Researching Irish Catholic Nuns
6/13/2014
Our expert gives tips on tracing Irish Catholic nuns.
Q. I have several great-great aunts who came to Cincinnati from Ireland, possibly County Cork. They were Catholic nuns. How do I begin researching to find more about them? 

A. The religious orders of Roman Catholic sisters, or nuns, have kept very good records of their members. Often, this information will include the birth place of the nun and her parents' names. Sometimes even the parents' birth places are given! In order to find records for your great-great aunts, you need to first find out what religious order they belonged to. If you can find an obituary for one of them, it should state this information. You can also tell by the initials after their names, such as with "Sister Mary Joseph, OCD." Religious sisters usually took on new religious names when they joined the order. The initials at the end of the name refer to their particular order or "congregation" (in this case, OCD stands for the Discalced Carmelite Nuns).