Ireland: A Genealogical Guide for North Americans
by Kyle J. Betit and Dwight H. Radford
Salt Lake City, UT. The Irish at Home and Abroad, 1997
Reviewed by Doris V. Cummins
The editors of the excellent quarterly journal, "The Irish at Home and Abroad" now provide a most useful updated guide for family researchers who are ready to make the transition to tracing Irish ancestors in Ireland after completing research on their families in North America. Determining immigrant origins in Ireland is not the focus, since research strategies for that purpose are covered on an ongoing basis in the authors' quarterly publication.
Just what to expect from Irish record sources and how and where to access them are the focus of this guide. It is a well-organized, illustrated, practical approach that, while stating the difficulties of Irish research, still offers encouragement to amateur genealogists for limited success. The authors state that most Catholic lineages can typically be traced only back to the early 1800s. Prospects for Protestant families may be better but depend largely on social status and records survival. In the case of gentry or a landed family, pedigrees may exist tracing the family into antiquity.
A thorough analysis of the administrative divisions in Ireland leads then to a discussion of archives and libraries in North America as well as significant Irish holdings. The authors provide a guide to British Army records, cemetery records, censuses, church records, civil registration, directories, estate records, family genealogies, government sources, inventories, catalogs, newspapers, registers of deeds, taxation records, wills, etc. There is a listing of the Heritage Centers in Ireland that provide information for a fee. Finally, tips are offered on planning a research trip to Ireland.
In all chapters, further references, film numbers and often addresses are suggested.