THE FEDERATION

Federation Of Family History Societies

Launch of findmypast.ie

Most Comprehensive Irish Family History Records Go Online

  • New Irish family history website launches today (5 May 2011)
  • Online access to over 4 million Irish records dating from 1400 to 1920s at launch
  • Landed Estates Court Records available online for first time

80 million people worldwide claim to have Irish ancestry - this is more than 13 times the current population of Ireland. Up until now, these 80 million people have had limited resources to research their ancestry, but now thanks to the launch of Irish family history website www.findmypast.ie many will be able to make that connection with their past. 

Findmypast.ie launches today and hosts records covering the whole of Ireland going back to 1400 right up until the 1920s. For the first time, people researching their family history can search the Landed Estates Court Records, which are exclusive to findmypast.ie, the complete Griffith's Valuation of Ireland and the Directories collection. The site will carry the most detailed and thorough collection of Irish records ever seen in one place - providing a fascinating insight into Ireland's history and making Irish family research easier and more accessible than ever before.

Over half of those with Irish ancestry (41 million) are Americans, while up to 10 million Irish people immigrated to Britain after 1700. It's estimated that in 1890 two in every five Irish-born people were living overseas due to emigration. As a result, the global demand for Irish records is huge. These new online records are a key resource for the descendants of the millions of people who left Ireland over the centuries.

From today, people can easily navigate and search over 4,000,000 records made available on www.findmypast.ie and discover their past no matter where they are in the world. For the first time the public will be able to search high quality images of these records to find details of their ancestors' lives and in some cases maps of the land their ancestors inhabited on the Emerald Isle. The records include:

Land & Estate records

Findmypast.ie uniquely includes the Landed Estates Court records. These records, compiled from 1850-1885, give copious details about over 500,000 tenants residing on estates all over Ireland, with tenancies dating from the late 18th century, plus maps and drawings of locations.

Griffith's Valuation of Ireland

A number of useful nineteenth century census substitutes are available to search on findmypast.ie.  Perhaps the most important is Griffith's Valuation (1847-1864), which lists approximately 80% of householders in Ireland and includes the names of over 1,400,000 individuals. 

Directories

Directories started to be used in the late eighteenth century and became more prevalent as economic and trade activity increased.  The findmypast.ie directories collection contains over 2 million names. 

The directories themselves may be divided into three main categories:

National Directories

One of the earliest national directories is Ambrose Leet's Directory to the market towns, villages and gentlemen's seats and other noted places in Ireland (1814) - however it is directories published by Pigot, Slater and Thom that are the most comprehensive national directories. Generally organised by province, these list the principal office holders, gentry, professionals, tradesmen, hotels, schools, public institutions, churches, and even pubs for each town in Ireland.

Provincial Directories

These focus on specific areas of Ireland - many are organised by province (Connaught, Leinster, Munster and Ulster) while others relate to geographical areas of the country such as the south-east, or groups of counties. Not surprisingly, the greatest number of provincial directories related to Dublin. These include the Treble Almanack & Dublin Directory, Pettigrew and Oulton, the Post Office Directory and, perhaps the most well-known Dublin Directory, Thom's Irish Almanac and Official Directory of Ireland.

Local Directories (County or City)

County directories tend to provide more details on smaller villages and towns in Ireland, though very few exist for the west of Ireland.  Information includes a detailed introduction to each town and village with details of office-holders, professionals, merchants and tradesmen, as well as a full alphabetical directory of farmers and other residents not listed by trade. 

Cliona Weldon, General Manager at findmypast.ie, said: "Our new site offers a crucial entry point to family history researchers trying to locate Irish ancestors, from novice family historians to seasoned genealogists who have hit a 'wall' in their research. People often assume that most of the Irish records were destroyed in the Four Courts Fire which occurred in 1922 during the Irish Civil War.  While it was tragic that most Irish wills and some census returns and parish records were lost, there are still many sources available to anyone tracing their Irish roots and through findmypast.ie we will provide access to the fantastic records that survive.

"As well as helping people trace their ancestors, these records shed more light on our ancestors' day-to-day lifestyles,  providing a snapshot of a day in their lives, with details of their occupations, housing arrangements and social status."

This comprehensive new site has been developed by UK-based family history website findmypast.co.uk, owned by brightsolid, in partnership with the Irish records experts at Eneclann.

Brian Donovan of Eneclann, commented: "This is a major achievement. By teaming up with findmypast.co.uk and brightsolid, we are bringing Irish history to life for millions. These remarkable records are available online to researchers and family historians all over the world for future generations.  We are committed to publishing family history records, which provide more than simply names and dates, instead describing what your ancestors did and how they lived."

 

16 May 2011

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Page updated by the webmaster on 16 May 2011

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