“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

Have you ever wondered whether you have living relatives somewhere in the world – and you just haven’t met them yet? Well why not let Into The Past Genealogy Services help you find them?

Tracing your ancestors can be a difficult and sometimes frustrating journey, but always rewarding!  Genealogy can also be fun, and can open up a whole new world of discovery for you.   We can help you along on your journey, either by conducting the research ourselves or guiding you on how to start.

Talking to elder people

Your first starting point should be with the older members of your family – parents, aunts/uncles or grandparents.  They have invaluable knowledge and unless you start asking the questions this information may be lost forever.

Look for family documents and photographs – there is always a “memorabilia keeper” in most families, most likely these mementos are kept locked away in the attic or the loft.   Perhaps it’s time to dust them off and reunite some of these ancestors back into the family tree where they belong?

old vintage suitcase

Once you have established the names of your grandparents – maternal and paternal – then let the journey begin.

The following are the most important records that you need to look up and will provide a lot of information once you have ascertained where your family originated from.  It is now time to follow the “paper trail” generation by generation.

Civil registration commenced in Ireland in 1864 and all births/marriages and deaths had to be registered.  Once you have checked the index records online for your ancestor’s birth/marriage or death, then these records can be obtained at the General Register Office, Werburgh Street, Dublin 8.

certificate banner

Prior to 1864 , when civil registration began in Ireland, we have to rely on the parish records.   A lot of the parish books have been transcribed online but it is always worth looking at the actual records on microfilm, as some errors can be made in trying to decipher the writing contained in these parish records.   Some parish records have not survived, and others only commence in the early 19th century.   They also contain gaps and missing or damaged pages.  They can be viewed on microfilm at the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2.

parish entry book

The Census Returns are an invaluable source of information, although there are some errors on them regarding age, place of birth and name spelling variants.   The only full census returns that have survived are the 1901 and 1911 census for all of Ireland.   There are fragments of the 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851 census returns, unfortunately all other census returns were destroyed.  These can be viewed at the National Archives of Ireland, Bishop Street, Dublin 8, or online.

census Ireland

Other very useful sources in relation to land records are the Tithes Applotment Books, Griffiths Valuation, Cancelled Revision  Books, Registry of Deeds and of course Wills.

By looking at the Cancelled Revision Books at the Valuation Office in Dublin, you can trace the occupancy of your ancestor’s property from around the mid 1850s to the mid 1970s.

Other sources are Newspapers, Military records, RIC records and of course for those researching their ancestors who emigrated – the passenger lists are invaluable.

Street directories can also be consulted, but if your ancestor was living in the tenements then they will not be listed.  However, if they were merchants or nobility/landed gentry, then you should find an entry for them.

Tenement Room

Electoral Rolls are also useful – and for the Dublin area these can be sourced at Dublin City Library and Archives, Reading Room, Pearse Street, Dublin.

Burial records can also be searched – Glasnevin Cemetery has a very comprehensive database online for a search fee.   Deansgrange and Mount Jerome burial records can be searched for free on microfilm at Dublin City Library and Archives, Pearse Street, Dublin.

Of course there are many online genealogy websites available – both free and fee paying, but you will not find all your information online, it is necessary to actually visit the relevant repositories and view the original documents in order to follow that all important paper trail, if possible.

old lettersAt the end of your journey, you will have discovered who you are!   Along the way you will have met so many ancestors that you never knew you had, and all with a story of their own to tell.   A very rewarding journey and Into The Past Genealogy Services would love to be part of it!



Read our blog with free tips on Beginning your Family Tree Research here


“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”

St. Francis of Assisi