Ancestral research, family history, genealogy - resources and information

Getting to your roots

Embark on a wonderful voyage of self-discovery by uncovering your Irish ancestors and visiting the land they left behind.

Ireland may be a small country, but with over 200,000 Scots Irish settlers leaving the North of Ireland during the 18th Century, and mass emigration following the Great Famine of 1845, the Irish have put down roots all over the world. Over 60 million people worldwide now claim Irish ancestry. Quite something, considering the total Irish population of today is just 5.6 million. 

If you’ve always been curious about your Irish ancestors, about why they left Ireland, about what kind of life they lived here, and about whether you have any remaining relations left in Ireland, then there is a wide range of help you find out.

Getting started

You will need to begin your journey of discovery by gathering as much basic information as possible on your ancestor, such as:

1. Name of ancestor who left Ireland
2. Approximate date of birth
3. County and parish of origin in Ireland
4. Religious denomination
5. Names of ancestor's parents
6. Name of ancestor's spouse, date and place of marriage 

Local Genealogical Sources


My Ireland Family Heritage

Visit My Ireland Family Heritage on the Discover Boyne Valley website - Genealogist and Fáilte Ireland-approved National Tour Guide Sean Quinn and the My Ireland Heritage Team will customize your itinerary to take you on a personal tour to experience the wonderful historic sights throughout the Boyne Valley and Ireland. Winner of 2019 Meath Awards for Boyne Valley Best Tourism Experience and Best Overall Tour Business 2019. Ranked 6th worldwide by USA Today for best ancestry tour company. 


Meath Library Service has a local history section in the Navan Library with some holdings relating to genealogy.

These include:

  • Board of Guardians Minute Books
  • Census returns
  • Griffith's Valuation
  • Graveyard records
  • Old Newspapers
  • Schools Collection
  • Tithe Applotment Books
  • Local history texts on people and places
  • Maps

All of the above are available on request at the Navan Library. Please note that users are expected to carry out their own research. Please book in advance, by phoning 046 9021134

Irish Genealogical Sources

In general, Irish genealogical sources fall into four main categories which are mainly held in Dublin and Belfast, these are as follows:

The National Library of Ireland is situated on Kildare Street - just east of Dublin's main shopping street, Grafton Street. There is a free Genealogical Advisory Service at the Library making it the perfect place to start your research. The genealogist on duty will provide you with an overview of Irish genealogical records and explain how to locate finding aids and access records.

The  National Archives of Ireland are a 15 minute walk from the National Library taking you through the famous St Stephen's Green. The National Archives also has an advisory service staffed by a genealogist who will assist you in locating records such as Census 1901 and 1911, wills, Griffiths Primary Valuation, Tithe Appointment Books and the other holdings at the Archives.

The  General Register Office in Dublin holds all civil birth, marriage and death records from 1864 to 1921 for the whole island of Ireland. After that date all records concerning Northern Ireland are held in the  General Register Office Belfast . Full birth certificates are available at both General Register Offices and a research facility is also provided.

The Valuation Office is located in the Irish Life Centre in Lower Abbey Street in Dublin. It houses maps and cancelled and current land books which are based on Griffith's Primary Valuation. The cancelled and current land books document all changes of occupancy of land and property from the time of the original survey to the late 20th century. They are extremely valuable to the family historian, as they can relate to a particular property. The Valuation Books for Northern Ireland are held in the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast.

The  Registry of Deeds is located in Henrietta Street - immediately north of Dublin's main thoroughfare of O'Connell Street. It was established in 1708 to regulate land and property transactions. Registrations of deeds was not obligatory and mainly carried out by property owning classes such as land-owners, merchants and traders. A great deal of genealogical information can be extracted from deeds, as they often contain records of marriage settlements and wills, in addition to other property transactions. It is, however, unlikely that one would locate a registered deed for a small tenant farmer.

Online Genealogical Resources:

1901 and 1911 Census of Ireland

The release of the Census of Ireland 1901 and 1911 has unleashed a huge interest in all things genealogical. Uniquely this census results have been digitised and are now available for download - a fascinating insight into the Ireland of the day.

Birth, Marriage and Death Records

Home to the historic records of Births, Marriages and Deaths of the General Register Office 

Catholic Parish Registers at the National Library of Ireland

This website contains images from the NLI’s collection of Catholic parish register microfilms. The registers contain records of baptisms and marriages from the majority of Catholic parishes in Ireland and Northern Ireland up to 1880. 

Griffith's Valuation

The first full scale valuation of property in Ireland. It was overseen by Richard Griffith and published between 1847 and 1864. It is one of the most important surviving 19th century genealogical sources.

The National Archives Online

The National Archives of Ireland hold  a wide variety of records some of which are available online through their website.