Birth, Marriage & Death Records
Civil registration in Ireland started in 1845 with non-Catholic marriages, but full registration of all births, marriages and deaths including Catholics, did not commence until 1864. Unfortunately, many parish records prior to 1900 have not survived.
Ballycastle Catholic Registers
The following registers are held at St. Bridget's Church, Ballycastle, Co. Mayo. The registers can be viewed if you visit in person, but no genealogy services are available. The priest can be reached at +353 (0) 96 43010 to make an appointment. These registers up to 1880 are also available on microfiche film #1279204 from LDS.
Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes 1845-1958(free, online searchable database)
Part of new pilot database from the LDS Familysearch.org (see above). The indexes for Irish birth, marriage, and death records came on line 23 January 2009.
Mayo Ancestors(online searchable database)
Free to search for Mayo births and marriages, but it costs 3 - 10 Euros to view the details from each search. Includes civil records 1864-1900 and the limited surviving 19th century parish records. Run by the North & South Mayo Family History Centres.
Irish Family History Foundation (online searchable, but pay per view) Claims to be the largest family records database in Ireland. You can search on-line for free but you pay for each document you view (8 Euros per credit). They also offer commissioned research.
One of the most comprehensive collections of family history records, including Irish. The subscription costs from about £9 to £13 per month (2014 prices).
Family Search(LDS, free searchable databases)
Many parish records are on microfiche only, and can be ordered to view at your local LDS center for a nominal fee. Film # 1279204 includes baptisms (1853-1880) and marriages (1869-1880) from the Catholic Church in Ballycastle.
Templemurry, Co. Mayo Baptism Records (free)
Some transcribed baptism records (1854-1884) from Steelaun and Rathfran in Templemurry, Co. Mayo (near Killala), hosted by the IrelandGenweb project.
Headstones in North County Mayo(free, online searchable database)
There are very few surviving records of deaths or burials in old graveyards in Ireland prior to the 20th century, so this searchable catalogue of legible headstones from graveyards and cemeteries in North County Mayo provides a unique resource.
1911 & 1901 Irish censuses(free, online searchable database)
Currently being digitised by the Irish National Archives, Mayo came on-line on 28th August 2009. Nice search facilities. Original census forms can also be viewed.
1901 Irish census(free, online searchable database)
Includes 300,000 individuals for seven counties: Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, Sligo, Wexford and Westmeath, and is free to search. Provides useful alternative search options to the National Archives census search
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Genes Reunited(online searchable database)
Searchable UK web site with over 500 million names where you can post your family tree. Includes many Irish ancestors. Free to post your family tree and to search, but you pay a six-month fee (£15) to contact the owners of other family trees.
The IrelandGenWeb Project for County Mayo
A collection of genealogical resources and links for County Mayo. This is part of the WorldGenWeb Project, which is a not-for-profit volunteer genealogical organization.
Irish Telephone Directory
If you know the townland that your ancestors came from, this is a quick way to check if any descendants still live there. Of course, not all telephones numbers are listed. Don't forget to click the "Residential" button before you start the search.
National Archives of Ireland
Offers various genealogy resources and further links to other genealogy sites. They are very helpful if you visit in person.
Indicates how common the surname was by county during the 19th century.
Genealogical DNA Testing
If you can't find the necessary records, then a simple DNA test might help. By comparing your DNA (from saliva or a cheek swab) with a genealogical database, it may be possible to determine if you share a recent common ancestor with another person in the database, and it is possible to get an indication of how closely related you are. DNA tests can also be used to determine your ethnic origins. Several such databases are now on-line, including the Ireland Y-DNA project.
There are three types of DNA that can be tested:
Autosomal DNA tests have the advantage that they track all your ancestral lines (both male & female). However, unlike Y-DNA tests, they are limited in range to only a few generations as autosomal DNA gets diluted by 50% at each generation. The current tests (as of Feb 2013) record about 1 million SNPs which allows comparisons of about 6 or more generations back (e.g. fourth-cousins). As of 2014, most of the DNA testing companies charge about $99 (plus shipping) for their test. A comparison of autosomal DNA testing companies is posted here.
mtDNA (mitochondrial DNA) is passed down virtually unchanged through the direct female line only, but males inherit their mother's mtDNA. Males and females can use their own mtDNA to track their maternal lineage, but the Y-DNA test is usually more useful.
Y-DNA is passed through the direct male lineage only, unchanged over many generations, and is used to trace male (surname) lineage. Females need to test Y-DNA from a close male relative such as a brother, father or paternal uncle. One of the most widely used genealogical tests is the Y-chromosome 37 STR marker (Y-DNA37) which starts from about $169 USD (as of 2013). This was the DNA test used by the Golden and Langan families posted on this web site.
Family tree building software (free) A free version of Legacy Family Tree is available for download. There is also a paid version with extra features. The free version seems adequate for most users and was used to create the descendant charts, etc. on this web site.