Genealogy – Researching Your Family

Finding Your Irish Ancestors

Some hints and tips on researching your family history in Ireland and online through various resources.

If anyone has any experience or additional tips and advice we may have missed, please get in touch with us and we will be sure to pass on whatever tips you have.

Irish Diaspora,

Diaspóra na nGael.

Ethnic Irish people or descendants of, who have left Ireland and settled in other counties around the world. The Irish people have been emigrating for hundreds of years in a bid to find a better, more prosperous, life elsewhere.

 There have been many reasons through the ages that has caused the Irish to leave their homeland, famines, political upheaval and even economic depression. Since the early 1700s records have been kept and it is estimated that up to 10 million people have left Ireland to find a better live abroad.

In recent years, it has been estimated, that almost 80 million people around the world claim to have some sort of Irish Decent and a lot of them are keen to trace their roots and find out about their ancestors and where they came from.


Old Irish Records

Obviously, records have been kept but for one reason or another, some have disappeared over the years and others are just very hard to find.

With the invention of the internet, various authorities have been encouraged to digitise as many surviving records as possible before they also disappear.

Technology has improved and more records have been made available to the public and here we will show you some links together with advice how you can start to search your Irish Ancestry online.

The are a clan community and are always here to help in any way we can, but we are not genealogy experts by any means. Please investigate online as much as you can, if we can help you locally here in Longford, please get in touch with us.

Before you Start

Research Hints and Tips


The first thing to do is talk with your family, parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles. The amont of knowledge you can gain from you direct family will be a great starting point.


Gather as many family names and places of origin as possible. pre-married names and where they were born or grew up will be important later.


Try to find out dates and places of Births, Marriages, Christenings, deaths and burials of as many of your known ancestors as possible. Gather as much of this information as possible, it will make you search easier.


Assemble a structured family tree so you can easily identify the origins of each member of your family. Assemble all the above information in an easy to read format.


A key piece of information to gather is a specific address: ideally, a townland (in a rural area) or a street. The minimum necessary information is a parish. This will make your Irish search easier.


If you can, you may also be able to trace how they entered the country you live in, there may be ship or immigration records available that will indicate where they travelled from in Ireland.


Now you are ready to search, with everything that you already know it will allow you to work backwards.

St Mels Cathedral Longford Image by John Riddle

Resources for your search

Family history is a fascinating subject and extremely popular. However, it can also be very challenging due to the fact that many Irish records were lost or destroyed over the years. The following is a guide to the steps involved in researching your family tree and the key sources you need.

Longford Genealogy

It contains data from 34 county genealogy centres on the island of Ireland. The main sources on the site are Irish Catholic and other church records of baptisms, marriages and deaths which are the most important source for tracing Irish ancestry.

The Irish Family History Foundation has been the coordinating body for a network of county genealogy centres and family history societies for over thirty years. The sources available vary for each county so please check our Irish Online Sources for details of what is available on the website.

National Archives Link

Census Records

The only complete Irish Census records are back to 1901 and 1911.

There are some fragmented records that have survived from the 1821 to 1851 time period, but these records are only available for some counties, unfortunately none exist for Longford.

Irish Genealogy Link

Civil Records

Civil records of non-Catholic marriages began in 1845 and of other marriages, and all births and deaths in 1864.

In recent years, they amount of digitised records have increased significantly.

Civil marriage records from 1845

Birth Register Records from 1919

Death Register Records from 1969

National Catholic Register Link

Catholic Parish Records

All original Catholic parish records are held by local clergy.

Images of the registers to about 1880 are available from the National Library of Ireland. They cannot be searched by name but you can use a filter to narrow the dates.

Church of Ireland Link

Church of Ireland

Church of Ireland parish records are held by local clergy or are in the Representative Church Body Library, Churchtown, Dublin.

Many registers to about 1877 were destroyed in the fire at the Public Record Office, Dublin, in 1922. The full list of surviving registers, with locations, is available.

Oresbyterian History Ireland Link

Presbyterian Records

Presbyterian records can be found on the website of the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland, 26 College Green, Belfast.

Methodist Historical Society Link

Methodist Records

Methodist Church records can be found on the website of the Methodist Historical Society of Ireland, Edgehill Theological College, 9 Lennoxvale, Belfast.

Ask about Ireland Link

Griffith’s Valuation

This was a valuation prepared uniformly for all of Ireland to allow for the calculation of the poor rate (to support the local poor law union). The Longford valuation was done in 1854.

It lists all occupiers of land, by Civil / Church of Ireland parish, with a brief description of the properties held. Acreages are in statute measure.

The hardcopy is in Longford County Library and Archives Services, while the online version has the maps that accompany the lists.

National Archives Link

The Tithe Applotment Books

Dating from the period 1823-35, the books list, by civil parish, all occupiers of land who were obliged to pay tithe (a tax) to the Church of Ireland.

Those who were not landholders, or who lived in towns, were not tithe payers. Acreages are in Irish measure.

Longford Library Link

Longford Burial registers

Longford County Council owns 32 graveyards in the county and the registers of 31 of them are held by Longford County Library and Archives Services.

Graveyard Inscriptions

The inscriptions of memorials in a number of the graveyards in the county have been transcribed and some are published. For further information email county archivist.

Wills National Archives Link

Wills and Administration

Surviving original wills and administrations, and transcripts are in the National Archives of Ireland, Bishop Street, Dublin.

From 1858 onwards, annual calendars have been published, which give summary details of the original documents.

Sadly, most originals, pre-1904, were destroyed in the Public Record Office fire in 1922. However, the transcripts of many from 1858 onwards survive.

The calendars of wills and administrations, 1858-1982.

Longford Library Link

Estate Archives

Until the early 1900s, most people in Ireland were tenants of a landlord. Estate archives with details of tenants typically include rent books, account books, maps, surveys and deeds (e.g. leases).

Unfortunately, many estate collections were lost over the years. However, many more are in archives or libraries, or are in private ownership.

For details of estate collections in Longford County Library and Archives Services and the whereabouts of others email county archivist.

The archives of the Irish Land Commission, which contain a wealth of documents relating to the break-up of the estates and tenant purchase, are closed to the public.

Registery of Deeds Project Link

Registery of Deeds project

The Registry of Deeds was established in 1708.

Parties to deeds (e.g. conveyances, leases etc.) could have them registered for legal reasons and the Registry was part of the enforcement of the Penal Laws against Catholics and Presbyterians.

Registration was voluntary and the numbers involved grew as time passed.

In general, the memorials (transcriptions) relate mainly to propertied families and to those of the Church of Ireland until the late 1700s.

A voluntary project is underway to make available online indexes to the deeds.


Learn About The Farrells Long Irish History.

The Uí Fhearghail have been associated with County Longford and the Hidden Heartlands region of Ireland for more than 1,000 years.

Come with us as we journey through the history of The Farrell Clan…