5 Struggles with Irish Genealogy + Solutions

People looking to uncover Irish ancestry normally struggle with finding information, tracing the relevant records, erratic naming conventions, land divisions, and a lack of research experts local to the specific records, subject area, or period.  

As a result, Irish genealogy proves intricate in terms of accuracy and reliability. Nevertheless, Irish genealogists at irishresearchers.com are veterans of the game and understand all the nuances of Irish ancestry.  

So, if you want to conduct accurate Irish ancestry research or break a brick wall, leverage our free consultation to understand the process of receiving a well-documented, verified, and referenced Irish family history research report.    

Why Is Irish Genealogy Difficult? 

Irish genealogy is difficult, especially for amateurs, as it evades the common patterns used in research. The Republic of Ireland lacks comprehensive records of events and demography before the 19th century. You really need to look elsewhere and see beyond the box to find anything beyond three centuries.  

Even with the available records, interpreting the data becomes a hassle as Ireland has evolved drastically since the 1921 liberation from direct British rule. Documents are scattered across databases and counties, while names of people and places have changed dramatically.  

For this reason, hiring a professional genealogist for your Irish genealogy may be a wise idea to avoid frustrations and wasting your time creating inaccurate family trees. This guide looks at some common struggles you’ll likely encounter with Irish genealogy and the best solutions to overcome them.  

Struggles with Irish Genealogy + Solutions 

Lack of Records 

Records are the backbone of ancestry research; without them, you remain stuck in the research and verification process. Irish genealogists suffer this fate, as most reliable records have been destroyed or do not exist.  

A year after the liberation from direct British rule, the Republic of Ireland sank into a civil war that led to a devastating fire at the Public Records Office in Dublin. Crucial records, including census records from 1821 to 1921, were destroyed. Other records have since vanished due to other deliberate actions and poor preservation.  

Ireland’s economic and social disparity has also contributed to the lack of records genealogists experience today. Events such as the Great Famine between 1845 and 1952 left many poor families with no resources or inclination to document or preserve their records. Consequently, some gaps remain for some families and communities.  

Luckily, Irish genealogists have found a workaround even when no birth, marriage, or death certificate exists in the National Archives of Ireland, the General Registrar Office (GRO), or the National Library of Ireland (NLI).  

Since most of the island was Catholic, Parish records became an alternative way to gain insights into ancestors. Databases such as the Original Wills of the Diocese of Dublin 1272-1858 and the Catholic Qualifications & Convert Rolls 1701-1845 are some of the rich sources of exclusive ancestry information.  

Besides, the Catholic Parish Register has baptisms, marriages, and burial records dating back to the 18th century and covering the entire island. However, these documents’ record-keeping habits, availability, and comprehensiveness largely depend on the denomination.  

Moreover, researchers utilize passenger records and old newspapers to find leads or verify information. Early 20th-century newspapers in the US featured classified ads posted by Irish nationals trying to reach families who migrated here. The papers also ran obituaries that could be a game-changer in finding something notable about your Irish ancestors.  

Common places to find these old newspapers include the national archives or your local register office.  

The Irish Family History Centre and Irish Emigration Museum also offer resources to fill in the gaps left by missing records. Passengers’ records also come in handy in tracing Irish immigrant ancestors. Online sites and records such as the Ellis Island and Castle Garden highlight the arrivals of these immigrants and feature their names, ages, and destinations.  

Another effective solution to the lack of records is DNA testing. People likely to have descended from a common Irish ancestor may have DNA matches, making it easy to create a family tree and connect with their ancestral families.  

Access to Records 

Even if the required genealogy records were not affected by time or destruction, it’s still an uphill task to trace, access, and compile them. Ireland’s birth, census, migration, death, work, and marriage records are dispersed across various repositories, including churches, archives, libraries, and private collections.  

Besides, over 10 million people have emigrated from Ireland, so tracing your relatives and ancestors may sometimes involve immigration records, ship passenger records, and visiting foreign archives.  

This would be a burden for one person and an enormous challenge to still guarantee an accurate and complete report.  

