Sunday, 29 October 2017

Review: Tracing Your Dublin Ancestors (4th ed)

(Having just gone through an exceptionally busy period, much of it overseas, this review is a little late in coming, but the book is certainly worth a plug!)

Tracing Your Dublin Ancestors (4th edition)
James G. Ryan and Brian Smith

Although this is a fourth and revised edition of the popular title, this is the first edition I have actually read - and a handy guide it will certainly turn out to be when I go chasing my three times great grandmother Teresa Mooney from Dublin City! The book deals with both the nation's capital city and the wider county of the same name.

The book is broken down into thirteen chapters. The first provides a basic introduction, followed by a very useful section on administrative divisions, including a handy list of Dublin county civil parishes (with the years in which Griffiths Valuation and the tithes were published/recorded) and relevant maps.

Chapters 3-10 deal with record types.  Civil registration, censuses and census substitutes (from 1468), church records, directories, probate material, gravestone inscriptions, newspapers and land records. The section on church records, and where to find them, is worth the price of the book purchase alone - with detailed descriptions of holdings for every denomination, with links on where to find some availability online.

The chapter on gravestone inscriptions is limited to published resources on inscriptions only, and appears to overlook some major online offerings on burials, not least Glasnevin Cemetery's online database (, and the Irish Genealogy Project Archives (, which has superb photographic records of headstones in cemeteries such as Mount Jerome.

The land records chapter has some useful details on where to find estate papers of some key Dublin families, whilst Chapters 11 and 12 detail some published family histories, and further reading resources. The final chapter rounds of the book with some useful library, archive and society addresses.

Overall this book provides a real eye-opener for researchers as to the wealth of material that is not available online, as well as online, with useful contextual explanations as to what the records are. A superb contribution to available handbooks on Irish research, and an absolute essential for those like me with Dublin ancestry.

Tracing Your Dublin Ancestors (4th edition) is available from Flyleaf Press at

Price: €13.00
The following prices include postage: 
£14.00 to UK; $22 to US; CAD$23 to Canada

(With thanks to James Ryan for the review copy)


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