Friday, April 29, 2011

Irish Genealogy Database

     The search for the birthplace in Ireland of my Gunn ancestors has finally been successful thanks to my new favorite internet database .  From her marriage record, I knew the names of my great grandmother Mary Gunn's parents and that she was born in Ireland, but that was all I knew.  The clues have been few and far between, but they've finally come together.  The first came in a small Catholic cemetery located in Palmyra, NY.  There, next to the maintenance shed stood the badly weathered gravestone of my presumed great, great uncle George Gunn.  It bore what looked like the inscription, "Native of Listo, County Kerry, Ireland".  George, I later discovered, is next to the shed because at the time of his death, he was deemed undeserving of a Catholic burial and was placed in non-sacred ground.  The joke was on them though, the cemetery has grown to such an extent that George is now surrounded on all sides by holy ground.
     The second clue was his death certificate.  It named his birthplace as County Kerry, and his parents as John Gunn and Margaret Browne, the very same parents listed in Mary's marriage record.  Mary's name also appeared on the death certificate as the informant.  Taken together I concluded they were almost certainly siblings.  Clue three was finding George's name on the passenger list of a ship arriving in America in 1890, his address --  Listowel, now the partial word Listo on his stone made sense.  Listowel is a town, but also a parish so I knew the family's home wasn't necessarily in the town of Listowel.
     The breakthrough came from the Irish Genealogy site. There I found the baptismal records of not just George Gunn, but his sister Mary, brother Francis and a previously unknown sister Seragh.  The information included names of parents and godparents, and more remarkably, those transcriptions contained a townland, Ballygologue, County Kerry!  The site has records from Roman Catholic parishes in Kerry, Dublin and Cork.  Church of Ireland records are available from Carlow and Kerry along with Presbyterian records from Dublin.  The site is easy to navigate, and although there are as yet no images of my records, they promise they are coming, along with new records.  If only there were more sites like this one, and did I mention, it’s free!


  1. Great for you. Don't you love the way new online records are flowing in. Have you used Irish records?

  2. I love your story about George Gunn. That was a great way to weave in the technology aspect!

  3. Thanks hummer and finding, glad you liked the post.