FREE Irish Ancestry Research Sources-Overview-Part 1

The Start — Part 1: How to search Irish Ancestors correctly, quickly, and accurately, (overview):

First, Our main concentration is on  Sligo ‘s (41) Civil  (a,nd  Roman Catholic Church) Parishes and Civil Parishes –  generally centered around Kilmactigue, Sligo. This if from the Mayo/Sligo Border, to roughly Tourlestrane.
It should be noted that many (if not most) of these records cover all Ireland.
We pulled out and note the South Sligo sections (but still list the rest of Sligo and Ireland) as We host hundreds of files, and records, many specific to the South Sligo area. We also have links to other, less known, local Sites and Blogs containing significant regional information for South Sligo communities.
It also must be noted, (as with any project), errors can creep into the process, so please check the source if you find something that interests you.

We also have and host the of Records of Families (and Residents or Occupiers) of the South Sligo area including the Ancient  Gallen Barony (Sligo and Mayo), and ‘s Luighne Barony, and  “Lieney” Barony (now Leyny, Sligo) , and Tirawley (Mayo) , Tireragh (Sligo) -Anchrony Diocese (basically)  along with a multitude of Sligo, Mayo, Lietrim, and many other Baronies, Townlands, and  Place-names, DEDs, Sub-Placenames. Over the Centuries many things have changed  – including Names, and Spelling has always been an issue with Irish Research. Even the Borders have changed at times (such as Sligo/Mayo). We try to reference and cross-reference the old with the new, but, always double check yourself as We can, and make no assurances !


DNA testing:

This is a big issue.

The mash of DNA testing and traditional Ancestry research is something we have been doing for many years and they do not always mesh — it is important to realize they are two different “baskets” and they are usually not interchangeable as they do not deceive, feel shame, or any of the other things that Humans do and over the last 100-200 years, many things were concealed, swept under the rug, so one must be prepared when doing DNA based Ancestry through, Family Tree DNA, and 23andMe. attempt to overcome the “big three DNA companies” “silos” of data (which they do not share). Even the Human DNA Tree is a work in progress as more is learned –we are no where near knowing everything and indeed, DNA based Ancestry can be termed as being in it’s infancy.

Unless your  like the “Royal Family of England” that has meticulously documented  Ancestry down through the Centuries, when We “commoners” do DNA it lays bare that which people in the past tried to Hide or conceal. DNA testing, done properly, does not lie.

However, the caveat “done properly” is critical. Men have yDNA and Women have mtDNA– but both (everyone) has Autosomal (atDNA) — so if your starting autosomal is the best first option. With FTDNA’s Family Finder, which is also atDNA it is the best chance of finding One’s Ancestors from present roughly back 5-10-15 generations. Most people (unless they had someone who liked Genealogy) do not know more than their GrandParents – that is common especially of Irish, as many just wanted to forget their struggles if they emigrated and came to America ! So We suggest you work the DNA and traditional paper Genealogy separately until your VERY experienced.


The Families of  the Sligo areas is of Particular interest as  Our Ancestor’s Family hail from these area, generally South Sligo Achonry RC Diocese



Some Historical information (always good to know):

So, Included here (but not limited to) are the records from:(1) Village of Aclare  (Irish: Áth an chláir, meaning “Ford of the plain”) and roughly 50 miles around it in every direction. Formerly, the village of Aclare was originally not part of the same-named Townland, but straddled the border of the adjacent townlands of Lislea and Carns. Later the borders of the Townland were extended to encompass the village. The village is situated on the Inagh (also spelt “Eignagh”) river, a
tributary of the Moy River (that is West towards Mayo from Aclare, on the Aclare-Swinford Road).
The  Aclare-Swinford Road (Unnamed Road or “Tulleague”), runs roughly East-West from Aclare, Sligo, to Swinford, Mayo. If leaving Aclare heading towards Swinford, Mayo, one passes over the Bridge and turns left, and the following Townlands’ (entrance roads) would pass by:
(2) Claddagh, 
(3) Claddagh,
(4) Stonepark (goes to Knockbrack).

then it continues into Mayo, to Swinford, the next Townland entrances (roughly) being

(5) Carrowleambeg/Carrowliambeg, and eventually crossing the River Moy (nearDrumalooaun, Darhanagh, Co. Mayo)  and continuing to Swinford, Mayo (Townlands not noted here).


—–the other direction leaving Aclare—-

Starting again in Aclare — taking the “High Road” (the opposite way from the above noted direction) from Aclare, going towards Tourlestrane (and then Tubberycurry), one passes through the areas of:
(6) Carns (which is essentially where Aclare is)
(7) Lislea,
(8) Banada,
(9) Tourlestrane.

