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With the kind permission of the Central Library, Letterkenny, County Donegal 


Finding aids for family history research in County Donegal

4th edition
Updated January 2009



FOR C17, C18 AND C19 

A 2   LAND RECORDS          5





B 2 CHURCH RECORDS IN DONEGAL ANCESTRY  14-17                  
PART C   - GETTING STARTED      18    
C 2           FAMILY HISTORY BY TOWN AND PARISH           19-20

Appendix- Genealogical Research information in   29-31
                 Donegal County Archives ( updated  2008)

Central Library opening hours     32

Part A: Sources in Central Library

Your chances of success in tracing ancestors will greatly depend on the amount of information you have to begin with. It is advisable to talk to as many older members of your family as you can to glean what information they have, even if they themselves might not regard what they know as very much.  You should also check any documentation, including family Bibles and old family letters, which may contain relevant information.  Every snippet of information can be checked against the sources later, although in many cases family lore may take you back further than the sources listed below. 

If you live outside Ireland it is wise to consult, as well as family lore, all records that might have a reference to the ancestor(s) in question; immigration records, passenger lists, naturalisation records, civil and church records, military records, convict transportation records (for Australia).  Knowing the birthplace of the ancestor being researched – the townland or even the parish – will often make all the difference between a successful and unsuccessful search.

Please note that many of the sources most often referred to in books on genealogy, including the older sources listed below, will be of little use to the majority of people searching for their ancestors.  This is because usually only prominent landowners were listed. The vast bulk of printed and MSS information on genealogy and family history contained in the principal repositories in Ireland refers to a fairly small group of families.  Ironically these are usually people who need such information least, as their own genealogies are documented in their family legal papers.

The following major sources are available in the Central Library:

A 1. Census Records and Census Substitutes

1901 and 1911 Census
Because of the destruction of the Four Courts building during the Civil War, the earliest surviving complete records are for the censuses taken in 1901 and 1911.  We hold microfilm copies of both the 1901 and 1911 Census returns for the County, [originals in the National Archives].  These lists all those present in the household on the night of the census (31st March 1901, and on a range of dates from January to May 1911), their relationship to the householder, religion, occupation, age and other personal details.  The returns are arranged by District Electoral Division and townland.   *Microfilm

Other records in this category can be classed as census substitutes.

Muster Rolls
Dating from1630, this is the oldest census substitute record we hold.  It is a list of able-bodied men able to fight, if needed, for the Crown, listed by barony and ‘undertaker’.  It is reprinted in Donegal Annual Vol. 10 (2). 1972. pp 130-149, from the BM Add.  MS 4770  manuscript.

Civil Survey
This is a record of land ownership compiled between 1654 and 1656.  The Civil Survey for Donegal is printed, along with those for Derry and Tyrone, in a monograph published in 1937. [The Civil survey A.D. 1654-1656. Dublin: Stationery Officer, 1937].

Pender’s ‘Census’
This is a similar record, laid out by barony and townland, listing persons with title to land, the numbers of Irish and English, and principal Irish names (a valuable list).  It takes its name from Seamus Pender, who edited it, but it was compiled in 1659 by William Petty.  [Seamus Pender. A Census of Ireland circa 1659. Dublin: Stationery Officer, 1939].

Pynnar’s Survey
This is, like Pender’s Census, a survey of the native Irish tenants remaining on forfeited lands, and is contained in The Plantation in Ulster by George Hill. Belfast: M’Caw, Stevenson & Orr, 1877.  621p.

Hearth Money Rolls
These list the names of householders who were eligible to pay the Hearth Tax, and were compiled in 1665.  Ours is an indexed photocopy, from the PRONI T. 307/C manuscript.

Abstract of Wills in the Registry of Deeds
Volume 1 1708 - 1745
Volume 2 1746 - 1785
Volume 3 1785 - 1832.

This is a bound typescript of the owners of freeholds in Donegal, registered between 1760 and 1769.  The original manuscripts were found in the basement of Lifford Courthouse in 1933 and sent to the National Library.

Raphoe Marriage Registers
This is a photocopy of some 18th century Catholic marriages in the Protestant registers of the Diocese of Raphoe.

Protestant householders
A list of Protestant householders in the parish of Leck in 1766 is reprinted in Lecky’s The Laggan and its Presbyterianism (1905).  This also lists Hearth Money Rolls for East Donegal [1665], tenants on the Abercorn estate, and householders in St. Johnston, both 1794.

Parish of Culdaff
This is a photocopy of a List of persons in the Parish of Culdaff, March 8th, 1782.

Spinning-wheel premium lists/the “Flax List”
This is a photocopy of those persons in Donegal to whom a premium was paid in 1796, in connection with the spinning of flax.

Tithe Applotments
These are lists of landholders, originally compiled as the basis for compulsory payments to the local rector, on behalf of the Church of Ireland, (the established church). We hold the Tithe Applotment books for the parishes of Aghaninshin (1834), Aughnish (1830), Burt (183-); Desertegney (183-) and Donegal (183-).  That for Mevagh (1827) is reprinted in Leslie Lucas’s Mevagh down the years Belfast: Appletree Press, 1982. [originals in the National Archives].  *Microfilm

Other Photocopied Material
‘Donegal remembers World War I dead’ (a list of men from the County
 who fought and died in World War I).
A List of families in the Parish of Conwal 1878 / compiled by W. Craig.
Old Letterkenny families / compiled by Sam Fleming.
Murlog  Church baptisms 1773-1777.
St. Eunan’s Letterkenny: List of Marriage Lines 1857.

