Alloway and Southern Ayrshire FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETY Robert Burns Cottage, Alloway, Ayr
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Thursday, 18 October 2012

16 Oct 2012 - "Tracing your Irish Ancestry Using the Internet"

Tonight we welcomed Chris Paton to our society and enjoyed his very comprehensive and informative talk, on "Tracing your Irish Ancestry - Using the Internet"

Chris explained that many of the Irish records were either destroyed by fire prior to the Irish civil war of 1922, or pulped to make paper during the Second World War. However some records did survive and he went on to explain where the best sites could be found for both Northern and Southern Ireland and the cost involved of purchasing copies. All of this information can be found on the Society of Genealogist's site
pages of the "Who do you Think you Are" 2012 conference in the handout of Chris's presentation

The Irish Census Records of 1901 and 1911 survived and were digitized and are available online free of charge.  Chris went on to explain that if you are unable to access the information you require because it has been destroyed, then there are secondary sites that may have the information. 

"Griffith’s valuation" is one such census substitute and can be found on the Ask about Ireland site. This is a primary valuation of all Ireland from 1847 to 1864 and can be accessed free of charge. Another is the Valuation Office site which has information on the history of a property up to the present day.  

The Northern Ireland Public Records Office for the mainly Ulster counties has many resources online, free of charge. For the South, there is the National Archives of Ireland where all the wills for the republic of Ireland are held. Information held there can tell you who were the executors and the value of the estate, etc. 

The Irish Newspaper Archive site again covers both Northern and Southern Ireland and, in the British Library, there is a huge 19th Century newspaper collection which includes the London Times, Glasgow Herald and the Scotsman. There is also the ongoing ten year project to digitise all of the British Library Newspaper Archive

Other census substitutes, still to come online, hopefully next year, are the Great Parchment Book of 1639 which lists all the plantations in Ireland and Derry City Council is working jointly with the London Archives to rescue information and place it online. Pictures of this, shown by Chris, show it looks to be a daunting task...

One of the best sites for Irish family history information is that of the Irish Family History Federation which has the largest body of transcripts for Ireland - and its plus point is that the pricing is great at five Euros per transcript - but the drawback is that some of the source information is poor.  Some counties in the Republic are not in this site but can be found on the Irish Government genealogy site, which is completely free and a brilliant website. 

We thank Chris for his expertise in explaining to us how to go about retrieving transcripts and thank him for a most interesting and informative evening, a must for anyone wishing to trace their Irish ancestry.

Susan Christie

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