Smyth Family c1924

Before you begin searching for your ancestors in Ireland, be sure to exhaust ALL avenues of research in their adopted country of residence i.e. US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK etc.  Sometimes people were just given the name of an ancestor who left Ireland in the 1850s and they arrive in Ireland hoping to find their origins or where they were born, without tracing directly back to them from their own parents.  It is important to trace back each generation of the family, whether it was on the paternal or maternal side of the family who originated in Ireland.  Follow the paper trail, each birth/marriage or death record will confirm the correct family link and you know you are on the right trail!  For the US, the most recent census return is 1940, so you should be able to find your ancestors recorded on it, and then go back to the ancestor who was born in Ireland, following the census returns.  Also, look for a death record, marriage record for them, as this may give their parents’ names and where in Ireland they were born.  Newspapers are also very informative especially obituaries.  Check the local library in the town they lived in for any history books written about the area that might mention its inhabitants, including your ancestors perhaps? Check military records, or naturalization papers for them.  All of these sources could provide vital information on your Irish ancestor, which will lead you to a county and parish in Ireland, and most importantly their parents’ names.  If they settled in New York, check out the New York Emigrant Savings Bank (1850-1883) where there is a wealth of information on Irish people who opened a bank account there, particularly in the Test Books.  Sadly for us in Ireland and UK, we only have the 1901 and 1911 census returns to refer to, but other countries may have other genealogical sources that could be checked out first before beginning your search in Ireland, as our parish records are not complete and in some cases do not record the parents’ names, particularly on some marriage records.  Also, some records contain gaps or illegible pages.  If you need any further help finding your ancestors please contact us at or at and we will be happy to bring you on your journey of discovery!  Happy ancestor hunting!  Anne-Marie