Online Genealogy Courses

What to expect from our online courses?

The knowledge you gain from our online Irish Genealogy Essentials course will help you get to grips with research techniques, archives and genealogical sources in Ireland; provide you with the information and skills to further explore your family history and help you find your elusive Irish and Scots-Irish ancestors.

Priced at £374.99 (Guild £349.99) our online Irish Genealogy Essentials course takes all the key components of our normal in-person courses and makes them available digitally allowing participants to complete the programme at their own pace and from the comfort of their own home.

This course consists of:

  • 19 pre-recorded lectures on essential topics relating to Irish genealogical research
  • Three live "Q and A" sessions with the course lecturers (to be scheduled at different times to suit different time zones)
  • Downloadable lecture handouts and reading list

16 November -16 December 2020

Our next online genealogy course will go live on 16 November. Although participants will have 24/7 access to the various lectures and can watch these talks as often as they care to, the course will end on 16 December meaning that after this date these lectures will no longer be accessible.

The three Q and A sessions are scheduled for:

  • 2nd December (Scheduled at a time to suit North America participants)
  • 9th  December (Scheduled at a time to suit Aus/NZ participants)
  • 16th December  (Scheduled at a time to suit all participants)

Questions for these sessions need to be submitted in advance. Details on how to do this will be made available after registration.

What topics will be covered in this course?

A list of the different lectures, along with a brief synopsis of their content can be found below:

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.

Archives and libraries in Ireland
This talk will provide an overview of the principal sources of archival data in Ireland, ranging from major repositories, such as the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and the National Archives of Ireland, to local archives. The talk will also look at libraries in Ireland, especially those with collections of genealogical interest.

Irish land divisions
Understanding the importance of our land divisions and sense of place to local people in rural Ireland (irrespective of location) is 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.

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 the 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.

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.

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.

Griffith’s Valuation & Valuation Revision Books
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

Tithe applotment books, freeholders’ registers.
The earliest comprehensive nineteenth-century ‘census substitutes’ are the tithe applotment books from the 1820s and 1830s. We will look at these records, the companion tithe defaulters’ lists, and the freeholders’ registers which list those entitled to vote.

The Registry of Deeds
In 1708 the Registry of Deeds was established in Dublin as a repository for all kinds of documents relating to the transfer of title to land, including leases from landlord to tenant. This talk will explain how to maximise your research time in this important, but often overlooked archive.

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.

Graveyards & gravestone inscriptions
Researchers will be well aware of the value of gravestone inscriptions in their research into the history of their family. This talk will provide an overview of graveyards in Ireland and will highlight the main places to look for recordings of gravestone inscriptions.

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.

The Ulster Plantation
The Ulster Plantation of the early seventeenth century is widely accepted as a period of critical importance in the shaping of modern Ulster. This talk will explore the impact of the Plantation and will discuss sources that can be used to study the families affected by it.

Occupation and business records
This talk will explore the range of material that exists for those wishing to research an ancestor who followed a particular occupation. It will also highlight the usefulness of business records for the researcher, identifying where these records can be accessed.

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.

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 40s. 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.

Law and order records
This talk will cover topics such as the Rebellion Papers in the National Archives of Ireland, the best single source for studying the tumultuous 1790s in Ireland. The talk will also explore records relating to the police, local courts and the prison system in Ireland.