Top o’ the mornin’! The beautiful Emerald Isles have a rich history. Many of its residents came to America in the 1800’s to escape famine and war. They settled mainly in large cities in the U. S. Many of us are their descendants.

Ireland occupies an island off the west coast of England, with smaller satellite islands within its jurisdiction. In 1922, Ireland was divided into two distinct countries: Northern Ireland, which is under the rule of the United Kingdom, and the Republic of Ireland, a sovereign nation in its own right. The civil war with England that resulted in the establishment of the Republic of Ireland had a devastating effect on genealogical records. The Irish Public Records Office in Dublin was bombed and destroyed in 1922. The censuses from 1821 through 1851 were lost in this travesty. Censuses from 1861 through 1891 were not preserved for some reason. Thus, census records are of little help before 1901.

If the ancestor’s specific place of origin in Ireland is unknown, and the immigrant ancestor came to the U. S. before 1911, then research needs to begin in the U. S. Perhaps there is a passenger manifest or naturalization record that might identify an ancestor’s previous home. Who were his or her closest associates? What religion did he or she follow? If the family created vital records (birth, marriage, death) in their new home, do any of these records state their specific previous place of residence? Each record must be searched for this crucial evidence.

A sizeable number of Catholic parish records in Ireland have also been lost. The surviving parish records are being digitized and becoming available through subscription websites. Civil registrations of births, marriages and deaths began in 1864. Protestant marriages were registered beginning in 1845. Before that time, there were townland taxation records that can help to establish familial relationships.

Ireland research before 1864 is very challenging. Heritage Consulting boasts one of the best Irish and British Isles professional genealogists in the business. He has solved some difficult cases for our clients, researching at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. If the vast collection of the Family History library does not have something we need, which is very rare, we have specialists in Ireland who can search and retrieve documents for us. They have access to a wider range of obscure sources in certain locations. All is not lost in Ireland!