How to Research Your Irish Ancestry: Episode 147

By Family Tree Editors

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Irish landscape with the Family Tree Podcast logo

In this episode, Lisa and her guests explore records and resources for tracing Irish ancestry. Plus, our DNA expert explains how to interpret your ethnicity results.

Ep. 147: March 2021

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In this episode:

Tree Talk (01:30)

In today’s Tree Talk segment, a reader and listener shares the genealogical path he has traveled that led to “a wealth of riches.”


Share your story of discovery and you may just hear it here on the Family Tree Magazine Podcast! Email your story to:

Feature Interview: Luck of the Irish with Claire Santry (03:20)

You may have heard the common lament that all Irish genealogy records were burned in a 1922 courthouse fire, making Irish research nearly impossible. In this episode Claire Santry explains that there is indeed hope and discusses the variety of available records. She also shares Irish research strategies from her article “Luck of the Irish” which appears in the March 2021 issue of Family Tree Magazine.

Claire’s Record Pick: Graveyards and Headstones


Local community groups have been surveying and capturing the stories of old Irish burial grounds.

Have you looked in all the usual places for your Irish ancestors and no luck? If so, try these six overlooked sources for tracing roots in Ireland.

Best Genealogy Websites: (18:50)

The Irish Genealogy website, operated by the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sports and Media, is a staple in Irish genealogy research. It’s home to the on-line historic Index entries and register images of the Civil Registers (GRO) of Births, Marriages and Deaths. It is also home to historic Church Records of Baptism, Marriage and Burial from a number of counties. The website is a search portal to record sources such as:

  • 1901/1911 Census records and pre-1901 survivals
  • Census Search Forms from 1841/1851
  • Tithe Applotment books
  • Soldier’s Wills
  • Griffith’s Valuations
  • Ireland – Australia Transportation database
  • Military Archives
  • Ellis Island
  • Roman Catholic Church records
  • National Photographic Archive from the National Library of Ireland

Lisa’s guest is Tadhg O’Shea, Arts, Film and Investment Unit. He’s been involved in the oversight of the website since 2009.

Tracing Irish roots has become a passion for many. Here are some websites to get started. logo

DNA Deconstructed: All About Ethnicity Estimates (30:47)

We’re going back to basics with a review of DNA ethnicity results. Your DNA Guide Diahan Southard explains what they are and how they have improved since they were first made available back in 2007.

DNA mapping and ethnicity estimates are a big draw of home DNA test kits. Learn more about them here.
Diahan Southard

Editor’s Desk: Explore Your Irish Heritage (37:20)

Courtney Henderson, Digital Editor at Family Tree Magazine, takes us on a tour of the Irish Heritage resource page.

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Courtney Henderson

Your Host: Lisa Louise Cooke

Listen to Lisa Louise Cooke’s Genealogy Gems Podcast in your favorite podcasting app or with the Genealogy Gems Podcast app in your app store, and visit her website for great research ideas, podcast episodes and videos.

Have fun climbing your family tree!

Lisa Louise Cooke, host of the Family Tree Magazine podcast.