This page is just a beginning. I am not sure where it will lead, but it is an idea that arose from the emails I have had asking if I can help with tracing ancestors or making family links. The truth is, I can't. However, I can build a directory of sites that people can go to for information. We'll start in a simple way and see where it goes. If you have ideas about what you would like for tracing your McAuliffe ancestry and linking up with relatives, let me know and I'll see what I can do. Perhaps in time we can have an online database where people can discover where their families link in with others.
I'm not going to attempt to give advice on how to go about your family search. There are already numerous sources for that, written by people far more qualified than I. What i will do is give you some links to get you started. I'll also share with you any hints I've picked up in the course of my own research.
I don't think it can be over-emphasised that the best place to start if you're at the beginning of your family history search is within your own family. Talk with relatives, especially older ones, and you'll probably be surprised how much is already known. Document it carefully; the best tools you can have at this stage are a notebook and pen. If you have access to a dictaphone or small tape recorder that can be good too. Getting that information from elderly relatives is your most important task at this stage; when they die a lot of knowledge will die with them. An elderly aunt might mention the name of a town your family had connections with. If you don't hear it from her it might take several years and countless hours of research before you discover it for yourself. However, rather than write a whole lot myself I'll give you a link or two. Here's some that put it all quite clearly and should help you to get started.
- Genuki has a very good page of advice and information including how to set your aims, document your findings, identify good sources and record your results.
- Genealogy.ie also has a very good page of advice about getting started, a sequence of steps to take and some helpful tips.
- Ancestor.com Some more good advice set out in logical steps and information about using the various sources available.
- Rootsweb Another good site that starts with "Where to begin" and goes on to explain information sources and lists those available for many countries.
Once you've made a start and have done your preliminary information gathering you'll be wanting to know more about what records are available that will lead you to the information you want. Here then are some other good sites that will give you some good links to various records...
- Irish Genealogy Guide to researching your Irish family history,Including what to look for and planning your approach. It has an online database of church records.
- Irish Genealogy Irish Government site, this page has an essay about the problems of Irish genealogy and some advice on how to go about it. Has some other links to explore also.
- Roots Ireland This site boasts the largest family records database in Ireland and what they have here is certainly impressive.
- Cyndi's List for Ireland Large lists of links for Ireland and Northern Ireland records. Cyndi's List is legendary in genealogical circles and for links to all sorts of records it would be hard to beat.
- Genealogy Links More links to Irish records, including cemeteries, passenger lists, county records of births, marriages, etc.
Using Search Engines
People are probably most familiar with Google for searching on the Internet but there are some other popular ones that also can be helpful. The important thing in using a search engine is to refine your search as far as possible. If your search is too broad you will get thousands of results and it will be a horrendous job sorting out the ones you want. For instance, I am looking for information about my great-grandfather, Cornelius McAuliffe. If I put just his name into the Google search-box I get 340,000 results. I know that Cornelius was married in Castleisland, County Kerry, so if I narrow my search to "Cornelius McAuliffe Castleisland" I get 6000 results. Because he came to New Zealand I can try a search for "Cornelius McAuliffe New Zealand". That gives me 62,300 results (and not all of just from NZ, I might add). I know that he settled at Temuka in New Zealand so I can narrow it down a bit more and try "Cornelius McAuliffe Temuka". Now I'm down to 429 results and yes, some of them do relate to my great-grandfather.
Main Search Engines
These are the top search engines and it's worth trying them all rather than settling for just one because they each have their own merits.