We attempted to record most of the Ancestral Surnames from the above noted areas (South Sligo and parts of Mayo) and merged them with Ancestries from each noted Townlands into a database. This attempt to “track Ancestral Surnames through time” (as well as current technology can). This work is presently ongoing. Over time, We found that our Ancestors were intertwined with most other local Family Ancestors (through Surnames and inter-Marriage) in the area. The baseline for this is when Cromwell ‘s Act for the Settlement of Ireland 1652, and Petty’s Map of Ireland 1654-1656, which both were Major changes in the NorthWest of Ireland.

 Catholic landowners were banished to Connaught (or some fled abroad). Catholic ownership of land fell from sixty percent to less than ten percent following the Act of Settlement in 1652. Their confiscated lands were surveyed and given as payment to Cromwell’s troops for their services while the common people were obliged to submit to new masters. However most of the new Protestant landowners sold their lands and returned home. After Cromwell’s death in 1658 many of the old proprietors had their lands restored during the reign of Charles II after the monarchy was restored in 1660. However the defeat of the supporters of the Catholic James II by the Protestant King William III of Orange in 1691 meant an Anglo-Irish Protestant class would become dominant while the Catholic Irish were reduced to the status of tenants and landless peasants during the Penal Laws and Protestant Ascendency –
But (and a Big One) most things did not really change with the exception of paying rent for lands they previously owned (and that would burn Us big time) and increases in the “land rents” (land Ownership in Ireland is not like most western Countries: or “fee simple” as Leases for “lives” or even thousands of years).
When Michael Davitt’s began the Land League, with the Irish Free State Gov., the Land was eventually bought out by the various Land Boards, and sold to many “Occupiers” or “Tenants”, so in the end, many later Descendants of Families ended up (through the 1900-1950s and still ongoing) owning the Lands their Ancestors were Occupiers on — not all by any means — but many.
The Surnames We concentrated on are those common to South Sligo Families:  including:
(and  others such as Murphy, and Frody) – and as each successive Generation came : Birth – (B), joined with other Families (wife changes Surname) – Marriage (M),  and passed -Death (D), or  BMDs (the mainstay of Ancestry research for Centuries) the Surname list were established (We had to have a baseline of a few so many one offs were not in the original project: “Kilmactigue Surnames 2007” as We back  then titled it – now ten years later most are connected back over 150 years)! Most Families probably have no idea of such Surname Ancestry! Odd.y, We found most Surnames in the area were essentially static as the time passed.
Many were present in South Sligo when the  Cromwell’s Conquest of Ireland, 1649-1653, (“To Hell or Connaught“) happened. Over the Generations (albeit at different residences/properties/farms/ areas) some patterns emerged (above and beyond known Emigration) and some are well known, such as Irish Naming patterns — We defined each Generation as 35 Years *(given Irish tendency then to Marry later in life).  Some of Records make it possible to track a Families over the Generations, and even movements within Sligo.
Some  records such as phone books, allow Us to compile comparisons of the Surnames  in the Area to this very day! All this is very exciting, and We hope to host these databases here as soon as the details can be worked out.
The “records” here, generally speaking, are from various sources: including Civil Records, Church Records (BMD, and Confirmations), Land Records, Deeds, Wills, and often (before the advent of Computer Networks) Microfilm/Microfiche (LDS or Mormon Church), Official Ireland Census (and census substitutes) of 1901 and 1911 (presently online) and many, many, others, and with increasing computing power, and new testing (such as DNA) many things never thought possible are emerging.



The Irish Census of 1926, WAS approved for early release by (the then) Heritage Minister Jimmy Deenihan on 9 March 2012. and was tenatively said to be ready in 2017 — however, given the lack of movement since then nobody seems to knows IF the 1926 Ireland Census will be released  before the originally scheduled (2027) release. Most have now resigned to waiting another Ten (10) Years.
The Good News is the many  records are available today in addition to those above – such as Griffith’s Valuation of Tenements, Hearth Money Rolls, ect..  We then have multitudes of other small, private records (such as Rent record, and/or Leases), and other Tax or “Cess” Records. The former are mostly all still in Private Hands (Ownership), but some of the latter are in Public Hands (Ownership)  waiting to be released.
In South Sligo, Gore-Booth Owned large areas of  Land in the 1700-1800s. Later, the Irish National Land League, and Michael Davitt helped,during the Land War, to three R’s and abolish landlordism in Ireland and enable tenant farmers to own the land they worked on 26 October 1878 in Co. Mayo, then established in Castlebar, Mayo 1879 – and eventually through the Land Purchase Act, in 1903,  roughly, returned Land “in fee”ownership to the Farmers/Occupants who worked the Land (essentially reversing what was taken centuries earlier).


