Event—Public Programming

Irish Genealogy Research Program


Join experts from the Ulster Historical Foundation as they describe the ins-and-outs of research in the Emerald Isle. No previous research experience is required. Topics will cover the whole of Ireland.


9:15-10:15 am Introduction to Irish and Scots-Irish Family History

  • This presentation provides a broad overview of Scots-Irish and Irish research and sets the program up for the day, covering a range of topics which include: the geographical divisions of Ireland which are so invaluable in Irish genealogy, such as townlands, parishes and baronies; the 1922 fire and how it affects what can be found in Irish records; the importance of doing your homework on North American sources before starting your Irish research; as well as and exploring some of the major collections of records and how to access them, which will not be covered in the other presentations, such as census records and civil records of births, marriages and deaths.

10:15-10:30 am Break

10:30-11:30 am Printed Sources for Irish Family History

  • Newspapers, street directories, Ordnance Survey Memoirs, and British parliamentary papers on Ireland
  • Printed sources are essential for those researching Irish and Scots-Irish ancestors and often (in some cases) quite easy to access for genealogists overseas. This presentation will examine the wide range of printed sources including newspapers, street directories and Ordnance Survey Memoirs, etc, as well as identifying how to access this material.

11:30 am-12:30 pm Lunch Break

  • On your own

12:30-1:30 pm 18th- and 19th-Century Irish Landed Estate Records

  • The documents generated by the management of landed estates are among the most valuable of records for the local and family historian. Until the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Ulster was a province of landed estates. Estate papers are an important though hugely under-used source for Irish genealogical research. In many cases there are estate papers which survive from the 1800s, 1700s and even the 1600s. In this presentation we will look at the different types of estate papers: leases, lease books, estate correspondence, even maps, and how they can help our research, and document rural Irish families in specific localities, even in the exact townland of our Irish ancestor. The records of the large estates in the province of Ulster can be particularly important to researchers given the extensive collection held in PRONI which are easily mined thanks to the superb finding aids and catalogues prepared by the Record Office staff over the past 40 years.

1:30-1:45 pm Break

1:45-2:45 pm Sources for 17th-Century Families in Ireland

  • Including, among others, the Plantation of Ulster
  • This presentation will look at those sources which can throw light on families in the seventeenth century. It identifies documents relating to the Ulster Plantation (1610–41) which can be used to construct profiles of settler families. It also considers sources from the second half of the seventeenth century, such as hearth money rolls, the Civil Survey and poll books, which are of use to genealogists working in this period. This presentation will also present information on a range of new resources and materials recently published which can help researchers explore this early period. While giving a brief overview of the Plantation of Ulster, the archival sources discussed, in many instances, relate to the island of Ireland and not only Ulster.

2:45-3 pm Audience Questions and Discussion


Fintan Mullan is Executive Director of the Ulster Historical Foundation and has been responsible for the management of this successful Belfast-based, educational non-profit since 2001. He has extensive experience in Irish family history research and is a regular international speaker on Irish genealogy, having spoken in Ireland, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and most of the lower 48 states of the USA. He has managed the production of over 100 Irish history and genealogy titles, including the perennial favorite, Researching Scots-Irish Ancestors. Fintan has ensured the Foundation has been at the forefront of developments in Irish genealogy, including heritage tourism products and the provision of online resources. He helped to pioneer Roots Ireland, the unique database with over 20 million Irish historical records. He is a non-executive director of Irish Family History Foundation.

Gillian Hunt is Research Officer with the Ulster Historical Foundation and is responsible for the management of the Foundation's many genealogical activities. As well as managing the genealogy side of the Foundation's work, Gillian carries out research for clients and is a hugely experienced user of the General Register Office and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. She regularly teaches courses in Northern Ireland and gives talks on family history in the rest of Ireland, the UK, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Gillian has been co-presenting our annual North American lecture tours since 2013 and has been with the Ulster Historical Foundation since 2001.

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