background image
Tracing your Family History -
A Wicklow Example
by Catherine Wright of the
Wicklow Family History Centre
Are you wondering about your family's
origins? About how and where they lived
and how this has shaped your own life? If
the answer is yes, then you are one of many!
The hunger for family history research has
grown at an astonishing rate in the last two
decades, mainly due to the opportunities
offered by the internet to search and share
information globally in a way that is ideal for
the family historian. Whatever the reason for
taking up the "roots trail", there is little doubt
that countless people at this very moment in
time are pouring over parish registers,
census returns and tombstone inscriptions in
the hope of gleaning clues that will help
them navigate the detective trail that is
family history. This is especially significant to
Ireland if we consider it is estimated that
over sixty million people around the world
claim Irish ancestry.
A daunting task
Beginning your Irish family history research
can be a daunting task, especially when
there are so many different records to
search in different locations. Thankfully,
more and more records are now available
Start with what and who you know
Beginning with your parents and grandpar-
ents, start to build a picture of your closest
family, before you delve back into history.
Many budding family historians are so
excited and fascinated by various family
legends passed down that they tend to
"jump" into 19th and even 18th century
records without getting their bearings, so to
speak, by establishing the correct family line.
Once you have exhausted this valuable
family knowledge, it is time to search the
records. Let us now begin our research of
the Short family of Killoughter, County Wick-
low:
1911 Census
Bernard is listed on
the 1911 Census for
Killoughter, aged
with his parents
Daniel and Jane
Short and his
siblings Anastasia,
Elizabeth, Robert,
Eugene and John.
online, and the majority of counties have a
County
Genealogy
Centre
(see
www.rootsireland.ie for details of all county
centres). The following is a case study of a
County Wicklow family researched by Cath-
erine Wright of the Wicklow Family History
Centre, Wicklow County Council's geneal-
ogy research service and a member centre
of the Irish Family History Foundation.
Bernard Short of Killoughter
Our starting point is Bernard Short, who
according to family knowledge, was born to
Daniel Short in Killoughter before 1900 and
died in Dublin in the 1950s. The first step was
to check the 1911 Census for Bernard: