Thursday, June 28, 2012

Can't Find Your Old Irish Relatives, Try

I checked out the site the other day and it blew the doors off of the limitations I have had previously in trying to find good information about my ancestors in Ireland.   The family lore was always that we came from Cork, but it seems everything thinks that because it's probably the biggest port and it's where many immigrants left Ireland.

The site is ran by a non-profit organization in Ireland that has been working to compile databases church records from all of the various parish's and counties in Ireland in one place and one contiguous database that is searchable.

From their site:

"This website contains a unique set of Irish family history records including Birth, Death, Marriage and Gravestone records the majority of which are only available online on this website and cannot be found online elsewhere.
This website was created by the Irish Family History Foundation (I.F.H.F.), an all Ireland not-for-profit organization, that is co-ordinating the creation of a database of Irish genealogical sources to assist those who wish to trace their Irish ancestry."
I started searching for my family and would type in the name of the person in baptism records along with the parents names and dates of birth and several times there would be ONE MATCH.  This amazingly happenned for 4 of the 6 children I knew came over in 1853.  I was floored.  So far I have been able to definitively trace my family roots to Blessington Parish in Wicklow county.  This is huge because now I have a jumping off point to continue my research.
There are pro's and con's to this site.  
Easily searchable, most complete, set of church parish records I have seen to date. 
- It's not free.  You get 10 free pages of search results but after that you pay for everything.  It's not terrible but it's pay-per-view.  You will pay 1 credit for additional search pages and 25 credits to view a record's details.  I bought 320 credits for 32 euro's (about $40 bucks USD) and that basically got my 12 document views and 20 pages of search results.
- The records are basically transcriptions, which means you will find errors.  The biggest example was looking at the last name of the mother of the six kids that came over from Ireland.  On three of their baptism records there were three different spellings for her last name (Mahan, Mahon, and Malone).  This could also account for why I couldn't find the other two kids in the family at all.

I hope this helps!

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