Luckily, Irish genealogists can help you accomplish all these in a reasonable time, thanks to their broad professional networks and ability to leverage and authenticate online databases. Using services from established genealogical organizations like the Irish Family History Centre or the Irish Family History Foundation can also provide easier access to these records.

You don’t have to waste money, time, and energy traveling to destinations for a crucial record or lead. Irish genealogists at irishresearchers.com will search readily available repositories for this information and refer to other archives around the world. 

People Naming Conventions 

Irish names have experienced numerous changes in their pronunciation and spelling, mainly due to Anglicization, transcription errors, or translation from Gaelic to English. Besides, Irish nationals have a tradition of reusing their first names for generations. It’s also unsurprising to find parents naming children after themselves.  

As a result, you may come across a person’s name appearing differently across documents or different family members with similar names. This brings confusion, making it harder to distinguish individuals through historical records.  

The solution to overcoming these naming conventions is to learn the nuances or hire a professional who understands the nuances, detects conflicting information, and correctly interprets every available document.  

Land Divisions and Renaming 

The Republic of Ireland has evolved, and borders and location names have shifted with time. Updated borders separating administrative districts, divisions, townlands, counties, baronies, and parishes have drastically impacted ancestry research.  

Today, authorities are splitting counties and creating new ones. So, what you find noted in ancient records might not match what you see on modern maps. Therefore, you must try to match the locations on the documents to the current address. You have to show beyond any doubt that the location shown on the birth certificate is in Dublin, Limerick, Belfast, Cork, etc.  

Lack of Researchers Familiar with Irish Nuances, History, or Target period 

Not every genealogist will understand the Irish nuances of family heritage and the common challenges associated with Irish genealogy. Some are confined to specific subject areas, periods, and networks as a strategy to deliver the best in their fields.

These professionals save you the time and energy you’d waste trying to learn DIY Irish genealogy, which has proven ineffective and frustrating. Besides, they know all the workarounds to the struggles discussed here, as they have walked down that path, resolving thousands of genealogy research assignments.  

What makes Irish genealogists a preference for many individuals with Irish ancestry is their knack for detail and accuracy. Every piece of data these genealogists provide is referenced and supported by relevant documentation to ensure accuracy and verifiability. This meticulous examination and reporting help future generations rely on and extend the family history even further.  

Irish genealogists also use advanced genetic genealogy to enhance the accuracy and verification process. Their multilingual specialty and vast network enable them to reach foreign countries where Irish relatives may have migrated and easily retract any crucial records. Note that the researcher presents these records to you in your preferred interpretation.  

Most importantly, our genealogists provide an insightful narrative about their findings in addition to names and dates. The compelling narrative transforms the raw data to help you understand events and interpretations in your ancestry.  

Above all, thanks to their specialty, professional genealogists expedite the research process so that you can expect a quick turnaround. All these services, plus the peace of mind, offset any costs you may incur in hiring a professional genealogist.

Overcome Struggles with Irish Genealogy Today 

Despite the struggles discussed here, we keenly understand all the complexities of Irish genealogy and record search and have helped thousands of clients break through brick walls or interpret conflicting records. 

Contact us today for a free consultation or to learn more about our services, fees, research customization, and more.  

Here’s a breakdown of what you should expect: 

  • All purchased time used towards research, 
  • Money Back Guarantee *see refund policy – conditions apply, 
  • Service from a Professional Genealogist, 
  • Full report of findings and their sources, 
  • A time-log report, 
  • Copy of all records, with translation if applicable, 
  • Update existing online family tree, 
  • Printed version of all found records, if needed. 

Contact irishresearchers.com today for a free consultation and discover the rich history of your Irish roots.


Irish genealogy may be complex, but you can overcome these challenges with the right strategies and expert assistance. You can piece together a well-documented and verified Irish family history by leveraging church records, alternative record sources, and professional genealogical services. Whether you’re updating an online family tree or creating a detailed family story, understanding these solutions will help you navigate the intricacies of Irish ancestry research.

For those seeking professional help, consider a free consultation with experienced genealogists who can guide you through uncovering your Irish roots and provide a detailed report, ensuring your family history is accurate and complete.

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