Protestant householders in the parish of Templecrone 1799

List of High Sheriffs of County Donegal 1702-1921

List of tenants on William Connolly’s estate 1718-1726 (Donegal Annual 1981)

A 2. Land Records

Griffith’s Primary Valuation

This – the first standard valuation of all real property in Ireland – lists householders and lessors by townland, parish, poor law union, and barony.  We hold a full set for Donegal, in volumes arranged by barony.  Although the publication dates for County Donegal are stated to be 1857-58, there is strong evidence to suggest that the valuation was carried out up to a decade earlier.  It is known, for instance, that some persons listed as being present in 1857-58 had died in the Famine.  The maps relating to Griffith’s Valuation are in the Valuation Office, Dublin. Entries for all the Donegal Unions are in book form.  The entries for the rest of Ireland are on *Microfiche.

Genealogical and family history information is also to be found in some monographs e.g. Amy Isabel Young’s Three hundred years in Inishowen Belfast: McCann, Stevenson & Orr, 1929, Charlie Conaghan’s History and antiquities of Killybegs Ballyshannon, 1975, and in many local community publications.

Hamilton Estate Rentals (Fintown) 1818-1849 (microfilm)
List of tenants in the townlands of Ballydermott, Ballydavitt, Ballinamore, and Magherybeg comprising the Hamilton estate; acreage rented, rents and arrears.  *Microfilm
On the same microfilm:
Manorvaughan and Dutton Estate records of the Third Earl of Leitrim for the year 1836.
Includes such townlands as Cooladerry, Rinmore, Magheradrummond, Fanavolty, Rosapenna, Ba;;ynabrocky, Ballyvehill.  Names of tenants, population statistics, land valuation, annual rents, some of the Earl’s observations about his tenants.


A 3. Other Sources in Central Library

Royal Irish Constabulary index 1816-1922 (microfiche)

An alphabetised listing of men who joined the RIC between 1816 until its disbandment in 1922.
Name; age; married or single; native county; year of enlistment; whether emigrated and to where.  *Microfiche

Passenger Lists

We hold a number of published passenger lists (mainly for vessels leaving Derry Port) and of US immigration lists.  The earliest records date from 1735.  They include:
Donegal passengers on the Assisted Passenger Lists from Plymouth, England to Sydney Australia 1848-1868 compiled by Richard Reid.

Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 by Frances McDonnell.
Passengers from Ireland: lists of passengers arriving at American ports between 1811 and 1817 / by Donald M. Schlegel.

Irish passenger lists 1847-1871: lists of passengers sailing from Londonderry to America on ships of the J & J. Cooke Line and the McCorkell Line / complied by Brian Mitchell.

Passenger list of the ‘Invercargill’ which sailed to New Zealand 1878 (65 passengers from County Donegal [photocopy].

Immigration of Irish Quakers into Pennsylvania 1682-1750

The Famine Immigrants, listing Irish immigrants arriving at the Port of New York [7 volumes]

Volume 1: Jan 1846  –  June 1847
Volume 2: July 1847 –   June 1848
Volume 3: July 1848  –  March 1849
Volume 4: April 1849  –  Sept 1849
Volume 5: Oct 1849  –   May 1850
Volume 6: June 1850 – March 1851
Volume 7: April 1851  –  Dec 1851

The Search for Missing Friends: Irish immigrant advertisements placed in the Boston Pilot [8 volumes]

Volume 1: 1831  –  1850
Volume 2: 1851 –  1853
Volume 3: 1854  –  1856
Volume 4: 1857  –  1860
Volume 5: 1861  –  1865
Volume 6: 1866  –  1870
Volume 7: 1871  –  1876
Volume 8: 1877  –  1920.


Parish Registers available in Central Library

We have Church of Ireland parish registers for Inver, Mountcharles, Killaghtee and Killybegs, all in the South of the County.  The Inver records (Baptisms and Marriages) begin in 1805, Killybegs Baptisms in 1809 and Marriages in 1838, Killaghtee Marriages begin in 1857 and baptisms in 1873, and Mountcharles Marriages in 1861 and Baptisms in 1877.
 *Microfilm.  No printouts

Index to parish records of:- Years available
First Letterkenny Presbyterian Church 1845-1899
Gortlee (Letterkenny) Reformed Presbyterian Church 1872-1898
Letterkenny Second Presbyterian Church 1821-1858
Letterkenny Third Presbyterian Church 1841-1899
Milford Presbyterian Church 1838-1899
Rathmullan Presbyterian Church 1845-1899
Fanad Presbyterian Church 1827-1899

Gravestone Inscriptions

Typescript records of gravestone inscriptions for the following graveyards, some include maps:

Aughaninshin    St. Catherine’s, Killybegs
Balleeghan    Kilmacrennan
Bruckless    Kilmonaster
Clonleigh    Leck
Gartan     St. Eunan’s Cathedral, Raphoe
Old Inver    Raymoghy
Church of Ireland, Inver  Tullaghobegley
Old Killaghtee   Tullyaughnish
Church of Ireland, Killaghtee Drumholm
St Mary’s Stranorlar

A number of gravestone inscriptions have been published:

Assaroe Abbey
in Ó Gallachair, Pádraig. ‘Assaroe Cemetery’ Donegal Annual Vol. 3 (3). 1957. pp81-107.

