IrishGenealogy.ie is a website provided by the Ministry for Tourism, Culture and Sport in Ireland...and it’s free. Finally, the realization that the draw for travel to Ireland is frequently genealogy! The site was launched in 2009 with the Roman Catholic records from County Kerry, previously a black hole for researchers! Although the microfilms for these records had been housed at the National Library for years, it required permission from the Bishop of Kerry to access these records. In June of 2008, the National Library decided to make these records freely available and shortly thereafter, this site was launched.
Today, this site contains transcriptions of over two million church records, both Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland, for Kerry, Cork, Carlow and Dublin City. This is an ongoing project and in 2011 they plan to add an additional million records for Dublin, Cork and Monaghan.
Hopefully you know at least the name of the civil parish where your ancestor lived. Begin by checking one of the reference books (John Grenham’s Tracing Your Irish Ancestorsor James Ryans Irish Records) to see what years are covered by the church records in that area. If the records don’t survive for the timeframe your ancestors lived, they aren’t going to be on the site <g>.
I’d like to say that I always have the name of the townland, but the fact is, I frequently only have the county. With a common name I might have thousands of individuals listed, as families tended to stay in the same area. If you have the maiden name of the bride you might begin by looking for a marriage, but a word of caution...if you find a possible match, look for some other corroborating fact to make sure it’s your family. As you can see from the results page above, you can narrow your search by locality, type of record and timeframe. If you’ve been able to narrow your search to a specific parish, then start looking for baptisms of all children born to the names of the individuals found in the marriage record. If you know the names of your ancestors siblings this might provide the corroborating evidence you need. Sometimes your results page won’t list the name your searching, however if you check the full record transcription you might find the individual listed as a parent or sponsor. Since sponsors were frequently related, it provides you with additional search options. This site does not yet provide any images, however the transcript does provide the reference to the original material.
This site is not comprehensive, however if you have ancestors in the areas covered it’s a good place to check.