Ireland Catholic Church Records :: Genealogy
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Ireland Catholic Church Records

Query by AncestrySisters

I just got back from a week long research trip to Ireland. I learned a lot about Catholic Church Records in Ireland. If anyone wants me to look up or confirm the parish that your ancestors are from, I have a great index book that has detailed parish names, towns, and diocese, all by County. I can also tell you what records exist and the dates available to look at.

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by AncestrySisters Profile | Research | Contact | Subscribe | Block this user
on 2012-09-03 08:30:14

Ancestry Sisters are the youngest daughters of 10 kids from a small town in Central Illinois. Yes, we are part Irish. Yes, we are catholic. And so much more. The so much more part includes Bohemian, French Canadian, German, Quakers, Mayflower Descendants, English Nobility, poor, rich, troubled, etc. You get the picture. In our quest to figure out the so much more part, we stumbled into a deep passion for family history.

Family Surnames include Driscoll, Dempsey, Wagner, Benz, Brozicek, Slansky, O'Connor, Heffernan, Anderson, Cook, Barron, Hicks, Hester.

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by 888shelley on 2012-09-10 03:02:46

Lovely thanks! I am also on 'the quest' I wonder if you could give me any ideas on looking up Irish ancestors. So far I have traced Patrick Lannan1760 from Wexford, married to Catherine Maher, I have 2 of their sons (Martin 1790&Michael1794) and Martin's descendants in Australia and some of Michael's in USA. The Lannans are found in Kilkenny and Carlow as well. They are RC. I am trying to find siblings of Martin and Michael and also Patrick snr.
I am descended from the Aussie line (Patrick jnr)

by 888shelley on 2012-09-10 03:04:25

Ooops forgot to add the Kilkenny town was Swiftsheath....Ballyragget and Kilmacar are also mentioned

by AncestrySisters on 2012-09-10 15:15:18

I am traveling this week and don't have my book with me, but will be happy to look this weekend. Thanks, Ellen

by 888shelley on 2012-09-11 18:04:45

Thanks Ellen!

by gailcostiganwhite on 2012-09-13 18:00:38

by AncestrySisters on 2012-09-14 17:40:52

888shelley - can you tell me where in the US Michael Lannan lived in the US?
gailcostiganwhite - you say that you have searched 46 parishes? wow, did you have a heritage center or genealogist help you?

I don't know if my index book will be helpful to either of you since it only lists the parish and the years that they have records to look at. But here are some of my best tips and aha moments that led to my irish discoveries.

1. Sponsors of baptisms and marriages can be critical. I decided to research one of the sponsors for my GG grandparents' daughter Mary. I had a hunch that my GG Grandfather John and the sponsor Owen were more than just neighbors in the US. Within 10 minutes, I found that Owen got married in Massachusetts. The same town that my GG grandfather John was suspected of living in before he married, but not confirmed. This led to his 4 brothers and sister living in Massachusetts, and eventually I uncovered the name of the Parish in Ireland that they were from - it was listed on John's brother's marriage record in 1852 in Massachusetts. Lucky.
2. The naming of their children can assist you in what their parents names were. The first born son was named after the paternal grandfather. The 2nd born son after the maternal grandfather. Opposite for girls - the 1st born was named after the maternal grandmother, the 2nd named after the paternal grandmother. My family line did this to perfection, and it helped me search and find many things including siblings with the same naming pattern of their kids, parents in Ireland, etc.
3. Be careful of the County they say they were from. In Ireland last month, we helped a client research her family only to discover that the family registered the births in one county, but baptized them across the border in another county. If your family is close to the line, then you need to research beyond the borders.
4. Catholic church records in Ireland get sketchy before 1850. I have heard stories about how they had to burn some records just to keep warm during the potato famine. Some records can go back to around 1800 but it's rare, and then there were so many people with the same name it is maddening. That's why sponsors are critical - They are often siblings.
5. County Cork, Kerry and Dublin have many Catholic Church Records online that range from 1800 - 1900. If you are lucky enough to have anyone from this area, let me know and I can help you look them up.
6. Seek out the help of a local Heritage Center for the town & county you suspect your relatives are from. I know Skiberdeen in Cork would help for free, but some do charge to look up church records.
7. I am from the US so if you know of the area in the US where your relatives lived, I can help you figure out the diocese that you could attempt to contact and research for church records.

If you would like my help beyond this, please contact me at [email protected] I do have experience in the UK as my Irish relatives lived in London for 20 years before going to the US in 1874. I have dug thru records in the UK and am familiar with their processes too.

by AncestrySisters on 2012-09-14 19:49:53

888shelley - The records for Ballyragget don't start until 1856. Kilmacar is actually spelled Kilmacow in the index book. Marriages start in 1798 and baptisms start in 1836.

One other thing for both of you to consider is joining a DNA project at I am currently participating in one for my family surname and there are 79 other descendants who have already submitted their DNA to hopefully link up with others in the group. You may luck out and match up with someone that has the family tree figured out. There are other Costigan's on this website doing dna searches.

by 888shelley on 2012-09-18 19:04:13

Thanks a heap!! All useful info! The USA Lannans are in Indiana and I have contact with them....They are delighted to know there is an Australian connection, which they didn't have before. Will follow all of your tips and see what that brings.

by chezmccallum on 2014-05-19 00:47:25

Hi Ellen
Just wondering if you know anything about the CONROY family.
I have Margaret Mary Conroy, ( This is her mother's maiden name she was given )born 1931 Guernsey I think ???
Her mother was Eileen May Conroy, born 1915 in Guernsey, Channel Islands.
Her father was Wilfred Davison, don't know any other details for him.
Eileen May Conroy's father was Christopher Stephen Conroy, born 1950 in Quebec ???
Eileen May Conroy also married George William Helpe, born Abt 1918.
Her children had many different surnames. There was about 5 or 6 that went by CONROY,
then there was BIBBY, DEWARN, HELPE / HELP and HALIDAY.
Margaret was brought up by the Catholic Nuns in the Convent. She is believed to be one of about 16 children,not sure to whom they are to.
In 1953 Margaret Mary Conroy married a Polish man named Kazimierz in England, and they had 6 children, all born there, then just her & the 6 kids came to Australia around 1968. Kazimierz went to France sometime after that & remarried there.

Any help or ideas on this family would be greatly appreciated.
Cheers Chez :)

by AncestrySisters on 2014-05-19 17:55:25

Interesting but my O'Connor relatives are affiliated with Conroy's from Mitchelstown in County Cork. But my research for this family goes back to 1850. Have you tried using family search and looking thru birth and marriage records?

by chezmccallum on 2014-05-20 05:29:09

not as yet, but I am heading that way.
Cheers :)

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