Joined: 02 Feb 2005
Location: Brisbane, Australia
|Posted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 4:03 pm Post subject: Top Ten Research Tips - County Roscommon
|Top Ten Research Tips.
1. Do your homework in the “New Country” first.
An Irish research plan is directly dependent on the amount and specificity of
the information available. Every effort should be expended toward identifying
the exact location, i.e. the name of the townland or parish of the immigrant
ancestor. In order to accomplish this goal, one must first search the “New
Country (US, Canadian, UK or Australian) sources”. These include a study of
all the personal or family, civil, ecclesiastical, LDS (FHL), and other library
data available, with an emphasis on localising the family's place of origin in
Ireland. Only after exhaustive work in the foregoing areas should the Irish
sources be consulted. (Source: Dr. James Small, noted Unites States genealogist.
My approach to County Roscommon research changed when I ordered three wrong FHL
microfilms in succession. With a wait of four months from order to receipt it took nearly
18 months to view the FHL Family History Library microfilm film showing that James
Byrne ceased to occupy land in Killummod townland in 1863, the same year he arrived
Only when I decided to learn more about how the system worked did I realize the vast
amount of research information available within 10 kms of where I live in Australia. In
many respects it is easier to do County Roscommon Family History research in Australia
than in Ireland, particularly now that Family History Library (FHL) microfilms are
available at major Public Libraries and larger Family History Societies, as well as at
local LDS Family History Libraries (FHL).
2. Establish contacts in the UK and USA.
I have had great results from contacts in the USA. Remember 67% of Irish emigrants
immigrated to the United States compared with 20% to UK and 2.5% to Australia.
3. Use the Internet.
It can cost less to access the internet at the local library rather than use your own
computer. Use a free "Hotmail" address to post entries on Bulletin Boards. This can be
altered easily to help protect you against spam (and computer viruses).
4. Note that emigrant shipping departure records do not exist in Ireland.
You must search for arrivals in the shipping lists in the “New Country”.
5. Don't pay a cent to anyone until you know what you are doing.
6. By Australian standards paid research in Ireland is expensive.
Be prepared to pay up-front fees if you want research done in Ireland. There can be no
guarantee that a search will produce positive information and there is usually no refund if
records can’t be found. It is worth checking any relevant fees before you request
It is important to make requests for searches as specific as possible. However bear in
mind that the result of the search may be disappointing as so many records have not
been kept. It takes time to realise that because it is “our family” there must be some
record of them is not always correct. The truth can sometimes be disappointment.
7. Be flexible about the spelling of surnames and places. Remember clerks wrote down what
they heard, not what they saw, so try and imagine how the name would have been pronounced
and what variant spellings there would be. For example:
If a "g" is followed by "h", the "g" is silent.
Aghadangan is recorded on an Australia marriage certificate as Aughdyan.
A family that embarked as Beirne disembarked as Byrne and remain so today.
Killummod is pronounced Killummeth (or Calumet).
James Beirne’s exact place of origin (Townland) in Co Roscommon was difficult to
confirm. He listed his place of birth as County Roscommon when he registered the
Brisbane births of his children. His death certificate listed his place of birth as Killumeth.
I confirmed this as Killummod in 1996 when I spelt out Killummod to Father Roger
Leonard, Parish Priest of Croghan, who then pronounced Killummod as "Killumeth". To
Australian ears it appears the Irish often pronounce a "d" as "th"
8. Understand the various administrative structures/divisions, such as Townland and
It took me years to understand what was meant by the term "townland". I also found
"Civil Parish" confusing, even though the term is used for all land records in Australia.
(More information on these terms is provided in the relevant sections of this CD).
9 Realise that most people did not live in villages or towns.
In earlier days in Ireland there were houses everywhere, as there is today. It was/is a
town planner's nightmare. In the mid 1850s only 8 percent of Co. Roscommon houses
were located in towns or villages.
10 Try to pinpoint your ancestor's Townland and/or Civil parish.
If you know the Townland your ancestor came from you can access a wide range of
sources to document your family history
Beirne, Byrne, Connor, Hedian, Moraghan, Nerney. Hunter, Gildea, Kildea