Ballyshannon, Church of Ireland
in Begley, Anthony. ‘Graveyard inscriptions at St. Anne’s Church of Ireland, Ballyshannon’. Donegal Annual Vol 12 (2). 1978. pp320-358.
Carne, Pettigo
in Ó Gallachair, Pádraig, Slevin, P., and Cunningham, John ‘Carne graveyard, Pettigo, Co. Donegal’ Donegal Annual Vol. 41, 1989.  pp135-156.

in Ó Gallachair, Padraig Where Erne and Drowes meet the Sea [s.l.: s.n.] 1961.

Machaire Gathláin (Maheragallon)
in Irish Family History 5, 1989. pp.

Trade Directories 

We hold a range of directories which list the merchants, professionals, clergy  and  “gentry” in each town. These include:

Slater’s Directory of Ireland 1846, 1856, 1870, 1881 and 1884.  *Microfiche

Pigot’s Directory of Ireland 1820, 1821, 1822 and 1824.

Porter’s Guide to the manufacturers and shippers of Ireland  1908.  Book

NB BOOKING ADVISED FOR USE OF MICROFILM /MICROFICHE ITEMS. See page 32 for Library opening hours and contact numbers.


Part B: Sources in Other Centres in Donegal

Registrar of Births, Marriages & Deaths
Civil registration of vital records only began in January 1864; prior to that date the local Church of Ireland minister, as the representative of the Established Church, was responsible for registering births.
The Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths for County Donegal are kept at St. Conal’s Hospital, Letterkenny. Tel 074 – 9124576.

Donegal County Archives

Since the early days of the library service in County Donegal, the County Library had been entrusted with the records of public bodies in the County – Boards of Guardians, Rural District Councils etc.  In addition, a number of manuscripts and sets of private papers had been given to the Library.  For many years these were located in unsuitable accommodation, in the basement of Lifford Courthouse.  Between 1986 and 1993 the County Archive Centre was located in purpose-designed accommodation in the Courthouse; the Archives is now based in the Three Rivers Centre Lifford.  Contact Niamh Brennan, Archivist, 074 -9172490.

Donegal County Archives - Poor Law Guardian Records

County Donegal is fortunate in having a reasonably comprehensive collection of Poor Law Guardian Records.  These are now held in the County Archives.

There were 8 Boards of Guardians in Donegal, covering the Poor Law Unions of Ballyshannon, Donegal, Dunfanaghy, Glenties, Inishowen, Letterkenny, Milford and Stranorlar.  Parts of the east of the County were included in Derry and Strabane Unions, but their records are not held in Lifford. 
Reasonably complete runs of Minute Books survive for each of the Unions, except for Donegal Union.  The Minute Books run to over 30 metres and they date from the 1840’s to 1923. 

As well as the Minute Books the following may be of use in genealogical research:

Punishment Book 1879 –c.1900: 165 entries giving name, offence and punishment: no details of location.
Ballyshannon Poor Law Union

Clothing Receipt Book (April 1905-September 1924).

Donegal Poor Law Union

Indoor Admission and Discharge Book (1919-21).
Indoor Relief Register (March 1914-September 1924) (possibly for Donegal PLU).

Dunfanaghy Poor Law Union

Indoor Relief Register (1856-1915) (probably for Dunfanaghy PLU). 5,000 names with age, address, religion, occupation and date of discharge or death.

Glenties Poor Law Union

Workhouse Admission Register, December 1850-October 1866).  4,960 names giving age, occupation, religion, location, date of admission and discharge.
Workhouse Admission Register (1884-96) (BG92/G/3).  5,000 names.

Indoor Relief Register (1914-1921).

Separate register (September 1913-March 1922) giving full name, address, age, occupation and religion for individuals admitted to or discharged from the Fever Hospital or Infirmary.

Indoor Relief Register (1907).  5,140 names.

Inishowen Poor Law Union
Workhouse Admission Register (September 1849-May 1859) (BG97/G/2). 5,000 names.  At the back of the book there are lists of orphans and deserted children hired out of the Workhouse (May 1853 and 1 January 1857 – 1 January 1858), noting name, person to who hired and employment (mainly herding cattle).

Indoor Relief Register (1899-1907) (BG97/G/5). 5,000 names.

Outdoor Relief, Admission and Discharge Book (1901-11), (probably Inishowen PLU), including name of person, or head of family relieved and amount of relief allowed.

Workhouse Admission Register (1907-11) (possibly Inishowen Workhouse) (BG97/G/6). 5,000 names.

Indoor Relief Register (1911-1918). 5,000 names.

Letterkenny Poor Law Union

Outdoor Relief Register (1855-64) (BG109/EA/1). 1,870 names.

Workhouse Admission Register (1864-77) (BG109/E/1).  4,120 names.
Outdoor Relief Register (1899-November 1921) (possibly Letterkenny). 1,993 names.

Indoor Relief Register (1919-1922) (possibly Letterkenny, but including Ramelton, Rathmullan, Dunfanaghy). 1,024 names.

Milford Poor Law Union+
Report Book of Visiting Committee (6 April 1846-25 May 1912).

Outdoor Relief Register (December 1847-1899) (BG119/EA/1).  2,160 names.

Workhouse Admission Register (1855-75) (BG119/G/1).  4,000 names.

Workhouse Indoor Register (1880-97) (BG119/G/3). 5,000 names.

Stranorlar Poor Law Union
Dispensary Committee Minute Book (March 1852-1899).

