"Ireland's most active genealogical society"

Your own family tree

A family tree (Also known as a “Pedigree Chart” or “Ancestor Chart”) is a representation of family relationships by means of a chart or computer model, and is the primary tool of genealogists for such representation.

In its basic form, the family tree shows yourself at it’s base level, with two parents at the second level, four grandparents at the third level, eight great-grandparents at the 4th level, and so on through all of your known ancestors. Typically the goals of genealogists are (1) to extend the number of levels and branches of the tree, (2) to improve confidence in the accuracy of the information therein and (3) to enrich the information with biographical information on these ancestors.

Developing your family tree

  1. Start with what you know – and document it
  2. Talk to your eldest living relatives and document the information which they provide – photographs (particularly photos with dates), family bibles, mortuary cards, scrapbooks, and other treasured family documents are particularly useful.
  3. Based on the above, can you find ancestors in the 1911 or 1901 census? In Griffiths Valuation 1847-64?
  4. Start to confirm your information by reference to reliable information sources – birth, marriage, and death certificates, church documents, etc.
  5. Establish a simple but reliable system for filing your ever-growing pile of documents – to ensure that your work can be passed on to your descendants
  6. Consider publishing, either as a private publication or as a document for sale. As soon as this is done, every genealogist finds that additional information is uncovered or comes to light, and further updates are added.

Free booklets to help develop your family tree

A simple template for a family tree, prepared by The Genealogical Society of Ireland can be downloaded here 

The 28-page booklet “Tracing your Ancestors in Ireland” (produced by Fáilte Ireland www.failteireland.ie) can be downloaded here

A 24-page booklet entitled “Family History Research – sources at The National Library of Ireland”, produced by The National Library of Ireland can be downloaded here

Computer-based systems for documenting your family tree

There is a wide range of computer-based systems available, this website will not attempt to make a recommendation.

Systems may be classified as web-based systems and client-based systems. In a web-based system, the information is held by the provider of the system on his computer. In a client-based system, all information is held on your own computer. There are advantages in either system

Wikipedia provides an extensive comparison of the facilities available on client-based systems here