FAQ: Frequently asked questions about our family history research service

North Mayo Family History Service Frequently Asked Questions

  1. How do I begin my family history search?
  2. How far back do your records go?
  3. What areas do you cover?
  4. What will research cost me?
  5. What is the minimum information you would need in order to be able to assist me with my ancestor search?
  6. I have memberships to various genealogical sites but have hit a brick wall.  Have you any additional information not available online?
  7. Can I get copies of Birth/Marriage/Death Certs?
  8. Can I access your records myself if I call to the centre?
  9. Can you assist me if I live in the US as I will not be travelling to Ireland this year?
  10. Can you locate my ancestors grave and homestead?
  11. I had research done 10 years ago. Would there be additional information available now?
  12. Can you locate living relatives for me?
  13. Do you have historical maps?
  14. I have carried out a large amount of research myself,  can you confirm this is correct?
  15. How long will it take for you to carry out the research?
  16. How many records do you have?
  17. Can you recommend any books on the local history of the area I am researching?
  18. Can I purchase local history books from you?
  19. Can I obtain information on the history of the port my ancestor departed from?
  20. What methods of payment do you accept?
  21. Can I speak to a researcher on the telephone?
  22. Do I have to book a consultation or can I call in without an appointment?
  23. How long is the consultation and how many searches can I have carried out by the researcher in this time?
  24. Do you have just Catholic records? What other denominations do you have?
  25. What sort of records do you hold?
  26. When did Parish records commence?
  27. When did the Civil registration of records begin and where are they held?
  28. What are the latest dates for records held at the centre?
  29. Can I get access to Parish records?

How do I begin my family history search?

The best place to start is by completing our application form with as much information as you already have, and what questions you would like us to answer.

How far back do your records go?

This depends on the parish and the religious denomination. As a rule of thumb, Church of Ireland records tend to start earlier than Roman Catholic, Methodist and Presbyterian records.

Some Church of Ireland parishes have records from the mid 1770s. In general, there is very limited scope for research prior to 1800. In the case of Roman Catholic records, this applies to c.1820. You can view the full list of parish record commencement dates on our website:

http://www.northmayogenealogy.com/the-parishes-of-north-mayo/

What areas do you cover?

We cover 29 Roman Catholic parishes which comprise the northern half of Co. Mayo, from Achill in the west to Carracastle, near Knock Airport, in the east. A map of our catchment area can be viewed here: http://www.northmayogenealogy.com/the-parishes-of-north-mayo/

What will research cost me?

This depends on how much research time you wish to purchase. One hour of research carried out remotely will cost €45. Three hours of research will cost €115. Because of their comprehensive nature and the time it takes to produce them, hard bound full family history reports generally cost from €350 upwards depending on the amount of information included.

What is the minimum information you would need in order to be able to assist me with my ancestor search? 

You will need the name of an ancestor, and in the case of an ancestor who died outside of Ireland, the name of at least one of their parents, preferably their mother’s maiden name.

We can assist you in finding this information also.

I have memberships to various genealogical sites but have hit a brick wall.  Have you any additional information not available online?

Yes, we have a number of records sets which are not online, Most of these pertain to the 20th century however. We also have access to a local newspaper archive which is very useful in this regard.

Can I get copies of Birth/Marriage/Death Certs?

Actual certificate copies of marriage and birth certificates are NOT available from our centre, because we are not legally licenced to dispense them. These must be obtained from either the local registrar’s office, or online from a government website. However, if you are looking for the information contained on a given record, as opposed to having the record itself, or if you require information to help you obtain an actual copy of a certificate, we can assist you in that research.

Can I access your records myself if I call to the centre?

Our centre operates on a researcher/client basis. We are not facilitated to allow clients to search our records in the centre. We are also bound in this matter by the agreements with those bodies who supply us with the records in the first instance.

Can you assist me if I live in the US as I will not be travelling to Ireland this year?

Absolutely. In fact, we have produced all levels of research, from small single issue projects to comprehensive family histories for clients whom we have never met in person, and who have never visited Ireland. All our research services are available to you regardless of whether you can travel or not.

Can you provide me with a map showing the location of my ancestor’s grave or homestead?

Homesteads: In the majority of cases we can locate a townland of origin for your ancestors. In some cases, the sources may be of sufficient detail to allow us to be even more specific. However, many old buildings of the era no longer stand, and it is more the location than the building that may be identified.