+Check the website for a comprehensive article on Milford PLU


B 1 Donegal County Archives – Other Primary Sources

Grand Juries
Grand Juries had both local government and judicial functions; the Archives hold a significant amount of the former type:

ca. 30 volumes of Grand Jury Presentments, proposals, discharges etc., dating from ca. 1840-1890, including a volume (1807-9) with lavish annotation and manuscript.

Grand Jury Public Orders (1831) with manuscript annotations.

Local Authorities
The County Archive Centre holds records of the County Council and of the (now defunct) Rural District Councils.  These run to more than 30 metres but do not appear to contain much material of use in genealogical research.  Individual items, such as the registers of motorcars from 1902 on, and some rent/rate books, would be of interest to the social historian. The County Archives also holds the Minute Book of Co. Donegal Branch of Irish Medical Association 1903-1977.

Estate Records
The other major resource held by the County Archive Centre is the collection of estate records.  These hold information relating to tenants on the estates, and such information can be invaluable where no other details survive.  The collection is by no means comprehensive and has been put together by donation, purchase and, on some occasions, the adoption of the ‘finders keepers’ rule.  The collection includes:

Maps of Altahalla and Clehagh by John H. Brophy CE, Waterford 1865.

R.H. Nolan and Company (Londonderry) Valuation of Donegal Estate of Burton Irwin Esq (1882-3) giving names of tenants.

Bound volume of photostat copies of maps of lands in the barony of Kilmacrennan, Co. Donegal, estate of Robert Clements Esq., surveyed 1779 by David McCool, scale 20 plantation perches, one inch, 65pp: gives names and lessees.

Printed Rental and particulars of sale (landed estate courts) Harvey Estate, Gransha, Trillick, Ludden etc., Inishowen, Co. Donegal, 18 March 1879.

Book of maps of Alexander Murray Esq’s estate in Co. Donegal. 1749-50 This is described as “a book of survey and valuation….land in the County of Donegal, part of the estate of Alexander Murray Esq of North Britain taken by the advance of Captain James Murray of Co. Monaghan by John Bell of Cootehill, Co. Cavan, Land Surveyor in the year 1749.

Volume of maps of part of the estate of Alexander Murray Esq in Co. Donegal as directed by Murray Babington Esq and surveyed by William Rutledge, David Johnston, Irvine Aiken and Thomas Elliott, 1813-14, for G. Montgomery (brown volume of photostat copies).

Receiver’s Rental and Account 1852 (in the case of Murray v. Scarborough): 1614 names of tenants with townland locations and details of rent due and arrears.

Rentals for Irish Estates of H.G. Murray Stewart Esq in the parishes of Killymard, Killybegs Upper and Lower, Killaghtee and Inishkeel, Co. Donegal, 1852, 1865,1876,1880,1885-6,1890-91,1869-70.

Photostat copies (bound) of William Petty’s  Down Survey of Counties Donegal and Londonderry from NLI.

Account Book of Irish and Scotch Estates 1859-61, 1858-9. 

Bound volume of photocopies of 1641 depositions for Co. Donegal.

Tel: 074-9172490


Donegal Ancestry’s Genealogical Service

Donegal Ancestry Ltd. is the official Irish Family History Foundation centre for County Donegal.  It aims to provide a comprehensive genealogical research service to personal callers and enquirers by post, telephone, and internet.  It offers a range of fee–paying services. Contact Donegal Ancestry, The Quay, Ramelton. Tel  074 – 9151266. Website
Donegal Ancestry has computerised and indexed a range of civil, church and land records:

Civil Records

The Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths for Donegal are the responsibility of the North Western Health Board.  They date from 1864, and so do not cover the Famine and pre-Famine period, which is of so much interest to descendents of Donegal people in North America and Australia.

The General Register Office in Dublin holds master indexes to all the Registers, and microfilm copies of the original, and is open to the public for research.  It is advisable to have as much information as possible to hand before beginning a search of the Registers, to cut down on time and costs.

B 2.Church Records

Because of the destruction of the Census records for 1821, 1831, 1841, 1851 in the Four Courts fire in 1922 (those for 1861 and 1871 had not been kept), and the fact that civil registration began only in 1864, Church records are especially important in Ireland.  In the case of Donegal church records, especially Roman Catholic ones, are remarkable for their paucity.  The oldest RC records in the County are those for Clonleigh (Lifford) which began in 1773, but this is unusual.  For large and prosperous parishes such as Letterkenny and Stranorlar, for instance, they began in 1853 and 1860 respectively, and in Gleann Cholm Cille they began only in 1880.  The situation with Presbyterian and Church of Ireland records is considerably better, the oldest Presbyterian records date from 1806 (?), and the oldest Church of Ireland from 1691 (Drumholm).

The Church of Ireland, Presbyterian and Methodist records, and some of the Roman Catholic records have been indexed by Donegal Ancestry, as part of the Irish Genealogical Project.



