Alternative Sources for Research.

Gerard Leen, Kimberly Brown, Leslikae Thomas and Patrick Roycroft

Gerard Leen, Kimberly Brown, Leslikae Thomas and Patrick Roycroft at the Irish Family History Centre.

This Summer, the Irish Family History Centre was joined by two intern Genealogists from America. We asked them to jot down what they learned from their time here. This is what they said: 

Kimberly Brown   Kimberly Brown 

National Library of Ireland: The Sadlier Pedigrees 

As an American genealogist, I was beyond disappointed when I first learned how many records were destroyed in the fire at the Public Records Office in 1922. Although the lack of traditional records makes it challenging to trace my Irish Ancestors, I still love the thrill of the chase and the excitement when I uncover a genealogical gem.

One of the great finds I discovered was a source in the National Library of Ireland: Pedigrees compiled by Thomas Ulick Sadleir (Mss 573-576). Sadleir, an Irish genealogist who worked in the Ulster King of Arms office, produced pedigree charts as part of his heraldic work.

One of Sadleir’s manuscripts turned out to be a great find, because it included a hand-drawn pedigree chart for a family that has been very difficult to trace and untangle. When it was created (circa 1907), Mr. Sadleir listed the sources he used for his information, including the 1821 census.

Although those pages of the 1821 census no longer exist, the pedigree chart captured information that would have otherwise been forever lost. The source “citation” listed the names of all family members who were alive in 1821, who lived in each household, their ages, and their occupations.

The pedigree chart also included women’s maiden names – information not found in any other surviving record. The maiden names are an important clue that may lead to other documents, such as marriage settlements that were memorialized and recorded in the registry of deeds.

The Sadleir Pedigrees are just one of the many genealogical treasures available at the National Library, and the gold mine of information was well worth the effort.


NLI catalogue

NLI sources databases

Leslikae Thomas    Leslikae Thomas

Registry of Deeds

A favorite experience from my internship with the Irish Family History Centre was a visit to the Registry of Deeds in Dublin. Set on Henrietta Street, the lovely old building houses a wonderful collection of memorialized copies of deeds going back to the early 1700s.

Kimberly Brown, my classmate, and I signed in and received electronic access cards that open the doors to the research rooms. We stowed our belongings in the near-by lockers, keeping out paper and sharp pencils, for taking notes. We were also allowed to take our computers with us. There is no WIFI access in the research rooms, but the computers held information pertinent to our research and helped us transcribe deeds more quickly.

A beautiful winding staircase leads up to the research room holding the Grantors Index. The deeds are indexed by grantor, or those who sold or leased the land. Those who bought or leased land may be found in the Placenames Index on the third floor.

Kimberly and I donned long aprons and set to work – we searched the grantor indexes for names of interest to our research and quickly but carefully copied the volume, page, and document numbers. Then went into the next room which is full of tombstone books, with the intriguing scent of old leather and parchment. The tombstones are heavy, oversized books which are difficult to return to the top shelf via the ladder!

I transcribed a deed for lease for James Carrigan, Coffeehouse keeper and his wife Mary, in Tipperary, in 1718. It was thrilling to see and transcribe the beautiful old documents.

You can experience the fun of searching for deeds yourself. A large part of the collection was microfilmed in 1951 and is available on Find a name of interest in the Grantor or Placename index, then copy the volume, page, and document numbers. Scroll down, down, down, until you find the collection of “Deeds, etc.” that contains the volume number.

Browsing through the volume images, look for the page, then document numbers you jotted down. You may find clues to further your research in other names, locations, and perhaps occupations mentioned in the deed. It can be an interesting, challenging, and rewarding process.



We truly enjoyed having both Genealogists come and learn from us at the Irish Family History Centre. We wish them the best of luck going forward and are looking forward to seeing where they end up in their Irish Family History Research! 

Kimberly Brown, Catherine Holmes and Leslikae Thomas

Kimberly Brown, Catherine Holmes (our newest recruit) and Leslikae Thomas at the Irish Family History Centre.

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