Trace Your Family Tree

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First steps in genealogy

Step 1

Where do you start?
Start at home with your own family. Check the correct names, dates of birth, marriage and death of your parents and grandparents, and make out a record card for each one. List also the brothers and sisters of each parent or grandparent, as far as you can. This information can be obtained by asking your family members - parents, aunt, uncles, grandparents etc. Your record of these two generations should also include information on places - where they were born, lived, married, worked, died and were buried.

Step 2

Go to your local Public Library.
Check on the origin of your family’s surnames and read some of the recommended basic guides to tracing family history prior to visiting major reference libraries or archival repositories. Check the library catalogue for relevant material in Dublin City Public Libraries.

Step 3

Verify the information in Step 1 from official sources and family records.
Check details on headstones in graveyards, particularly for dates of birth and deaths, but also for any other relevant information. Go to the Dublin City Library and Archive to check civil registration indexes. Go to the General Register Office with the verified details of names, places and dates and get copies of any birth, marriage or death certificates.

Step 4

Check all information obtained so far.
Look especially for details about members of the family not listed in your initial list of parents and grandparents and their generations.
List great-grandparents and other relatives as revealed in these documents, noting especially any information on dates and places. This might also be a good time to make use of the many websites that deal with genealogy.

Step 5

Check Dublin Street Directories and Griffith's Valuation in the Dublin City Library and Archive. The Census Records for 1901 and 1911 in Dublin and the Tithe Applotment Books can also be consulted here. For countrywide records visit The National Archives to verify facts about places and dates discovered so far. If you are outside Dublin, contact your local public library for relevant directories and other information.
Make copies of relevant documents or copy down the information as it relates to each person in each place.

Step 6

Having obtained records from the General Register Office check parish registers, which record baptisms, marriages and funerals. Roman Catholic Parish registers can be consulted on microfilm in the National Library of Ireland.

Step 7

Check other sources.
Check with the Registry of Deeds for wills, property transfers, marriage licences etc.
Check newspapers for announcements of births, marriages and deaths, funerals or obituaries.
Check school, military and professional records.

Step 8

Remember that your ancestors may have been born, married or may have died outside of Ireland. Seek the advice of your local librarian if you don't know where to go to next.