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St Patrick’s Day: tips on tracing your Irish heritage

St Patrick’s Day: tips on tracing your Irish heritage

Date: 10th March 2021

St Patrick’s Day is celebrated on March 17 every year. For those open (for it is celebrated globally and not every country is in lockdown) it is a good excuse to raise a pint of Guinness and celebrate all things Irish – as well as the Irish heritage that so many of us are proud of.

For individuals with Irish heritage, they may wish to find out more about it. Others may simply have wondered if they have Irish heritage. Either way, here are some top tips to help you find out more – just maybe you can drink that pint of the black stuff with an even bigger smile than before.

Talk to your relatives 

Before you begin online research, you should talk to your relatives they may have lots of information about your possible Irish heritage that you never knew about. If you believe you have found any Irish relatives, here's a list of things you should try to gather in order to help with your research. You don’t need all the information but the more you can gather the easier the process will be!

Name: The full name of your ancestors this could include maiden names and birth names! Surnames would definitely help determine whether any of your ancestors are Irish.

Date of birth: Try to find out their date of birth, this would be helpful when trying to look through records.

Birthplace: Discover where they were born, maybe even the name of a hospital would narrow down your search.

Religion: This could be Catholic or Protestant or even something else – but this would help when finding baptism certificates.

Immigration/ emigration records: Try to establish where and when your Irish relatives left Ireland. There might be records about their departure from the Emerald Isle.

Other important events: This could be deaths or marriages; this would help you when you look at marriage or death certificates.


Online resources  

There are many free online resources that will help you to find your Irish heritage as there are many Irish sites. The whole of Ireland prior to 1922 was part of the United Kingdom so it would also be useful to check UK public records too.

With the information you’ve gathered, you can then begin to look into the huge number of online websites that look specifically at Irish heritage. You can look into names, deaths, marriages and birth records.

Information was lost in the Public Records Office fire of 1922 but here are some of the records that you could look at from the information you received from relatives.

  • Military records
  • Birth certificates
  • Death certificates
  • Marriage certificates
  • Christening or Baptism records

DNA testing or professional genealogist  

Maybe you’ve hit a brick wall or you’ve simply found all you possibly can. You may decide you want to invest in DNA testing or getting a professional genealogist. They could help you to find even more relatives or help you to create your family tree.