Document the emigrants who left your community and trace their living descendents all over the world today.

One of the best ways to reach out and connect with your own parish Diaspora is to conduct a parish survey. This means that you start work within your own parish, the place you know best. By talking to your neighbours and older members of your community you will be able to harness this shared information by firstly identifying those who left and connecting with them and their extended family.

Below we outline how you can go about the work of gathering the information you will need and recommend some sources that will be useful.

Where do I start?

The first stage of research involves detailing those born in the parish and those who have emigrated from local word of mouth. This is the most immediate and potent way of discovering the Diaspora heritage of each parish. Most people start finding out about their families and the genealogical heritage of their communities by asking older generations such as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles to give them as much information as they can with regard to births, marriages and deaths in a family. 

This type of Parish Diaspora Project can be divided in to three phases:


Target Group One: 1st Generation (i.e. those still living who emigrated)

  • Name of emigrant
  • Present Address / Parish / Townland
  • An invitation from a family member to contact them (if possible)

Target Group Two: 2nd and later Generations

  • Name of emigrant
  • Parish / Townland of origin
  • Destination
  • Information on descendant
  • Any further information

Once the process of retrieving the living records of members of the community Diaspora is underway, the primary and secondary phase of research can begin


Recommended Local Sources

Church - records of baptisms, marriages and deaths

  • General Register Office in Dublin which holds the State records from 1860-1900
  • Local Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland records

Schools Records

  • School Roll Books

  • School Folklore Commission (1937)

  • Hedge School Records

  • School Building Books (Irish National Archives)

Emigrant Records

  • Ellis Island has arrivals records for the port of New York from 1897

  • Castle Garden has arrivals records for the port of New York from 1830

  • The US National Archives has a database of Irish Famine immigrants to New York, 1846-1851

  • The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild includes a vast range of passenger lists

National Census records

  • 1901 & 1911 Census of Ireland 

  • Earlier Census records are available for some places

Land/Town Records

  • Griffith’s Valuation of Tenements (mid-19th century list of land and householders)

  • Tithe Applotment Books (1823-1837)

  • Registry of Deeds

  • Books of Survey and Distribution

  • O’Donovan’s Letters


  • Poor Inquiry (1836)

  • Devon Commission (1844)

  • Bessborough Commission (1880s)

Other Records

  • Graveyard and Folklore Survey

  • Named photographs and private letters

  • Local newspapers and publications

  • Health Board, Police and Military records

  • Slater's Directory (1846), Hely Dutton and Pigot's Directory (1824)

Once you have gathered your survey information, please feel free to contact us so that we can help you add it to your parish resources.


Many members of the parish will know the contact details for emigrants in their own families and so this is a good way to start the process. Following from this you can use various genealogy sites to help you connect including and Google. You can contact potential descendants and introduce yourself and the Ireland Reaching Out concept. Keep a record of those you make contact with and invite them to join your parish on the IrelandXO website.