The transformation of family history research

A number of new information services that have came online in recent years have transformed the ease and ability to do family history research almost beyond recognition.

First of these was the arrival of the Irish censuses of 1901 and 1911 which make location of your family in those years a whole lot easier. As always, the more information that you have the better but even having just the name of the father and mother will let you identify your family from that time rather than a family that just happened to have a father with the same name as your grandfather. If you don’t already have a location for their house at that time, this will get you one along with the ages of them and all their children, plus the occupations of those working.

More recently, the General Records Office in Northern Ireland have allowed searches of records older than 75 years and that can get you well back with your family tree in very short order. With this you can search for births, marriages and deaths and get a copy of the certificates for £2 (searches are free and may be enough for you initially). Marriages are the best place to start as with just the name of the couple you can pick up the name of the father of each of them, their age and, of course, where the marriage took place. This in turn may belp you go back a generation using the name of the groom and his father along with his age (all on the marriage certificate). In principle, that can let you go back to an earlier marriage certificate and thereby another generation though you quickly hit the 1864 limit on registrations from where it’s off to the Public Records Office and their church records.

Sooner or later, you drop off the end of the online records as the church records have not, yet, been put online (due in part to objections from the churches) but they are available on microfiche in the Public Records Office and that should let you go back another generation relatively easily (to go back more with ease depends on how mobile your ancestors were).

Which is not to forget the previous mainstay of family history research (i.e. the Mormon site) but the above are more dependable.

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