More specifically the Sligo Townlands’ of Kilmacteige/Kilmactigue, (South Sligo),  Stonepark, Claddagh, Knockbrack , then other side of Aclare, Lislea, Banada, Tourlestrane, Tubbercurry. In the 1800s most records were in Castleconnor, Sligo — For Mayo, includes Killasser, Creggan, Swineford, Foxford, Kiltimagh.



Pre-1860, f the target of your search (Family, Child, Cousins) is NOT in the 1901/1911 Census, then your initial best going to Land Records, one is done by one Richard Griffith, a Dublin-born geologist: Griffiths Valuation of Tenements, who with many others, created the Primary Valuation of Ireland between 1847-1863.


It is not a census. It covers who owned what and who rented what, and assessed the value on which each identifiable ‘parcel’ of land and/or property, so they could be taxed appropiately.

Only the head of each household is identified. Family relationships and other personal information were not recorded.

For this reason, few women and no children are included. The very poorest ie those who lived on the verge of vagrancy in makeshift or temporary hovels were also excluded. Their numbers were small.

– See more at:


—– Now on to the main Sections, after Brief Comment:

Kilmactigue Parish


When you think about South Sligo, and Sligo in General, one must note O’ Conor Sligo, (Ó Conchobhair Sligigh ) the Lords of Lower Sligo (the main “ruler” in the  16th Century, roughly).


Records-Newspapers (and other miscellaneous public records):

Records, as well as daily newspapers, are also online at various sites as some of the areas available newspapers:

Sligo Champion

Sat View (OrdServey) of Aclare and Surrounding area today:,541044,810039,10,0,540894,809212,9,0



The Research Methodology:

John Grenham describes the “traditional way” (pre computer) ofAncestry research: “…find a townland, identify the civil parish, work out the Catholic parish, check the diocese, check the dates, order the microfilm.”

How True ! Now days We end up using computer programs to search the paper records (many been transcribed or indexed), but the transition from paper records, to viewing  these Paper records has it’s  peculiarities (not to mention the completely missed records), and omissions — computers, like people that input or operate them, do miss things, miss translate, skip, and other issues  *IF EVER IN DOUBT, ALWAYS CHECK THE SOURCEs)!



The Irish History is complex, convoluted,  and spans many “periods” as Ireland has been moved to,  invaded, conquered, and many other actions, since Pre-History. An area being researched for One’s Ancestors’, One should make it their best effort to be somewhat familiar with Local, and Regional, History, as well as the overall Ireland History as it will impact on what Records were created. Generally speaking, unless your Ancestors were “rich”, the chances of pre-Famine records are slim to none — but that should not stop anyone from checking (We are always looking)!!

Some verbatim History is on GenWeb North Mayo History from Poltemy to more recent times (400AD to 1900AD).
RC Church Registers


A map of the Civil Parishes of County Sligo is available at the Irish Times web site, many links being checked and updated.

Sligo Civil Parishes

A map of the Roman Catholic (RC) Parishes in County Sligo is available at the Co. Sligo, Ireland, online link to the Library Maps (see below — but they did have issues running, at times).

The Civil Parish, Barony, Poor Law Union, Catholic Parishes, and Catholic Diocese, and other Land Divisions, in Sligo, are:

