clans. Although many of the current Irish clan organizations did not exist until the 20th century, what is now important is that these organizations now exist, most have a clan genealogist, most keep track of genealogical information and researchers.
Not much effort was made to ferret out all the good sites. Ancestry.Com is available at most of the local Family History Centers. Heritage Quest Online has a collection of more than 25,000 books digitally, and these are ‘all word indexed’. Heritage Quest Online also has PERSI [Periodical Source Index] on line. Note: the Heritage Quest Online service is very cost prohibitive, you will need to access this through some of the public libraries that subscribe to the service.
These sites specialize in genealogical info and research aids for just one county of Ireland. You need to keep checking back, as these sites are constantly being updated. Many great sites here, see the 1901 Leitrim-Roscommon census project which encompasses seven counties, a work in progress.
Nothing like a great directory, specific to the place and time era or your research. If your ancestors lived in large towns, expect to find a useful directory. Do a Google.Ie search for additional directories.
Learn how to start your own surname DNA project, or read results of completed studies.
Family Search is a great site for Gen searchers at any experience level. Officially, this site could be cataloged under library, repository, educational, and even under lists. Keep checking this site, read the help files, and use the research assistance. This site is continuously updated, even the catalog is being continuously reviewed and updated.
The Irish Family History Foundation has transcribed the Roman Catholic Parish Registers and will do commissioned research for you. Don’t expect miracles, provide good information and you will get good results. Some are well known for quality research, but some get bad press. ORS, online research system, is now online for most counties with plans to put all counties online. ORS allows user to search an index of records and pay to view a record.
Heritage Centres — links to county centres
Learn Irish or just get translations when needed:
The County Clare Library is one of the finest on-line libraries in Ireland that I have seen. It is possible there are other sites as good, but as my ancestral research takes me mostly to Clare County, I have yet to encounter those sites. Don’t ever be reluctant to ask the librarians for help. I have had very good responses to all my mails and emails to any librarians, in US or in ROI. Some of these libraries are undertaking transcription projects and are looking for volunteers. Check back periodically with the library sites for new records and indexes.
Join a list, sit back and learn from the questions and responses of the list members. Some list owners are very open about the subject of questions and posts, others may kick you off their list for any non-genealogical post. Try to get a feel for what is tolerated and what is not, every list owner is different. Try to stay away from sensitive topics. If you leave posts on message boards, include your email directly in the letter. Some message boards hide your email address unless the post is responded to directly to the message board. If you use message boards, its best to keep your same email address as long as possible, otherwise, go back and respond to your own posts just to reiterate your query and to notify all of your new email address. I have received responses as late as four years after a query, and it was worth the wait.
These webmaster, site owners, and creators have my utmost respect. It takes much time and effort and money to keep a site on-line. These dedicated individuals get little for their efforts. If you visit a site that is useful to you, considering donating money to the owner to help defer their costs. As a minimum, be polite and courteous when communicating with these site owners, leave a note in their guest book and tell them what you like about the site. Remember the plug can be pulled on these sites at any time, so be nice. If you have transcribed some records that would enhance their site, think about sharing with the site creator.
You can learn much about the local people and history by just listening to the radio. This works much better with broadband connections [Cable and DSL] but is not too hard of a listen even with a 56K-Baud dial-up modem. The programs include historic interest, human interest, local news, sporting events, literature, world events, local politics, book reviews, interviews with authors, modern and traditional music, etc.
A group of volunteers, who do limited research for you. Think about volunteering one day a month to do look-ups for others as repayment. I was an RAOGK volunteer for two years. It is amazing how much you learn when doing other people’s research. You get to see the full spectrum of problems, misspellings, movement, etc., and you learn to understand how to work around the problems.
In their own words:
Originally begun by two researchers who saw the need for such a service in their region. This small site grew very rapidly from just a statewide service to an international one. Many Internet researchers give of themselves unselfishly in aiding others in their research. This project expands on this premise by going one step further:
The 4656 volunteers of this movement have agreed at least once per month to do a research task in their local area as an act of kindness. The cost to you would be reimbursing the volunteer for his expenses in fulfilling your request (video tape, copy fees, etc.). This is not a FREE service.
Successful genealogical research is based upon people helping people. Our volunteers unselfishly provide information available in their area to those who live far away. We ask that you return to this site after being helped in order to return the favor in YOUR home area to someone else!
If just one person volunteers from each county in the United States, and from other countries, once per month, researchers everywhere will benefit tremendously!
When in Rome — or Ireland in this case — use the Irish search engines. I was shocked at how many more results were found from the Google.Ie than from the Google.Com, for the same search parameters. Remember to read the help files, better use knowledge is directly proportional to greater search results. Some of the search engines go down periodically for maintenance, so if the site is not found, check back later.
Don’t overlook genealogical societies. Many societies still offer research assistance. If you do make a request, be specific in your query. Confirm that the society is active in your area of interest prior to making any request.
“The Ulster Historical Foundation is designated by the Irish Family History Foundation to provide a genealogical research service for the counties of Antrim and Down [including the City of Belfast] in Northern Ireland. The Ulster Historical Foundation offers a Full Service to enquirers. Initial enquiries are responded to immediately. In addition to having access to civil records of birth, death and marriages, valuation and tithe records the Ulster Historical Foundation is in the process of computerising the following church records:
In all a total of 1.5 million records relating to the area have been computerised at the Centre and the computerisation of records continues. The Centre also has access to all records held at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland.”
Also has links to the Irish Family History Foundation [Heritage Centres] for each of the 32 counties of Ireland.
“This website is a free site with tons of data including naturalizations, directories, cemetery transcriptions, surname registries, Ireland land records and census records and it gets updated on a monthly basis.”
Includes surmnames: Booth, Boyle, Campbell, Carter, O’Connor/Connors, Cullinan(e), Fahey/Fahy, Flanagan, (O’)Flynn, Gallagher, Maclean/McLean, Marony/Maroney, McEntee, Owen, Phillips, Smith/Smythe, Sweeney, Todd. New York State, Canada, England, and Wales resources here as well as access to numerous mailing lists hosted by Pat Connors (webmaster).
Last edit: Sunday, 25-Mar-2012 20:28:16 MDT