Tracing Your Irish Roots
Many fields of research boast more than their fair share of myths, and Irish genealogical research is certainly among them. You'll hear a lot of outright misconceptions as you embark on your research: fires in Ireland destroyed all the records, it's too difficult to pinpoint the Irish region where your ancestors lived, you can't really learn anything meaningful about your ancestors until you get to Ireland, etc. Don't believe these myths, and don't get discouraged – there's a lot you can accomplish before you ever leave home, and the journey to ancestral knowledge definitely begins in your own backyard. You may be pleased to discover that with a newly heightened interest in Irish genealogy, online and CD-ROM access to vital records and statistics, and an energized community of genealogical researchers to appeal to for help, tracing your Irish roots may be easier right now than ever before.
If you're going to devote large amounts of time to this task, you may as well do it as intelligently as possible. In this age of computers, a wise strategy is to start digitizing and computer-organizing your information from the very beginning of your search. You can scan documents you find particularly useful or interesting and keep them on your computer, then return the originals to the owner. You can obtain a time-saving software program that will organize all of your tree information for you. Using such a program, you can enter information about each person as you come across it, and generate many different kinds of reports, not to mention printouts of your entire family tree. One of these programs, Family Tree Maker, is particularly well-suited to developing Irish trees. Using Family Tree Maker, you can import some of the Irish records information that is available online and on CD-ROM directly into the program, which could save many hours of time that you would otherwise have to spend entering this data by hand.
Many useful books have been written that cover how to search for your Irish ancestors; these books cover the subject in a couple of hundred pages, and get into a lot more depth than we can go into here. By consulting one of these volumes, you may be able to save considerable time and money in your search. The website AnIrishChristmas.com features listings of recommended Irish genealogy books.