 Commencement Dates
All Saints 1877 1845 1820
Ardara 1829 1829 1830
Burt 1829 1829 1829
Clondahorky East 1870 1845 1884
Clondavaddog 1794 1794 1794
Clonleigh 1868 1845 1855
Convoy 1871 1844 1881
Desertegney 1878 1848 1879
Donaghmore 1818 1825 1825
Donegal 1808 1812 1812
Drumhome 1719 1691 1696
Dunfanaghy CI 1869 - 1873
Dunlewy - 1853 -
Fahan Lower 1817 1816 1822
Fahan Upper 1762 1814 1832
Glenalla 1871 1871 -
Glencolmcille 1827 1845 1827
Glenties 1898 1856 1898
Inch 1868 1846 1868
Inniskeel 1826 1827 1826
Inver 1805 1805 1818
Kilcar 1819 1819 1818
Killaghtee 1868 1857 1874
Killea 1877 1845 1880
Killybegs 1809 1810 1820
Killygarvan 1706 1707 1706
Killymard 1827 1845 1819
Kilmacrennan  1818 1818 1818
Laghey 1877 1847 1877
Lettermacaward 1889 1846 1890
Lough Eske 1876 - -
Mevagh 1876 1846 1877
Milford 1879 1860 -
Monellan 1872 1874 1885
Mountcharles 1877 1861 -
Raphoe CI 1771 1771 1771
Raymunterdoney 1878 1845 1880
Rossnowlagh 1879 1845 -
Taughboyne 1820 1820 1820
Templecrone 1878 1849 1851
Tullaghobegley 1848 1845 1850
Tullyaughnish 1798 1788 1798

 Commencement Dates


Gortlee - 1872 -
Milford - 1864 -
Stranorlar RP - 1846 

 Commencement Dates
Ardara & Dunkineely 1860 1863         -
Ballintra 1810 1875 -
Ballyshannon - 1897 -
Donegal Mission 1833 1864 -
Inishowen 1862 1873 -
Ramelton 1829 -

 Commencement Dates

Ballylennon 1829 1831 1830
Ballyshannon 1836 1837 -
Burt 1873 1845 -
Carndonagh 1830 1830 -
Carnone 1834 1846 -
Carrigart 1844 1846 -
Convoy PR 1822 1846 -
Crossroads 1811 1819 1854
Donaghmore 1803 1820 1825
Donegal 1865 1845 -
Dunfanaghy 1830 1830 -
Fanad 1827 1827 -
Greenbank 1862 1864 -
Killetter - 1859 -
Kilmacrennan PR 1844 1846 -
Knowhead - 1848 -
Letterkenny PR 1821 1821 -
Malin 1866 1845 -
Milford 1838 1845 -
Monreagh - 1869 -
Moville 1833 1845 -
Moville New - 1865 -
Newtowncunningham 1830 1830 1880
NW Donegal Mission 1864 - -
Pettigo - 1845 -
Ramelton First 1806 1807 -
Ramelton Second 1808 1808 1859
Ramelton Third 1839 1839 1850
Raphoe PR 1828 1830 -
Rathmullan - 1845 -
Ray 1854 1845 -
St. Johnston 1838 1835 -
Stranorlar PR 1821 1831 1831
Trenta 1836 1830 1843
Note:  In the Roman Catholic Church the Diocese of Raphoe is wholly contained in the County; Inishowen, and part of East Donegal along the River Finn is part of the Diocese of Derry (11 parishes in total); and two parishes in the Southern part of the County are in the Diocese of Clogher. 
In the Church of Ireland the County is part of the Diocese of Derry and Raphoe. 

Presbyterian congregations in the County combine in the Donegal Presbytery, except for those in Inishowen, which are in the Derry Presbytery area.
The Methodist Circuits in the County are part of the Enniskillen and Sligo District. 

Part C: Getting Started

C :1 Books for Beginners

Pathways to Ulster’s past: sources and resources for local studies
Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, QUB, 1998. 158p.
ISBN: 0853896933  £6.50.

‘COUNTY Donegal’
In the Irish Link  No. 42 1994.   pp16-17
[Australian genealogical journal].

DUFFY, Godfrey F
A guide to tracing your Donegal ancestors
Dublin: Flyleaf Press, 1996. 94p; ill.
ISBN:  095084666X   £7.00.

An introduction to Irish ancestry
Bray:  Magh Itha, 1990.   28p.
ISBN:   1 871 509 041    £2.50.
[Sean Quinn is a lecturer at Letterkenny IT and a native of Buncrana].

QUINN, Sean E.
An Introduction to Irish ancestry
2nd ed.
Bray: Irish Genealogy Press, 2000. 60p.
ISBN: 1871509343  £6.99.

QUINN, Sean E.
Surnames in Ireland
Bray: Irish Genealogy Press, 2000. 183p.
ISBN: 1871509394  £9.99.

Trace your Irish Ancestors
Bray:  Magh Itha, 1989.   56p.
ISBN: 1 871 509 025  hbk  1 871 509 033  pbk.

Your Irish ancestors
Bray: Irish Genealogy Press, 1996.  121p.
ISBN:  187150919X   £5.95. 

C:2 Family History by Town or Parish

BALLYSHANNON family roots / exploring family origins in Ballyshannon
Longford: Noel Farrell, 1997.  48p.     £5.99.

Castle Caldwell and its Families
Enniskillen: Watergate Press, 1980, 209p.

‘A DEMOGRAPHIC study of Tory Island and Rathlin Island 1841-1964’
In Ulster Folklife 17, 19715.   pp70-80.

DONEGAL Town, Inver & Mountcharles family roots / exploring family origins in Mountcharles, Inver, & Donegal Town
Longford: Noel Farrell, 1997.  48p.     £5.99.

Arranmore links: the families of Arranmore
[Dublin:  Aiden Gallagher], 1986.  

LETTERKENNY family roots book: exploring family origins in Letterkenny
Longford: Noel Farrell, 1996.  48p; ill.
LUCAS, Leslie
Mevagh down the years
Belfast:  Appletree Press.  1983.

