Visiting Ireland is a wonderful experience whether you're researching or just taking in the beautiful country. For those considering a research trip, it's important to do your homework. I've mentioned my first trip to Ireland a number of times in various blogs, and although I can't say I accomplished a great deal of research, it was a wonderful experience. It made me want to return (more prepared) to continue. I returned from that trip with photographs of my daughter standing next to signs of where we thought we had ancestors! In my situation, all four of my husband's grandparents and two of mine were late 19th or early 20th century immigrants, so I was able to visit the General Register Office to obtain birth, death and marriage certificates. I had, at least, county names of where everyone had come from (although some of the specifics on the localities turned out to wrong).
If you know generally where your ancestors lived, check out the Irish phone directory and write to people in the area with the same surname. You're likely to get a response, even if they aren't related, and an invitation to contact them if you get to the area. Also write to the local historical and genealogical societies, as well as to the county libraries. John Grenham's book Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, provides lots of resources by county. Also check out the books published by Flyleaf Press (Tracing Your ______ Ancestors) to see if they have published a book on your county.
Researching with a group on your first trip can be a great way to become familiar with the resources. If Ireland is on your bucket list, check out the Dublin Research Trip scheduled for this October.
I came across a new digital magazine this weekend called Going In-Depth. It's free and the first issue has an interesting article written by Dr. James Ryan on Petty Session Court Records (currently available at FindMyPast.ie.) This magazine has lots of other articles so check it out.
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