5 books to uncover your ancestryWikimedia

Discovering your Irish ancestors has been made more accessible and affordable than ever in recent years, with the availability of millions of Irish records online. If however, you’re more of a traditionalist who still likes to consult a book, we’ve put together a list 5 titles that will have you uncovering your Irish roots in no time.

1. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, by John Grenham

Now in its 4th edition, John Grenham’s book is an essential guide for deciding what Irish records to look at, where they are and what they mean. He highlights both offline and online sources worth consulting and includes county-by-county reference lists, ideal if you know the area in Ireland you want to focus on.

2. Surnames of Ireland, by Edward MacLysaght

If you’ve ever wondered about the origin of your Irish surname then this is the book for you. It lists more than 4,000 Gaelic, Norman and Anglo-Irish surnames, revealing their origins and the areas of the country most commonly associated with the name. The clues in here could prove vital for your Irish genealogical research.

3. Tracing your [County] Ancestors series, by various authors

Published by Flyleaf Press, Ireland’s specialist family history publishers, these handy how-to guides provide all the detail you need about your family’s Irish county of origin. There are currently titles available for researchers exploring their roots in Dublin, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Kildare, Sligo, Westmeath, Donegal, Kerry, Mayo, Roscommon and Clare.

4. A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland, by Brian Mitchell

County Derry genealogist Brian Mitchell’s book addresses the somewhat confusing issue of Irish placenames, parishes, townlands, baronies and registration districts that researchers often encounter. It contains detailed maps and is essential for narrowing down the possible locations in Ireland your ancestors came from, allowing you to focus your research. Mitchell has also published guides on Irish parish registers, churches and graveyards.

5. Tracing Your Irish Family History on the Internet, by Chris Paton

As mentioned, bringing your search for your Irish roots online can save you time and money. Chris Paton examines the different sources available on the internet including the largest collection of Irish records available online at Findmypast. How to get most out of the records is explained through fascinating case studies and the author also explores how social media can be useful for your Irish family history research.

Any of these titles, or a combination of them, can prove to be a great starting point for discovering your Irish ancestors. Once you’ve read up on the best course of action to take and what records to look for, delve into over 90 million Irish records on Findmypast and see what you can unearth.

For more stories on tracing your Irish heritage from Findmypast click here.