LUCAS, Leslie
More about Mevagh
Belfast:  Appletree Press.  1982.

Meehan, Helen, and Duffy, Godfrey
A Guide to Tracing your Donegal Ancestors
Flyleaf Press, Dublin 2008
160p; illus; maps; photos.   ISBN  9780953997497

After the battering ram:  the trail of the dispossessed from Derryveagh, 1861 - 1991
[Letterkenny]:  An Taisce, 1991   20p ill.   £2.00.

Donegal:  past and present
[Ballyshannon: printed by Donegal Democrat], 1995. - 195p. ; ill.
[families in Donegal Town area].

McGARVIE, Michael
Fanad on foot:  genealogical explorations in Donegal
[Glastonbury:  printed by Direct Offset], 1989.   62p., ill., charts  £5.00.
[Limited edition of 100 copies].

STRANORLAR parish roots book / exploring family origins in Ballybofey/Stranorlar and Killygordon
Longford: Noel Farrell, 1996.  48p.     £5.99.
Also in this series,  Letterkenny, Donegal Town, Mountcharles and Inver, Ballyshannon

C:3 Individual Families / Surnames

Central Library has built up a comprehensive collection of family histories donated by researchers worldwide. We would be delighted to receive a copy of your own research when you complete your family tree.

ANDERSON, Patrick.
Anderson of Moville
Bramhill, Cheshire: [published by the author], 7p. photocopy.

ARKWRIGHT, Thomas J. and Peter A.
The Arkwright Family in Ireland
Wigan: [published by the author], no date.  44p, photocopy.

The Bonner Family History
Waco, Texas: Texan Press, 1972. 555p, biblio, index.

BOYD, Brian.
The Boyd Family of Ballymacool House
No date, 16p, photocopy.

BOYD, Murray A.
From Donegal to Blackguard’s Corner: a History of the Boyd Family of Kaikoura
Rangiora, [published by the author], 1998. 447p, photos.

O’BRIEN, Maureen.
A History of the Burke / Bourke Clan
Dublin: Clan Publications, 1991. 295p.

O CANANN, Tomás G.
‘Aspects of an early Irish Surname: Ua Canannain’
In Studia Hibernia No. 27 1993.  Pp113-144.

Ó CANANN, Tomás G.
‘Ua Canannáin genealogies in the Irish manuscript tradition’
In Studia Hibernica No. 30, 1998-1999 [published 2000].  pp167-229.

The Cary Family of Inishowen
Durham, NC: [published by the author], 1963. 14p.

CHICHESTER, A. Palmer Bruce
History of the Chichester Family from A.D. 1086 to 1870.
London: Hotten, 1871. 174p.

STEELE, John Haughton
Crichton: the Pedigree of the Earl of Erne.
Edinburgh: R&R Clarke, 1891, 80p. appendix.


ORNBAUN, Marilyn.
The Diary of William John Clarke: Illinois to California 1849
[s.l.: published by the author], 1991. 54p.

The Story of the Concannons
Dublin: Clan Publications, 1989. 312p.

Cooke and Allen Family Letters (Convoy)
[s.l, s.n]

The Crawfords of Donegal and how they came there
Dublin: Ponsonby & Weldrick, 1886. 39p.

DOYLE, David N., and MILLER, Kerby A.
‘Ulster Migrants in an Age of Rebellion: the Crocketts of Raphoe’
In Irish Economic and Social History XXIII, 1995.  pp 77-87.

Crummer Families of the U.S. and Canada who came from Ireland
Baltimore: Gateway Press, 1994. 603p.

DILL, James Reid
The Dill Worthies
2nd ed.
Draperstown: Moyola Books, 1992.  109p.
ISBN:  1873345 07 0  £3.25
[Reprint of 1892 ed.].

DILL, John.
The Dill Family (correspondence)
[s.l,.]1975, 18p. photocopy.

CONN, Nancy H.
From Drumholm, Donegal to Cartwright, Upper Canada: the Dinsmore-Freeborn-Strong Families.
Toronto, Ontario: Stewart Publishing, 1998.  322p.
ISBN 090969932111.

EARLY, Samuel S.
A History of the Early Family in America
Albany, NY: [s.n.], 1896. 51p.

HAMILTON, Sir James,
The Hamilton Manuscripts
Belfast: Archer & Sons, 1867. 165p.

Sir Frederick Hamilton.
[sn., sl., ] 23p. photocopy.

HART, Henry T.
Hart of Donegal
London: Mitchell Hughes & Clarke, 1907. 158p.

The Harvey Families of Inishowen, Co. Donegal, and Maen, Cornwall
Folkestone: F. Weatherhead, 1927. 178p.

‘The Hewetsons of Ballyshannon’
In Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland. 1910, p4.

Andrew Knox (Bishop of Raphoe) and his descendents
Londonderry: J. Hempton & Co., 1892. 34p.

Seanchas Chlionne Laithbheartaigh (Laverty)
Belfast: [s.l., ], 1891. 24p.

CINE Mhac an tSaoir: guide to the sources for researching Mc Ateer families in Ireland
Belfast: Ulster History Foundation, 1994. 63p, illus.
ISBN: 0901 905658.
Mac DERMOT, Dermot.
Mac Dermot of Moylurg
Manorhamilton: Drumlin, 1996. 543p.

‘Counsellor Terence Mac Donagh: a Catholic Lawyer of the Penal Days and some of his Collateral Descendants’
[photocopied from Studies 1947/1948] 22p.

