Introduction to Irish Family and Social History

Today I started a 16 week evening course based at the School of Histories and Humanities, Trinity College Dublin, titled Introduction to Irish Family and Social History. The course is run by Fiona Fitzsimons and Brian Donovan, who are co-founders of the genealogy and history research company Eneclann.

Fiona Fitzsimons delivering the first session in the Thomas Davis Theatre, Arts building, Trinity College, Dublin

During the late summer I began to revisit historical resources and records that I had not studied in some time. Also, I started this blog to act as a platform to record my family research, write-up accounts of my findings and the profiles of individual family members of interest.

I was keen to build on this personal project. Therefore I researched if there were any genealogical-focused courses which would allow me to not only centre my research efforts on Irish records, but also learn about any investigative methodologies related to this field, so to help push my research understanding and practice further. So, when I discovered this course focused on the main records used in Irish family history research I decided to sign up.

The course begins by examining different record-sets, and asks:

  • What records were made?
  • When were they compiled, by whom and for what purpose?
  • What do the records look like?
  • What evidence does the record-set contain relevant to family history?
  • How do we access surviving records, online or in archive?

Also, the curriculum includes sessions on genetic genealogy (with Dr. Patrick Waldron), archival visits, and a world subscription to Findmypast for the duration of the course. Not bad to say the least.

While I am very familiar with the certain record-sets and genetic genealogy as a whole, I think that undertaking this course will not only sharpen my focus, it will hopefully give me further background knowledge into historical Irish records. Even the most experienced can potentially learn from revisiting areas and particulars pertinent to the beginner. A fresh pair of eyes, the shared learning experiences with the group and importantly the information and insights delivered from experts from the field will hopefully impact my family history research, opening up new avenues of discovery, and shine a light on events, people and their stories from the past.


Fitzsimons, F. (2013). IS FAMILY HISTORY ‘REAL’ HISTORY? History Ireland, 21(5), 49-49. Retrieved from

SO02 Introduction to Irish Family History, Histories & Humanities Evening Courses, TCD


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s