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There are many possible avenues to follow when trying to build your Irish family tree, but, as with everything in life, getting off on the right foot can make all the difference.

Irish family history begins at home. Your starting point for tracing your Irish roots is your family, especially the older members. No research can replace hearing first-hand accounts from the people whose shared history you are trying to trace. There’s a good chance that they will know the names of relatives whom it would otherwise take months to find by research alone, as well as stories and family legends that you won’t find in any record. Discovering whether those tales are accurate is one of the joys of building your family tree.

But what should you be asking them? Try starting by getting answers to this list of questions and before long you’ll have the right foundations to take your research further.


  • Where and when were they born?
  • When did they die? Where were they buried?
  • Were they married? If so, what was their spouse’s name?
  • When did they marry? Where did the marriage occur? Was this the only marriage for both parties?
  • Where did they live?
  • What stories or memories can you tell me about life in Ireland?
  • Did they have children? If so, what were their children’s names?
  • What did they work at?
  • Did they serve in the military?
  • Do you know why and when they left Ireland?
  • Which religious denomination were they?
  • Do you have original written records, including post-cards, letters, property deeds or a will?
  • Do you have any photographs or newspaper clippings of them?
Armed with this basic information on your Irish ancestors, you are ready to start searching online among the millions of records available on the internet. You’ll find the largest and most comprehensive online collection of Irish family history records in the world at

Findmypast is working in partnership with Irish Central to create expert content around Irish family history. With the largest collection of Irish family history records online and a team of expert genealogists, findmypast is the best place to discover your Irish heritage.