One of the most important steps in locating your Emerald Isle ancestors is discovering which Irish county they lived in. It’s important to remember that even as late as the early 20th century, most people in Ireland never traveled too far from the area in which they were born. Entire clans of multiple family branches often stayed in the same geographic area for generations. Once you find the county in which your ancestor lived in Ireland, that will open up a whole new world of research opportunities for you, and may very well lead you to discovering a lengthy and rich Irish heritage you never knew about before.
There are 26 counties in Ireland. These are:
In addition to these counties, there are 6 more Irish county areas in Northern Ireland: Fermanagh, Tyrone, Londonderry, Antrim, Down, and Armagh.
The best way to find out which Irish county your ancestor lived in is to examine stateside records that ancestor left after emigrating to the United States. These records can be death certificates, marriage certificates, birth certificates of the ancestor’s children, newspaper clippings, religious records, and more. Usually, at least one of these records will mention the county from which your Irish ancestors hailed. Using online databases can also help you discover the pertinent county if your stateside record resources run dry. Once you’ve found the county, you’ll know where to look for additional records on the extended family in Ireland.