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Around a million people left Ireland in the 19th century, migrating to Britain to escape the Great Famine or using it as a stepping stone to Europe, America or Australasia. This mass migration means that many people all over the world have Irish roots. Now you can trace your ancestors back to their home country, with our new Catholic parish records.
Parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials are always crucial for discovering your ancestors’ stories in the years before civil registration. In Britain, Catholic records generally show a minority, as most people were part of the Church of England.
The Church of Ireland was also Anglican. However, the vast majority of the country’s inhabitants — around 80% — remained Catholic. This means that more people are included in the ‘unofficial’ Catholic parish records than the State registers.
Our new collection, Irish Catholic Parish Records, 1742-1884, dates back before the potato famine that devastated Ireland. Many of your ancestors who later left to start new lives around the world will be shown here, living in their original homes. Sadly, you’ll probably also find forebears who were among the millions who died from hunger and poverty, listed in the death registers around 1845-52.
The later records also cover the crucial census period — so important in Ireland as many of the country’s census records were destroyed. You can fill in gaps in your family tree with key details like dates, places and parents’ and spouses’ names.
If there’s any chance your family was in Ireland in the 18th and 19th centuries, this is the first place you should look for them. The records are available to Premium and Worldwide members. Upgrade your membership now
Ireland has a rich and fascinating history, of which its inhabitants are rightly proud. But it’s not just the modern-day Irish that have a connection to this past — 70 million people all over the world have roots in Ireland. If you’re among them, discover your part in its story with over 20 million Irish records on our site.
You can read about our new Irish Catholic parish records in our main article this month. We’ve also just released a huge collection of birth, marriage and death indexes, covering 1845-1978.
These national lists are the equivalent of our England & Wales civil indexes. They provide the basic information you need to piece together your family tree — names, dates, places and often details of parents.
We’re also giving you Ireland Births and Baptisms, 1620–1911. This lets you follow your family’s story further back in time, and provides a third option for those later births — if you have no luck in the Catholic registers or civil lists, try this collection.
All these new releases join an already vast selection of Irish records. One of the most important of the existing collections is Griffith’s Valuation, 1848-1864.
Because many Irish census records were destroyed, it can be difficult to trace your family in the 19th century. Griffith’s Valuation bridges that gap — it includes details of more than a million landowners, revealing exactly where your ancestors were living.
A similar, earlier example is Tithe Applotment Books, 1823-1837.
This is a fantastic pre-famine census substitute, and again gives details of where each person was living.
You can use both these records and Griffith’s Valuation alongside the civil births, marriages and deaths to work your way back through the generations of your family.
We have many more collections to explore, from occupation to military records. All of these are available to Premium and Worldwide members. Upgrade your membership now
We’d all love to dedicate hours every day to our family history discoveries. Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way! That’s why this month we’re giving you the chance to try 15 of our most popular record collections from all over the world, with just a spare 15 minutes each day.
Every day until October 15th, we’re providing hints and tips on a different collection. These handy articles — which you can find on our blog — give you a taste of what you can find in the records, and suggest some quick tricks you can try in a quarter of an hour.
At the same time, we’re making these entire collections completely free. So, everybody can try out the skills they’ve learnt, and discover their ancestors’ stories — regardless of which of our memberships they’re using.
’15 minutes with 15 collections’ kicked off on October 1st. We’ve already taken time with the US Social Security Death Index , Ireland’s Griffith’s Valuation , electoral rolls from Australia and several other valuable collections.
Don’t worry though, you can still catch up with everything you’ve missed. We’ll leave the tutorials on our blog indefinitely — so you can try our tips at any time — and all the previous record collections will remain completely free until October 15th.
Looking ahead, we’ll be introducing you to many more important and useful collections over the next few days. Here’s a complete rundown of what you can expect each day:
October 1st – US Social Security Death Index
October 2nd – Ireland, Griffith’s Valuation, 1848-1864
October 3rd – California Marriage Index, 1960-1985
October 4th – Bavaria, Germany, WWI Personnel Rosters, 1914-1918
October 5th – 1920 US Federal Census
October 6th – Australian Electoral Rolls, 1903-1954
October 7th – Texas Birth Index, 1903-1997
October 8th – Sweden, Births from the Swedish Death Index, 1947-2006
October 9th – US WW I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918
October 10th – England & Wales, Birth Index, 1916-2005
October 11th – Historical Newspapers, Birth, Marriage & Death Announcements, 1851-2003
October 12th – Quebec Vital and Church Records, 1621-1967
October 13th – 1930 US Federal Census
October 14th – 1901 England Census
October 15th – US Obituary Collection
Keep checking our blog to make sure you don’t miss a thing. Visit the blog now
Whether you've been discovering your family history for five minutes or 50 years, there are always areas where you'd like a bit of help. That's why our Member Services team is on-hand seven days a week to answer your calls and emails.
We caught up with Daniel Bunker, one of our expert researchers, to learn more about what his team does, and how they can help you find your ancestors.
Daniel, exactly who are our Member Services team?
We're a group of talented, dedicated, professional individuals, who work hard to help our members over any hurdles they may encounter in their Ancestry experience.
What can you do for our members?
We fill in the gaps that come up for members when they’re doing their family history. We can help them when they're unfamiliar with technology, when they're not sure which subscription is right for them, or when they're not sure what the next step is in their research. We're also there if they've made a mistake that they need help fixing, or even if they're just frustrated and need someone to talk to, to give them that little push in the right direction.
What are the most common problems you deal with?
We often hear from people who are unfamiliar with the internet and help with the problems that come because of that. For example, someone might accidentally cancel their account, or they may not know how to get to the records that they want.
Can you remember a favourite question?
I once helped someone who had received an email from another member in Australia. The Australian was searching for his ancestors in the UK. My caller recognized one of the surnames that he was searching for and mentioned that it was a part of his heritage as well. This created a curiosity that we couldn't put aside, and through a little digging we concluded that these two members from opposite sides of the world had mutual ancestors that came from Devon! They decided to share trees, and now the first member has a cousin in Australia that no one knew about.
Do you have one great tip to help our members?
Read everything! In our internet culture it becomes very easy to skim through paragraphs of information without fully reading it on the website. Our site is so full of valuable information, it's very helpful to stop and read every detail that's available. You can learn so much from the description of the database you're searching just by scrolling below the search fields.
You can call our Member Services team on 0800 404 9723, Monday to Friday, 9am-10pm, or Saturday and Sunday 9am-8pm. Or, send them an email at email@example.com. They're waiting to help!
Welcome to our Ask the experts section. This is where we answer your questions on all things genealogical, so if you have any pressing queries, send us your questions now*.
If your question doesn't appear here, you can email our Member Services team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0800 404 9723, and they'll help you with your research.
This month’s questions are answered by our resident family historian Russell James and professional genealogist Doreen Hopwood.
Russell James is a family historian working for Ancestry.co.uk. Before joining us, he was Editor of Your Family Tree magazine. He’s now responsible for writing and editing your newsletter and different parts of the site.
Doreen Hopwood is a professional genealogist for the City of Birmingham. She regularly talks at family history events around the country and lectures in social history at Birmingham University.
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