Civil Parish – Church of Ireland Barony Poor Law Union Catholic Parish[1] Catholic Diocese[1]
Achonry Leyny Tobercurry Clonacool; Achonary and Curry Achonry
Aghanagh Tirerrill Boyle Aghanagh Elphin
Ahamlish Carbury Sligo Ahamlish Elphin
Ballynakill Tirerrill Sligo Sowey, Riverstown Elphin
Ballysadare Leyny Sligo Ballysadare and Kilvarnet Achonry
Ballysadare Tirerrill Sligo
Ballysadare Tirerrill Tobercurry
Ballysumaghan Tirerrill Sligo Sowey, Riverstown Elpin
Calry Carbury Sligo Sligo Elpin
Castlecomer Tireragh Dromore West Castleconor Killala
Castleconor Tireragh Ballina Castleconor Killala
Castleconor Tireragh Dromore West
Cloonoghil Corran Tobercurry Kilshalvey, Kilturra, and Cloonoghill Achonry
Dromard Tireragh Dromore West Skeen and Dromard Killala
Drumcliff Carbury Sligo Drumcliff Elphin
Drumcolumb Tirerrill Boyle Riverstown Elphin
Drumcolumb Tirerrill Sligo
Drumrat Corran Boyle Drumrat Achrony
Easky Tireragh Dromore West Easky; Kilglass Killala
Emlaghfad Corran Boyle Emlefad and Kilmorgan Achrony
Emlaghfad Corran Sligo
Emlaghfad Corran Tobercurry
Kilcolman Coolavin Boyle Castlemore and Kilcolman Achrony
Kilfree Coolavin Boyle Kilfree and Killaraught Achrony
Kilglass Tireragh Dromore West Kilglass Killala
Killadoon Tirerrill Boyle Geevagh Elphin
Killaraght Coolavin Boyle Killfree and Killaraught Achrony
Killaspugbrone Carbury Sligo Sligo Elphin
Killerry Tirerrill Sligo Killenumerry and Ballintogher Ardagh
Killoran Leyny Sligo Killoran Achrony
Killoran Leyny Tobercurry
Kilmacallan Tirerrill Boyle Riverstown Elphin
Kilmacallan Tirerrill Sligo
Kilmacowen Carbury Sligo Sligo Elphin
Kilmacshalgan Tireragh Dromore West Kilmacshalgen Killala
Kilmacteige Leyny Tobercurry Kilmacteige Achrony
Kilmactranny Tirerrill Boyle Geevagh Elphin
Kilmoremoy Tireragh Ballina Killmoremoy Killala
Kilmorgan Corran Sligo Emlefad and Kilmorgan Achrony
Kilross Tirerrill Sligo Sowey Elphin
Kilshalvy Corran Boyle Kilshalvey, Kilturra and Cloonoghill Achrony
Kilshalvy Corran Tobercurry
Kilturra Corran Tobercurry Kilshalvey, Kilturra and Cloonoghill Achrony
Kilvarnet Leyny Tobercurry Balysodare and Kilvarnet Achrony
Rossinver Carbury Sligo Rossinver Kilmore
Shancough Tirerrill Boyle Geevagh Elphin
Skreen Tireragh Dromore West Skreen and Dromard Killala
St. Johns Carbury Sligo Sligo Elphin
Tawnagh Tirerrill Sligo Riverstown Elphin
Templeboy Tireragh Dromore West Templeboy and Kilmacshalgan Killala
Toomour Carran Sligo Drumrat, Toomore Achrony
Coolavin (Cúl ó bhFionn) is a barony in south County Sligo, in the Republic of Ireland.[1] It was created from the ancient túath of An Corán.
“Corran ” corresponds to the ancient túath of Corann.
Leyney (Luíghne) is a barony that corresponds to the ancient túath of Luíghne.[2,]

Irish: Tír Fhíacrach Múaidhe, “Country of the Uí Fhíacrach of the River Moy“, It is now represented by the barony of Tireragh.[1]



The TOP MENU and/or SIDE MENU is changing as We are re-organizing, Fall “clean-up” to speed up the Menu and Search functions, for faster searching. (March, 2017).

An interesting excerpt of life, as it was then by a Resident of the area in the mid-1800s in Kilmactigue:

When Sir Robert Gore Booth was landlord over this part of Sligo the rents the people had to pay were very high. What was worse, if the people tried to improve the dirty wet patches of land they were trying to live on, the rents were raised. There was a tax put on every window in the house. As well as that every house that had a chimney had to pay tax on it as well. In order to avoid paying many poor people built up the windows and you would see cabins with no chimney at all.


THE PRIMARY information needed for researching  One’s Irish Ancestors correctly — and not wasting time and treasure — noted below.

Depending on the period – Irish records can be searched, to start, using three (3) main Primary Irish Authorities or Records:

A) 1901/1911 Census – two in one, ten (10) years apart.

B) Griffith’s Valuation of Tenements, commonly known as “Griffiths or Griffith’s Valuation” (between 1847-1864),

C) Various area Diocese/Church Documents — Baptism, Marriage, Death (BMD) Registrations — done on various dates some starting in the 1700s, most start mid-1800s —


The base of Researching your Irish born Ancestors’ one should first start with what you know of your Ancestor’s — their Surname, the Townland they lived in, and their Christian Name(s).

It is also good to know their “Nickname” as it seems like everyone in Ireland was called day-to-day, something different than their given or registered name!

Finding this precise information is your first task.  Then if you follow the routes noted below, you should be able to easily locate your Ancestor’s Irish records (Birth is generally Baptism records in Ireland), Marriage, and Death – BMDs.

So, We go from the Known to the Unknown, using this known information to find the unknown information, documents, records, ect. — GO TO SECTION 2.


some of the Local Websites are:











©SMM 2014


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South Sligo Ireland Genealogy Research