Looking up family

June 11, 2008

Question:

My ancestors came from county cork. how do I go about finding a family cemetery or living relatives?

one Answer

  • DoChara says:

    I don’t know if you already saw it, but I have a whole section about how to go about tracing your roots in Ireland. There is a lot there about how to get going and about the various records you can consult.

    It can be a very complicated thing, or fairly simple. To be honest an awful lot depends on who your ancestors were – if they were called say McCarthy or Lynch, then it’s going to be hard since there are hundreds of different families with those names in Cork, whereas if they had a more unusual surname it wlll be much easier.

    On finding living relatives: With an unusual surname, you could just look up the Irish phone book, which is extremely easy to search and gives you full addresses so you could write to people before you go to enquire whether they are related. This is pointless with the more common surnames.

    Anyone setting out on this sort of fishing expedition should be aware though that not many Irish people know about ancestors who emigrated prior to, say, as far back as their grandparents time, so realistically we’re talking prior to the 20th century. There just isn’t as much interest in tracing their roots among the descendants of those who didn’t emigrate as there is among the descendants of those who did.

    On finding graves: There is a wonderful site with a searchable list of gravestone inscriptions from more than 800 Irish cemeteries, and it would certainly be worth searching there.

    Good luck with your searching!

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