Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Book Report: A Helpful & Fun Book!

Finding Your Irish Ancestors; A Beginner’s Guide
By David S Ouimette
Ancestry Publishing, 2005

I discovered this book in searching the online database for my local libraries, the Upper Hudson LibrarySystem. When I had the book in my hands I started flipping through the pages immediately. It is not just a dry listing of resources. Rather it is a fun read with charts, photographs and maps that pull your eye to the page and information that keeps you on the page. This year when my children asked for Christmas gift suggestions, this book went on my list and I was delighted to unwrap it on Christmas Day! Thanks, Alanna & Dave!
Information is included on vital records, gravestones, newspapers, school registers, land records and more. I also like some of the ‘little’ information included: the most popular male & female names in 19th century Ireland; Gaelic words commonly used in Irish place names; Irish emigration statistics; and Latin words commonly found in Catholic parish registers.
David Ouiette writes about visiting Ireland. He writes, “You may choose to order a search at the Irish Heritage Center In your ancestor’s county; do this before you go to Ireland, so you can review the results well before your trip.” I wrote to County Cavan well before my trip to Ireland and picked up the results of the search while I was there. I was able to talk face to face with the person who did the search. It was wonderful. But as Mr. Ouimette suggests, it must be done in advance as these searches may take weeks. This is just one of many helpful tips in his book.
However, this book is not just for beginners. I think Irish researchers of all levels will enjoy this book!

Getting Started: Basic Principles; Time Line of Irish History; Surnames and Given Names; Place Names and Land Divisions; The Irish Overseas

Major Records: Birth, Marriage and Death Certificates; Church Records; Census and Census Substitutes; Land and Property Records

Other Records: Gravestone Inscriptions; Newspapers; Commercial and Social Directories; Wills and Administrations; National School Registers; Occupational Records

Where to Research: Internet Sites; The Family History Library; Irish Heritage Centers; Archives and Libraries; Visiting Ireland


  1. Thanks for this great suggestion. I am just starting to chip away at the brick wall of my Irish Ancestry. This might help give me some pointers.

    1. Wakela, I hope this book is a help to your research. Break through that wall!

  2. Thanks for the suggestion.

    My Irish brick wall is being able to nail down where in Ireland my ancestor Patrick Fraher came from. We know it was County Waterford. We haven't been able to get more specific than the county. I think I need to find a US record which narrows down where in County Waterford they came from.

    Regards, Jim
    Hidden Genealogy Nuggets

    1. Jim, have you tried contacting Waterford Heritage Services; St Patricks Church; Jenkins Lane; Waterford; mnoc@iol.ie? They may have suggestions. Perhaps there is a townland where your surname was clustered. I find the County Centers of the Irish History FOundation to be very helpful. I used both Cavan & Tipperary counties with great results.

  3. I envy that you know so much about your family IN Ireland. My great-grandmother came from Ireland, but I can't even place her arrival in the US in order to go back from there. She lived in New York in the Bronx, but she could have entered from anywhere. I really need to concentrate on figuring out where and with whom.

    1. Wendy, it can be very frustrating when you know so little. I'm sure you know that you have to make a list of what you know, what you want to know and a list of resources that might possibly answer your questions. Easier said than done! {My mom was born & grew up in the Bronx. One more Irish family in the big city.]

  4. Colleen, thanks for this post. I've nominated you for the Liebster blog award! There is more information here: http://kathrynsquest.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-liebster-award.html Participation is optional and just for fun!


Thanks for stopping by my blog & for leaving a comment. It is always good to hear from visitors, cousins & fellow bloggers. Note that I do not publish anonymous comments.