Mc GARVIE, Graham
Mc Garvie Family History
[s.l.: published by the Mc Garvie Family], 1995. 222p.

MC GARVIE, Michael,
Fanad on Foot-Genealogical Explorations in Donegal (McGarvie)
Glastonbury: printed by Direct Offset, 1989.  62p , plates, biblio.

Mc Geehan
[s.n.,s.l.,] 30p, photocopy.

BROWN, John P.
 The Mac Laughlins of Clann Owen
Boston: W. J. Schofield, 1879. 42p.

Mc MANUs, Michael.,
Mc Manus “Heart and Hand”
Durham: Mc Manus Family History Society, 1994. 184p.

Marshall of Manor Cunningham: being notes on the descendants of John Marshall
[s.l.: published by the author], 1931. 125p.

Maddison family (letters) 15p. photocopy.

MILLER, Janet Eileen,
Miller Family Scrapbook
[s.l.: published by the author]. 81p, illus.

MILLER, Janet E.
Miller Family Tree (with supporting Trees for Montgomerys, Hamiltons, Irwins, Townshends, Beresford/Webbs
[s.l.: published by the author]. 22p. photocopy.

A Generation of Montgomerys
London: Spottiswodde & Co., 1897. 77p.

‘Montgomery of Alamein’
In The Irish Link March 1998. p36.

O BRIEN, Donough.
History of the O Briens from A.D. 1000-1945
London: Batsford Ltd., 1949.  77p.

O Cleirigh family of Tir Chonaill
Dublin: Colm O Lochlainn, 1938., 52p. index.

Ó DOCHARTAIGH, Seoirse Fionnbarra
O Doherty People and Places.
Whitegate, Co. Clare: Ballinakella Press, 1998. 126p: ill.
ISBN:094653814X.   £9.50.

Origins of the O Dohertys: pedigree and family group sheet
Carndonagh: Inishowen Tourism, 1995.
[the Ó Dochartaigh Clan issue regular newlsetters and packs on genealogy and Clan history].

The O Develins of Tyrone, the Story of an Irish Sept
[s.l., VT]: Tuttle Publishing Co., 1938. 137p.

HISTORY House Publications
Your Irish Roots—History of the O’Donnell  Family Name
Ennis: History House Publications, 1988. 33p.

O’DONNELL, Vincent
Clann Dalaigh (O Donnell)
Kilmacrennan: O Donnell Clann Gathering Committee, 1989. 81p, illus.

HISTORY House Publications
Your Irish Roots: history of the O’Kelly Family
Ennis: History House Publications, 1988. 43p.

HISTORY House Publications
Your Irish Roots: history of the O’Neill Family
Ennis: History House Publications, 1988. 48p.

Mac DERMOT, Lady Betty
O’Ruairc of Breifne 
Wicklow: [s.n.], 1983. 211p, index.

Mac DERMOT, Lady Betty
O’Ruairc Family Tree
[s.l.: s.n.]. 36p, index.

‘The Gaelic Families of Donegal’
In Nolan, William, Ronayne, Liam, and Dunlevey, Mairead Donegal History and Society pp759-838.

The Patterson and Pattison Family Association Record Book 1
[s.l: s.n.], 1963. 215p, index.

The Patterson and Pattison Family Association Record Book 2
[s.l: s.n.], 1964. 215p, index.

The Patterson and Pattison Family Association Record Book 3
[s.l: s.n.], 1965. 215p, index.

The Patterson and Pattison Family Association Record Book 4
[s.l: s.n.], 1967. 215p, index.

BURTON, Patricia
There is an Old House in Ireland: the Patton Family and Croaghan House 1636-1990

Pogue / Pollock / Polk: genealogy as mirrored in history: from Scotland to N. Ireland/Ulster, Ohio and westward
Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press, Inc., 1990. 709p.

ROBB, Dale and Arlene
George Robb-Catherine Forsyth and descendants 1807-1982
[s.l.: s.n.],1982. 68p, index, photos.

Hugh Rogan of Counties Donegal and Sumner:  Irish acculturation in frontier Tennessee
In Tennessee Historical Quarterly  Vol LIV Winter 1995 #4
19p,  biblio.

The Sampson Family
Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, 1914. 238p.

Shankland / Shanklin: surnames as a subsect of Mc Gregor/Grierson Clan
[s.l., s.n.]15p.

Lt William Stewart of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania
Published by the author, 2005. Traces the life of a member of the Stewart family from Ramelton.  CD

Stewarts of Ramelton
Photocopied items, vital records relating to this family and its members in the USA.
Published by the author, Pennsylvania, USA. 2002

One Line of Stuarts
 [s.l.: s.n.], 1987.

‘The Sweeneys’
In The Irish Link No. 47, December 1995. p 18.

SWEENEY, John P., ed.
The Sweeneys:Fanad, Doe, Banagh, international
[s.l.,Clann Suibhne], 1997. 152p, ill.

SWEENEY, Richard Mingo.
Sween (Suibhne): Clan of the Battle-axe: a brief history of the Mac Sweeney (Mac Suibhne) Gallowglass
Gaoth Dobhair: Clann tSuibhne, 1999.  101p.

ALLEN, Samuel
Vance Family History: memoir of the Rev. George Vance, D.D.
Dublin: Hodges Figgis, 1901. 252p.

WALLEN, Farland
The Wallen Generations: 300 years of our family history
Charlotte, N.C.: Delmar, 1993. 343p.

