Who do I think I am?  Well, I have recently embarked on the challenging journey of looking into  past generations of my family, not just to get a list of names, but to try to find out a little about them. I come from mostly peasant stock with very common surnames.This means that unless we are lucky enough to have had a few convicts in our midst who were shipped out to Botany Bay or had earlier generations who emigrated to the New World, it is a challenge to find out anything about them.LOOKING INTO THE PAST  page contains links to IRISH websites that may be of help to those looking for information on their ancestors in Ireland. There is a variety of websites giving information about Ireland, some fee paying, some free.This is not a definitive list, but has the sites that I have personally found to be useful.

Irish Genealogy  Claire Santry’s page is a ‘MUST’ as a first stop for anyone beginning to look for Irish Ancestry. Here you will find solid advice on how to go about looking for your family, with explanations of townlands (which are in rural Ireland instead of streets), civil parishes, catholic parishes and much more.

The National Archives of Ireland:  Added in recent times were the Roman Catholic Parish Registers  and they also have published   National Census records for all 32 counties of Ireland, for 1901 and 1911, census fragments and pension records for 1821 – 1851, Tithe Applotment books 1823 – 1837 st and Soldiers Wills 1914-1917  and more.One of the highlights for me was seeing my great grandfather’s  signature on the original census document and the type of buildings they had on their small holding in Co. Donegal.This site will continue to evolve as more and more records are placed online. (FREE to use)

johngrenham.com: One of the very best from the former Irish Times genealogist.Check out the largest collection of  Irish genealogy links  on the Web, browse parish  maps, or find out how to start. (FEES apply)

Roots Ireland.ie: The Irish Family History Foundation (I.F.H.F.), an all Ireland not-for-profit organization, runs the rootsirelan.ie site. It oversees the creation of a database of Irish genealogical sources which enables those who wish to trace their ancestry  to have access to all the relevant data in one place. (FEES apply)

Irish Genealogy.ie :  A relatively new site set up under the auspices of the Irish Government, and still evolving. A free search facility for over 1.3 million pre 1900 church birth, marriage and death records as well as civil records from 1864. It i spossible to view the original registrations. (FREE to use)

Donegal Genealogy Resources: An amazing collection of over 2,600 pages of transcribed information from Co. Donegal.  If you know your parish, off you go! Complied by Lindel Buckley,  a woman of Donegal extract, living in New Zealand, from sources from the 18th to 20th century. (FREE  to use)

IrishGraveyards.ie: A plot by plot record of graves in Irish graveyards. So far the graveyards that have been plotted are mainly in the north and west of Ireland.  You can search by name only or by place .This site is still evolving, so check back from time to time. (FREE  to use)

logainm.ie: The Placenames Database of Ireland.  A bilingual site with interactive maps. This site has  some historic  and some archive material on place names. (FREE  to use)

Griffiths Valuation: From the Ask about Ireland website, Griffiths Valuation is a record of property valuation in Ireland, published from 1847 to 1864. It shows names of tenants and links to site maps. (FREE  to use)

Irish Local Placenames explained.P.W Joyce, Joyce was a key cultural figure of his time. He produced many works on the history and culture of Ireland. His most enduring work is the pioneering The Origin and History of Irish Names of Places (first edition published in 1869). (FREE  to use)

Ireland Reaching Out . A government initiative, funded by Atlantic Philanthropies aimed at the Irish Diaspora. The model is different – each of the 2,500 parishes in Ireland would like to contact its own diaspora, rather than waiting for people to come to Ireland searching for ancestors. (FREE  to use)

FindMyPast.ie : Millions of records from crime and legal records,dog licences, directories and almanacs,  Births, Marriages, Death records ( BMD) records, exclusive land and estate records, as well as census substitutes, travel and migration records, and the names and details of the Irish who fought in wars and rebellion. (FEES apply)


  1. J. G. Burdette

    I’ve nominated you for the Liebster Blog:
    I enjoy your blog!

  2. Angela, You are wonderful, and this is a great intro for folks!!

    • Thank you so very much for such a valuable link. My family History section is due an update . It is national rather than by county, but I will gladly add a link to my blog. By the way, I love your blog on interesting Limerick people but I cannot comment on them for some reason as it will not allow me to log in. 😦

  3. I’ll check it out, thank you again for letting me know.

  4. Geraldine

    Hi, I have recentely started to work her in the Clonaslee Heritate/Tourist Information Centre, a local farmer donated a famine pot to us which we have restored and is on display in our garden.

    I am interested in finding out the story behind the pot but the farmer who gave it to us has no informaton on it at all. I also know where ther is another pot but again have no background to it.

    I would love to be able to get at least some information about them but haved no idea where to start apart form the general information on the various sites.

    I look forward to hearing from you soon.



    • Hi Geraldine.
      I am not sure if you are trying to get the history of your particular pot, or famine pots in general?
      There is a very good website devoted to Famine Pots at http://www.irishfaminepots.com. The history section of this website seems to indicate that they were mostly ‘official issue’ or perhaps given by the Quakers. Perhaps a history of the Mountmellick PLU or your nearest workhouse may have some pointers that might help you. I read someplace that there were several hundred people still needing relief in Clonaslee some years after the famine, so there may well be lots of local records someplace. Laois county library may well have a local studies section that might be a good starting point.
      It would be good to know how you get on with your discoveries! Thanks for dropping in to the site!

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