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Dating as far back as 1565, County Roscommon’s literal meaning is St. Coman’s Wood – a nod to the saint particularly associated with the county’s history. Roscommon ancestors? Here’s some facts you may not have known:

1. The Great Irish Famine was particularly harsh to County Roscommon – one third of its population was lost during The Famine and it is still relatively sparsely populated today.

2. In the 19th century, your Roscommon ancestors would have most likely have lived on small subsistence farms or worked in coal mining around the town of Arigna.

3. You’ll need to know the civil registration districts in Roscommon when you’re looking for your family’s birth, marriage and death records. There are 9 that lie within the county boundaries – Athlone, Ballinasloe, Boyle, Carrick on Shannon, Castlereagh, Glenamaddy, Roscommon, Strokestown and Swineford.

4. Early records for Roscommon can be difficult to come by. One exception is the 1749 Census of Elphin on Findmypast, which lists nearly 20,000 inhabitants in the west of Ireland.

5. Local Roscommon newspapers are another great source for tracing your family history. You’ll find a fascinating range on Findmypast including The Roscommon Messenger and The Roscommon Journal.

In fact, you’ll find over 2.3 million Roscommon records on Findmypast, as well as the largest collection of Irish family history records online, so there’s no better time to start building your family tree.

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