Wednesday, February 13, 2008


Ouimette, David S. Finding Your Irish Ancestors: a Beginner’s Guide. Ancestry Publishing, 2005, $14.95. ISBN-1-59331-293-8

Did you know that:

You can become an Irish citizen if either of your parents or any one of your grandparents were born in Ireland? (p.ix)

If you have an uncommon Irish surname, your ancestors may have lived mainly in one Irish county, or even in a single parish? (p.16)

For most of the 19th century, more than half of the entire Irish population went by just 12 given names? (p.18)

If you encounter a middle name that sounds suspiciously like a surname, it probably is the maiden name of that person’s mother? (p.20)

Irish towns that end in “ford” are nearly always Viking in origin? (p.21)

The largest collection of Irish newspapers in the world is located at the British Library in London? (p.107)

If these facts whet your appetite for more Irish family research tips, you will want to find yourself a copy of Finding Your Irish Ancestors. It covers most everything you’ll need to know to conduct a thorough search of records available in this country and in Ireland, and does it in easy-to-read, logically organized chapters. You’ll find out how to get started, with introductions to Irish history, surnames, and place names. You’ll learn about major record types: vital records, church records, censuses, land and property records, and wills and administrations. You’ll also discover how to leave no (blarney) stones unturned, with chapters on gravestone inscriptions, newspapers, commercial and social registers, school registers, and occupation records. You’ll also learn where to find these records: the Family History Library, Irish Heritage Centres, archives and libraries, and the Internet. And, if you’ve got the wherewithal to actually visit the Auld Sod, there’s even a chapter on planning your research trip to the Emerald Isle. Finally, there’s a glossary, bibliography, and an index.

So, if this review has served “to get your Irish up,” it’s time you get a copy of Finding Your Irish Ancestors and start researching!

Available on for $10.17.

Find in a library near you.

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