Much as we love being ‘Irish’, researching your ancestry in Ireland is not easy, and even harder if you don’t know where in Ireland to look.
Don’t despair! Even if you don’t know which county your ancestors came from, using Griffith’s Valuation records can give you a county that might be yours. If you know the county, but not the parish or townland, Griffith’s Valuation might help. Now, there is something new to add to this.
Just what is Griffith’s Valuation? Go to tinyurl.com/muflo7 for good background reading.
The web site www.askaboutireland.ie has a link to Griffith’s Valuation. Click on the right hand-side and enter a surname, if this is all you know, then try a search (though only if the surname is not too common!). Maybe you will see an unusual forename or a family name, which might help narrow the results, or you may have an idea of the county. Try again with this extra information.
My 3x great-grandfather is Thomas McNeilly and all we knew was that he was from Connaught, Ireland. No amount of searching produced any further clues until a few months ago, when we discovered that 3x great- grandmother Charlotte had started divorce proceedings against Thomas in 1876! Amongst the 60 papers found, it was discovered that Thomas said he had been born in Westport, County Mayo. Great! But “McNeilly, Mayo” resulted in nil hits. I did cheat here, as I was in Dublin and could consult the surname list for Griffith’s. I found the only name that was close was McAneely. This changed to McNeely over time.
For help with surname spelling and finding places, try www.ulsterancestry.com/search. html (for Northern Ireland), www.logainm.ie, www.brsgenealogy.com, www.johngrenham.com, www.leitrim-roscommon.com/ ireatlas, tinyurl.com/m8qvr5 (an Irish researcher) or www.ancestralatlas.com Irish Origins (www.irishorigins.com) has all of Griffith’s Valuation– this is a pay-to-view site.
Using www.askaboutireland.ie you can search without a surname, but with a county, barony or parish, or use the Place Name search. Do look at all three of the results. Make a note of the details. The original page is most important – zoom in until you can find and read about your possible family. Make a note of the number in the first column, then click on the map and move the horizontal slide – the map changes from old to new! Zoom in and locate the map reference number on the old map, then slide until the modern map is there and you can see the modern roads.
While in Ireland, I met the people from www.fermanagh.tv They would love to hear some stories about Fermanagh Family History. I got the feeling they may even do some sleuthing! Email Rodney Edwards (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your stories.
All of the 1911 census for Ireland is now online at www.census.nationalarchives.ie Click on Household Return form A to see the image. Check out the other images too.