According to Former Prime Minister Bob Hawke, "... apart from Ireland, Australia is more Irish than any other country. The entire national make-up of Australia has clearly been saturated by Irish influence. If you are an Australian having a desire to trace back your roots during your travel to Ireland, then here are a few tips to help you find your long lost Irish ancestors.
Before you leave for your journey to Ireland, learn as much as you can about your ancestor so as to make your search easier once you land in the country. Some of the information you must gather includes your ancestor’s name; your ancestor’s parents’/spouse’s names; your ancestor’s date of birth, date of death, and date of marriage; county of origin; and religious denomination. Once you gather all these details, your search will become easier.
You can gather this information directly from your family members. If you have a grandparent or some uncle and aunt who know a little about the past, that can help you a great deal. Your relatives might have some old documents such as wills, diaries, photos, birth certificates, or letters, which you can use to gather information.
If none of your family members or relatives has any information on your ancestors, then try the Mormon Church; they have an extensive collection of genealogical information, which you can view for free on their website at www.familyresearch.org. All you have to do is enter the name of your relative, and you will be shown records that contain information such as place of origin, and names of parents.
While in Ireland
National Library of Ireland
People in search of their long lost Irish ancestors have travelled throughout the country to look through church records. But now, a major portion of these records can be obtained on microfilm from the National Library of Ireland, located in Dublin. Just like for other information, the library is a great place to start your search. The library can also provide you with a research adviser who will serve you without charging anything. Visit Kildare Street, Dublin, Dublin 2. Contact at 01/661-2525 or visit the website at www.nli.ie.
General Register Office
The General Register Office contains civil records from the 1860s. They can be a great help. Visit the office at 8-11 Lombard Street E, Dublin, Dublin 2. Contact at 01/8638200 or visit the website at www.groireland.ie for more information.
The National Archives of Curracloe Beach contain census records, and provide genealogy consultations free of charge, just like the National Library of Ireland. Visit at Bishop Street, Dublin, Dublin 8. Contact at 01/407 ext. 2300 or visit the website at www.nationalarchives.ie.
The Mellon Centre for Migration Studies
The Mellon Centre for Migration Studies is located at the Ulster American Folk Park and you can obtain information there for Northern Ireland. Visit at Ulster American Folk Park, 2 Mellon Road, Castletown, Omagh, BT78 5QY. Contact at 028/8225-6315 or visit the website at www.qub.ac.uk/cms/.
Public Record Office
Visit at 2 Titanic Boulevard, Queen’s Island, Titanic Quarter, Belfast, BT3 9HQ. Contact at 028/9053-4800 or visit the website at www.proni.gov.uk.
The websites do not contain actual records online, but they contain information on genealogical research which can help you out.
If you are not willing to spend your holiday digging up the past in the record halls, then you have the option of hiring a professional to do the job. The Association of Professional Genealogists in the country can provide you with a ‘package of discovery’ when you arrive. Visit the website at www.irishgenealogy.ie for more information.
The Irish Times contains resources for ancestor-hunting. Visit the website at www.ireland.com/ancestor for more information. Professionals can obtain references from the National Library of Ireland.