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Scotch-Irish and Ulster Scots Family Research

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Irish Research

First of all, Irish research is HARD. Secondly it is easier to begin it when NOT in Ireland. LDS has many, many Irish records -- and it's hours are far better than the various places you'd have to visit in Ireland to view these records. It's also cheaper to access these records in the USA.

Many times we are told that it is not possible to trace Irish before 1820. This is not necessarily true for Protestants. This is because Protestants were often not tenant farmers. They were the upper and middle classes, in many cases, so they may have left records that poor tenants did not. They will appear in muster rolls in the 1600's, and they were more likely to have signed leases and so to appear in the records of their landlords.

You cannot begin research in Ireland until you know at least the county of origin. There are exceptions -- rare surnames are one. You then do a preliminary study of all indexed, easy to access sources. These are identified in Ryan Irish Records.

Then you research the landlord and the estate in the hopes of locating estate records that will have information. Or town records if the ancestor was in a town. You may also search military and apprenticeship records.

You also search the major indexes of the manuscript collections in Dublin and PRONI. You search NIDS, Hayes, and Smiths Inventories. You research not just your ancestor but his associates, the townland, and the community.

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© 2008 Linda Merle. Do not duplicate without the written consent of the author.