Graves: The majority of inscribed headstones in Co. Mayo date from the 1930s onwards. Headstones were very expensive to commission, and earlier headstones were either the preserve of wealthier families or were paid for by family members overseas. In the vast majority of cases where an inscription exists, we will find it. In other cases, we can usually deduce the location of the relevant graveyard.

In all cases, maps and coordinates/directions will be provided to get you there. Always respect the rights of property owners and ask permission before entering.

I had research done 10 years ago. Would there be additional information available now?

There very often is, mostly concerning records of more recent vintage. Usually, it is not possible to research back much earlier than your existing research. It’s always worth contacting us and asking however, as in this case, each individual piece of research is different.

Can you locate living relatives for me?

It is the policy of the centre not to put people directly in touch with living relatives for reasons of consent and privacy. Our research may indicate a recently deceased relative. 

Do you have historical maps?

We have access to the full range of Ordnance Survey historical maps,as well as those connected with Griffith’s Valuation of Tenements.

<strong>What if I have carried out a large amount of research myself,  can you confirm this is correct?

Yes, we can cross check and verify projects like this. This work is generally time consuming and as a result it can be at the larger end of the cost scale.

How long will it take for you to carry out the research?

Small projects of one or two hours’ duration are normally returned to the client in a matter of days. Those of longer duration are returned within four to five weeks depending on the amount of research we are already undertaking at the time. A full Family History Report will take several weeks, but this is broken into stages where the client will see the report  in draft form before it is added to or finalised.

How many records do you have?

Our database holds 1.2 million records.

Can you recommend any books on the local history of the area I am researching?

Yes, our experience in research has allowed us to be a very helpful guide in this area. Our bookshop also sells a variety of books on the history of the local area.

Can I purchase local history books from you?

Our bookshop also sells a variety of books on the history of the local area. Please note however that some titles are out of print and difficult to obtain.

Can I obtain information on the history of the port my ancestor departed from?

In general, you will be able to at least get an idea of which one it is. However, emigration records from the period pre the 1890s tend not to be very detailed. Also, it is important to state that, as there was a political union between Ireland and England in the 19th and early 20th century, travelling from Ireland to England was classified as internal travel, and documentation is very scarce for this reason.

What methods of payment do you have?

We accept cash, credit and debit cards (currently not AmEx), cheques and those paying online can use our PayPal facility without needing a PayPal account.

Can I speak to a researcher on the telephone?

Yes, you can speak with a researcher on the telephone. This is not a substitute for a consultation however, and we encourage all of our clients to commit their research and their questions to writing.

Do I have to book a consultation or can I call in without an appointment?

We encourage all visitors to make a prior appointment with us. This avoids double booking.

How long is the consultation and how many searches can I have carried out by the researcher in this time?  

Our in-person consultations last for one hour. Usually you will be able to have a few specific questions or problems answered in that time, or if you wish to locate a homestead or a grave etc, the consultation is ideal for that also.

Do you have just Catholic records? What other denominations do you have?

No, we also have records from the Church of Ireland, Prebyterian and Methodist records and a vast number of civil records of births, marriages and deaths.

What sort of records do you hold?

We hold records of births, baptisms, marriages, confirmations, consanguinities, deaths, burials, graves, court and land taxation records, some rental records, newspaper records, parish magazines, local history books and access to a vast array of records from overseas, especially the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.

When did the Civil registration of records begin and where are they held?

The civil registration of births, marriages and deaths for everyone in Ireland began in 1864. There is one exception to this. Members of the Church of Ireland were required to register their marriages from 1845. We have access to the records of birth up to 100 years old, marriages up to 75 years old and deaths up to 50 years old. Therefore, each year, we gain access to an extra year of records, as this legal limit is a rolling limit.

When did Parish records commence?

Church of Ireland parishes commenced from the mid 1770s onwards, and some of these parishes commenced their records a little later, around 1800. Roman Catholic parishes commenced their records in the 1820s at the earliest, but some of these parishes commenced much later, in the 1840s and 1850s. We have three R.C. parishes for whom there are no surviving records until the 1870s – Attymass, Ballycroy and Toomore.

What are the latest dates for records held at the centre?

Generally our records for all events except deaths and burials cease c.1930.

Can I have access to Parish records?

Not here at the centre. You will need to make direct contact with the relevant parish for that.

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