When searching free ancestry records it is quite possible to find an Irish connection to our past. The Irish are famous for their mass immigration across the seas, and have helped to establish communities in many countries over the years. If you suspect that you may have an Irish ancestor or two, the free ancestry research records we’re about to reveal can help you to find them. We’ll discuss the types of documents you’re likely to find, what’s contained in them, and the best websites to search for Irish ancestors utilizing free ancestry research records.
A massive migration of the Irish to foreign shores was fuelled by the onset of the Great Potato famine around 1845. Starving Irish families, poor, destitute and unable to pay their rents, were forced to flee the Emerald Isle by the millions. Much information about these Irish immigrants can now be found in free ancestry research records hosted on the internet at various websites. Some Irish had left even earlier, and between 1820 and 1860, it is estimated that nearly 3.5 million Irish entered the United States of America alone. Tracking down the free ancestry research records containing the information on them can be an immense asset to the family historian.Try Ancestry.com and get 14 Days FREE!
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A good place to start perusing free ancestry research records regarding Irish immigration is the Irish Passenger Lists Research Guide. The guide is divided in two sections, immigration records pre 1820, and Ship Passenger Lists from 1820-1850. Although before 1820 it was not a requirement for ships to maintain passenger lists, there are other free ancestry research records relating to immigration that can be useful in determining when a person arrived in America. These include:
There are two extremely old passenger lists accessible at Genealogy Branches, and they contain records of passengers who left Ireland on the Antelope, which sailed from Belfast in 1682, and the Welcome, which left England in the same year. Although the actual passenger lists have not survived, painstaking research has been undertaken to compile a list of travelers through other historical sources. If your ancestors came from the North of Ireland, these free ancestry research records may be of some help.
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After 1820, record keeping became more systemized, and the passenger lists from this area are more detailed and plentiful. These free ancestry research records contain listings of passengers who traveled to five major US ports; New York, Boston, Baltimore, Philadelphia and New Orleans. The Ellis Island online database is the best place to look for New York arrivals, while information on the other ports can be found on the Genealogy Branches website.
The National Archives of Ireland have made the 1901 and 1911 Census Reports available online, and a free ancestry search can be done on them. These reports contain information on the residents of Ireland in that year such as; names of the households occupants, their age and sex, their relationship to the household’s head, marital status, county or country of birth, religion, and occupation.
There are also free ancestry research records available such as Shipping and Institutional forms which reveal information regarding the occupants of military barracks, infirmaries and hospitals, orphanages and workhouses. Though quite often the names are entered only by initials, i.e. Patrick Connor would be P.C., the accompanying data such as age and occupation etc. may help to find the ancestors you’re looking for.
These are just a few of the free ancestry research records you can use to find Irish ancestors. When searching ancestors, don’t forget the offline free ancestry research records available in Public Libraries, Bookstores and Family History Centers and Genealogical Societies. All of them offer free ancestry research records that can go a long way towards helping you locate those elusive Irish ancestors.
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