Fly to Ireland and trace your ancestry for free? Okay, you’d have to pay for the plane ticket, food, transportation and accommodation, but why not combine your genealogical research with a holiday in the Emerald Isle? If you have Irish ancestors, it is well worth considering taking a trip to Ireland and spending some time searching their major genealogical repositories.
Ireland is a genealogical hub, and a vacation in Dublin immediately gives you access to at least five major institutions; The National Library of Ireland, The National Archives of Ireland, The General Register Office, The Valuation Office, and The Registry of Deeds. If your family were from the North, heading to Belfast will afford you equal opportunity. Yes, you have to pay to get and stay there, but if you are going to take a holiday anyway, you can discount those travel costs and really search your ancestry for free in Ireland!
The capitol city of Ireland is Dublin, a charming city full of character and historical worth. But it is also home to a wealth of Irish heritage, and more importantly, genealogical data. Let’s take a look at some of the major genealogical centres in Dublin where you can search your ancestry for free, and what they contain.Try Ancestry.com and get 14 Days FREE!
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Upon entering the National Library of Ireland, located on Kildare Street of the great city, you are immediately transported back into time. The vast, quiet halls remind you of Harry Potter’s school’s library - Hogwarts, and the amount of free ancestry records you can browse there is incredible. The library offers a free genealogy service, and always has a resident genealogist on call to assist you with your ancestors search. Their catalogue is immense, and you’ll definitely need assistance, so don’t be shy - ask the genealogist for their help, and prepare to spend the entire day searching your ancestry for free.
The National Archives of Ireland is located in the glamorous St. Stephens Green of Dublin’s fair city. It’s only a short stroll from the National Library, so you could conceivably visit both sites in the same day. Perhaps visit the Library in the morning, take in a quick lunch at the Shelbourne Hotel, and then off to the Archives for the afternoon. If you’re going to search your ancestry for free, you might as well "do it well" as the Irish like to say.
The National Archives contain Census Reports as well as the famous Griffith’s Valuation, and they also have a genealogist on site to help you to find ancestors.
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You’ll find that Dublin is a compact city; it’s very walkable, and a pleasure to do so. The Valuation Office is located in the Irish Life Centre on Abbey Street, a twenty minute walk from the National Archives, and her you’ll find s maps along with current and canceled land books that have been created using Griffith's Primary Valuation. These records are of immense value when tracing your ancestry for free, as they can be connected to a specific property.
Henrietta Street is a lovely cobbled street reflecting Dublin’s rich history, and it is here that you’ll find the Registry of Deeds. The deeds kept here can offer a wealth of information to family historians as they contain records of wills, property transactions and also marriage settlements. These obscure records can prove very valuable to those who wish to find ancestors of Irish origin.
You’ll have to travel outside of Dublin to continue your ancestor search her, but it’s a great excuse to visit Galway! The General register Office holds all of the civil records – birth, death and marriage certificates – for Ireland from 1864 to 1921. There is an in house research facility available for anyone who would like to search their ancestry for free, and copies of the certificates are available.
As I mentioned, Ireland is a hub of genealogy; the Irish are famous for their immigration. Many of us are connected to the Emerald Isle through our ancestors, and where better place to start looking for their free ancestry records than in their homeland. If you get the chance to visit Ireland, you may have to force yourself to focus on your ancestors search, as there are many distractions – like Guinness – that you’ll have to avoid. But if you want to search your Irish ancestry for free, a trip to Dublin is well worth the price!
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