Finding the Irish


Learn how to find Irish women, as well as the poor, and clues surrounding death to further your Irish family history.

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When researching your family in Ireland, where do you start?

Since thousands of key records were lost in the tragic Four Courts explosion—19th Century censuses, various church records, wills and testaments, and more—finding the stories of our ordinary Irish ancestors has been immeasurably more difficult.

Unfortunately, the stories of the women and poor people were rarely recorded

Women made up about 50% of the Irish population, but far less than 50% of the records. Plus, there is much less surviving documentation for non-elite women and girls. How do you find our ordinary female ancestors?

Discover the new "Irish Renaissance" in family history

Until now, many thought it impossible to trace the lost stories of the common people in Ireland. However, with the digital era comes many more opportunities to find and access millions more surviving sources, right from your home.

Not everything was lost from the archives. Find out other sources and methodologies that help discover hidden connections.
Learn what records survive
Learn to think laterally, and search the places with the most clues—like the death records of Ireland or the petty sessions records.
Hone your detective skills
The "great" aren't the only ones to leave an Irish heritage. Find the stories of the "coitianta"—the ordinary people of Ireland.
Find the lost stories of the 'coitianta'
Finding the Irish

Discover your hidden Irish ancestors.

Event details

Presentation details

Live Event Date
May 2021
AEST - 1.00pm - ACT, NSW, QLD TAS, VIC ACST - 12.30pm NT, SA AWST - 11.00am WA NZST - 3.00pm NZ BST - 4am UK CEST - 5.00am - France, Netherlands Friday 28 May in the US PDT - 4.00pm (US) MDT - 5.00pm (US) CDT - 6.00pm (US) EDT - 7.00pm (US)
Start Time
1:00 pm
3hrs 45 mins
Welcome & Introduction
5 min
Learn the skills to to find these women's stories. This is critical, if you don't follow up on women's narratives you're losing half of your family story. "There's more work involved in tracing women and finding women in the records but in my experience, it is worth the extra trek, to try and find out more about these women in the past."
Finding women in the records
Fiona Fitzsimons
Break and exhibition
10 min
Join the renaissance in Irish family history. A realization that it is possible to trace your Irish roots. It's possible to trace the people on foot, the ordinary Joe and Josephine. You don't have to be from the great and the good to be able to find records for your Irish family history.
Tracing the Irish poor
Brian Donovan


Break and exhibition
10 min
"The Irish do death well" - Journey with Fiona through the different stages of the person dying and how the family and friends and community respond to that death step by step. Discover what evidence was made, what evidence survives that we can use, and how we can tap that for family history
Evidence in death for Irish Family History
Fiona Fitzsimons
Prize Draw   |
Stick around for your chance to win some fantastic prizes!



Pre-book by 4pm Fri 28 May AEST to be in the prize draw

Discussion & Questions
Questions Answered (Recorded)
We ask Helen some of the questions supplied in the live event.

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Available until
September 2021

Inside this event

Meet the presenters

Meet the presenter

Learn about our FHDU Online experts.
Fiona Fitzsimons
Irish research
Director, Research, Irish Family History Centre
Brian Donovan
Irish research
Director, CEO, Eneclann

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