Pre-conference genealogy essentials

This taught course will be delivered by the Foundation’s expert staff and will be scheduled to take place immediately prior (07-09 June) to the formal start of our Tracing your Irish Ancestors conference itself.

This pre-conference course will offer delegates two and a half days of intensive learning, with practical demonstrations using relevant websites and other electronic resources, and will give participants full access to the Foundation’s research and newspaper library, and of course the expertise of our staff and researchers.

Our Irish Genealogy Essentials Course is not part of the formal conference programme, but complementary to it, and highly recommended for those who are relatively new to Irish family history research.

An additional fee applies to those signing up for this pre-conference course, but registered delegates can avail of a conference-exclusive offer of only £249.99 (GBP) for this additional 2.5 day enhancement to our conference programming for 2021.

Conference delegates do not have to register for the Genealogy Essentials Course, but we would highly recommend it for the keen genealogists who want to maximise the benefit of their time in the archives during the conference itself.

[Please note that this class is subject to numbers]

What will the course cover?

Monday 07 June

Genealogy Essentials - Day 1

Morning lectures

Irish land divisions

Understanding the importance of our land divisions and sense of place to local people in rural Ireland (irrespective of location) are crucial to success in Irish genealogy. This presentation explores the different administrative divisions: e.g. townland, barony, parish, County, Poor Law Union, etc, their origins, how they relate to each other, and their relevance and usage in the historical records.

Nineteenth & early twentieth century census returns

This session will focus on how much information can be gleaned from the 1901 and 1911 census returns and the value of these resources, even for those whose ancestors had left Ireland prior to the twentieth century. We will also look at the census fragments that survive for the nineteenth century.

Practical Session: Applying what you just learned – using online resources for yourself

Afternoon lectures

Civil records – birth, marriage & death certificates

Civil registration of all births, deaths and marriages began in Ireland in 1864 (non-Catholic marriages registered from 1845). This session will focus on birth, marriage and death records, the information they contain and the various websites that can now be used to access them.

Church records for use in genealogical research: registers

This session will look at the records available for main religious denominations in Ireland and how their varied histories have affected the types of records which exist. We will examine baptismal, marriage and burial registers and will focus on where these records are held and how to access them.

Practical Session: Applying what you just learned – using online resources for yourself

Tuesday 08 June

Genealogy Essentials - Day 2

Morning lectures

Church records for use in genealogical research: administrative records

In addition to baptisms, marriages and burials, the material generated by the various religious denominations is considerable and varied. This talk will explore administrative records of the churches in Ireland, highlighting sources of relevance in family history research.

Wills and testamentary papers

Wills can be an invaluable source for clarifying family connections and learning more about our ancestors. During this session we will look at the background to the administration of wills in Ireland, assess the information that can be obtained from a will and where these records are held and how they can be accessed, both in the archives, and more recently, the large amount of material which has been made available online.

School registers & education records

The records of the National Education system, introduced in 1831, can be a most useful collection of records for tracing families, especially in the period 1860–1920, and where the records survive back to the 1850s and 1840s. As well as providing information on school children the records offer information on teachers, and the establishment of schools and how they were run. They can give details of family movements within Britain and Ireland, and indeed emigration to America, Canada and Australasia. Prior to this period some records also exist for private schools, schools supported by various religious bodies, and schools established to educate the children of the poor. The session will explore the value of these records for family history research.

Practical Session: Applying what you just learned – using online resources for yourself

Afternoon lectures 

19th-century valuation records

Land records are an extremely important part of genealogical research in Ireland due to the destruction of the majority of nineteenth-century census records. We will look at Griffith’s Valuation, the first truly comprehensive survey of property in Ireland, which covers the period 1848 to 1864, as well as the subsequent Valuation Revision (or Cancelled) Books. We will also look at the Tithe Valuation of the 1820s and 1830s.

Landed estate papers

The documents generated by the management of landed estates are among the most valuable of records for the local and family historian.This talk will look at the background to landed estates in Ireland, before going on to discuss the more useful sources found in estate collections.

Practical Session: Applying what you just learned – using online resources for yourself

Wednesday 09 June

Genealogy Essentials - Day 3

Morning lectures

Printed sources – newspapers, street directories, etc

Printed sources are essential for those researching Irish and Scots-Irish ancestors. We will look at a wide range of printed sources including newspapers, street directories and Ordnance Survey Memoirs; as well as identifying how to access this material.

Workhouse & local government records

The poor and destitute in Ireland can be the most difficult groups to trace because they rarely leave a paper trail. The records of the Board of Guardians, i.e. those tasked with administering the Poor Law in Ireland are hugely valuable, especially given the impact of the Great Famine on the period. Through the records such as minute books, outdoor relief registers, indoor registers and vaccination registers, we see glimpses of those admitted to the workhouse, how they were treated, and sometimes giving details on assisted emigration schemes. The session will also explore local government records in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, including records of the grand juries, town commissioners, corporation records and county council records. For example, the grand jury was one of the most important forms of local government of the period, and a greatly underused source for family history.

Pre-1800 census substitutes

This presentation highlights census substitutes and other lesser known sources for the early nineteenth and eighteenth century, including: Old Age Pensions search forms, the agricultural censuses of 1803, the 1796 flaxgrowers’ list, 1775 dissenter petitions, the convert rolls, the 1766 and other religious ‘census’ returns, the 1740 ‘Protestant Householders’ List and other miscellaneous material for the period which can provide invaluable information on families.

Practical Session: Applying what you just learned – using online resources for yourself