WHITE, Henry
White Family of Lough Eske
[s.l.: s.n.], 1992.  44p.

TRENCH, Charlotte V.
The Wrays of Donegal
Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1945. 392p.

300 Hundred Years in Inishowen
Belfast: Mc Caw, Stevenson & Orr / the Linenhall Press, 1929.
357p. [Young Family]

The Youngs of N.W. Ulster or “Tracing the Three Black Piles on a Silver Base”

C:4 Websites
The following website addresses are dedicated to family research world-wide, and have very useful "links":  (A huge global genealogy site)    (Donegal Ancestry, Ramelton, Co Donegal)       (United States National Archives site)   (A good source for Donegal-related genealogy)

/   (the Mormon Church  (Latter-Day Saints)Family History site).  (a part of the “Rootsweb” site devoted to Donegal genealogy. Continuously adding new information) (Public Records Office Northern Ireland)   (National Library of Ireland, Dublin)  (National Archives, Dublin)  (National Library of Ireland’s site – has a guide to beginning family research  (A public libraries website. From a list of topics, click on “Family History”. Excellent “links”) (American passenger records 1892-1924)  (A website devoted to the genealogy of County Donegal; constantly being added to).

Genealogical Research Information in Donegal County Archives

Donegal County Archive Service holds a small number of records that may be of assistance when undertaking family research, mostly from the nineteenth century onwards:
• Valuation (of land and property in Donegal) records from the 1880's (though we do not hold the actual maps, which are available in Dublin);
• 19th –20th century workhouse and medical records, including   
                 Information on inmates of workhouses and infirmaries (records vary for each         
• A small number of estate and housing records and other private and public records;
• Primary/National School roll books and registers.
• Electoral Register for County Donegal 20th century.

Sources for genealogical research in Donegal:

The Local Studies section of the Central Library, Letterkenny, Co Donegal holds microfilms of census records and Griffith's Primary Valuation of land and property (from 1850's). It also holds local newspapers and a large genealogy collection, including histories of leading Donegal families. (Phone no. +353-74-91 24950; website

The District Registry of Donegal may also be able to assist you. Original registers of births, deaths and catholic marriages mainly from the mid-1860's are retained there. Their address is District Registrars' Office, County Clinic, St Conal's Hospital, Letterkenny; Phone: + 353 -74- 91 24576.

Donegal Ancestry Ltd.
Run a commercial genealogy service and includes parish registers. It charges for its service and can be contacted at Donegal Ancestry Ltd., Old Meeting House, Back Lane, Ramelton, Co Donegal, phone: + 353 74 91 51266; Fax: +353-74-91 51266. Their e-mail address is:

Other genealogical websites that might help you get started on your search include:

The websites of the Catholic dioceses of Derry and Raphoe (both for Donegal) are: and respectively.
They include lists of parishes in Donegal. Many records are still held by local parishes. See also: Raphoe Diocesan Archives, The Bishop’s House, Letterkenny, County Donegal. Telephone: 074 21208 e-mail: 

The Presbyterian Church in Ireland's website is
Records including registers of baptisms and marriages in some parishes held by:  Presbyterian Historical Society, Church House, Fisherwick Place, Belfast BT1 6DW.  Telephone: (02890) 322284 

The Church of Ireland's website for Donegal is:
See also
Church of Irelands website:
Library and Archive: Representative Church Body Library, Braemor Park
Churchtown, Dublin 14, 01 491 3979.   e-mail:

National Research Institutions:

Joyce House (General Registrar's Office), 8 Lombard Street, Dublin 2  (website: :  phone no. +353 - 1- 6354000), has microfilm copies of all registers of births, deaths and marriages from the beginning of registration (1864) to the present day, and master indexes for all three. Protestant marriage registers are in Dublin also (from 1845). (Charges apply). For the period before 1864, parish registers provide the only record of most births, marriages and deaths.

The National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2
(phone no. + 353 - 1-  6030200, is the chief repository for the microfilm copies (for the period up to 1880) of those Catholic parish registers still held in local custody.   In some cases, the written permission of the parish priest or bishop must be obtained before the microfilms can be seen. The National Archives has a copy of the National Library's list of the registers.

The National Archives, Bishop Street, Dublin 2 (phone no. + 353 - 1 - 4783711), and the National Library both hold archives which may assist in tracing ancestors, including 1901 and 1911 census, Griffith's Valuation, and estate papers. For the period before 1864, the National Library holds microfilms of parish registers, the originals of which are still kept by local parish priests. The websites of both institutions also list names and contact details of professional researchers who may be able to assist you in your research.

For genealogical information on emigrants from Ireland including passenger lists you might try the Ulster American Folk Park Centre for Migration Studies at:     2 Mellon Rd,Castletown, Omagh,          Co Tyrone, N.Ireland, BT78 5QY.  Tel: .028 8225 6315 Fax: 028 8224 2241


For land ownership queries the Land Registry and Registry of Deeds can be contacted at +353 -1 670 7500/  and also the Valuation Office archives which holds a list of occupiers of property for the 26 Counties in the Republic of Ireland. The records go back to 1846. See 

All Northern Ireland archives, and some private records which relate to Donegal among other counties, are held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), 66 Balmoral Avenue, Belfast BT9 6NY, Northern Ireland; phone: +048 9025 5905; fax: +048 9025 5999; email:;

TELEPHONE 353-749124950
FAX 353-9124950

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