Posted 26/11/2015

Tracing Your Kildare Ancestors

Genealogy Sources for Co. Kildare

For those with Irish ancestors, tracing the family tree is never an easy or straight forward task. There are many reasons for this as Ireland's complex and troubled past has resulted in scattered and incomplete set of records.

Unlike many other European countries which have managed to retain civil and religious records vital for tracing from one generation to the next, researchers in Ireland have to rely on diverse and often incomplete records, such the Catholic parish registers which mainly date from the end of the relaxation of the penal laws that prevented Catholic worship and congregation.

Having a good knowledge and understanding of the sources available is essential to improve the chances of a successful search.

Genealogical Research Service

The Local Studies, Genealogy and Archives Department of Kildare County Library Service provides a genealogical research advisory service for people whose ancestors originated in Co. Kildare. The service has been for many years a valuable asset to those searching for their ancestry in the county and has featured in the USA version of the "Who do you think you are?" programme featuring Rosie O'Donnell, whose Naas roots were researched by Mario Corrigan, James Durney and Karel Kiely. Our staff have a vast knowledge and expertise in the county's genealogical sources.

In addition to the advisory service outlined below, researchers can access our online research service via subscription through the Irish Family History Foundation's website at

Contact: Local Studies, Genealogy and Archives
c/o Kildare County Library & Arts Service
Main Street
Newbridge, Co. Kildare

Email: and
Search Co. Kildare Genealogy Records:


The Genealogy Department has computerised many sources including church records of baptisms, marriage and burials, gravestone inscriptions, Griffith's Valuation and census returns. The majority of its records are searchable online through the Irish Family History Foundation's subscription website

The main genealogical sources available to those searching for Co. Kildare ancestors include church records of various denominations, civil records of birth, deaths and marriages, property valuation records and the 1901 and 1911 household census returns. Ancillary sources available in the Local Studies, Genealogy and Archives include maps, gravestone inscriptions, cemetery records, newspapers, trade directories, local histories and publications.

Tracing Your Kildare Ancestors Guide

Karel Kiely, Mario Corrigan and James Durney have also published Tracing Your Kildare Ancestors.
The publication is a comprehensive guide to all of the records available for tracing families in the county and is filled with information on what the records contain, and how and where they can be accessed.

These sources include websites, birth, death and marriage records, public records, books, journals and manuscripts. County Kildare had a diverse population including farmers, soldiers, bog workers, canal boatmen and horsemen. The county has had a long association with the military including the Curragh Camp, Ireland's largest military complex. It is also the centre of the Irish equine industry and is one of the richest counties outside of Dublin. Large estates, military barracks, stud farms and horse racing establishments still feature in the county.

Common names in the county included Byrne, O'Toole, Cullen, Dowling, Dunne, Nolan, Lawlor, Farrell, Kelly, Birmingham, Sutton, FItzgerald, Eustace, O'Kelly, Murphy, Doyle, Walsh, Dowling, Connor, Neill, Brennan, Moore and Kavanagh.

The publication is also well illustrated with maps of the various administrative divisions; with examples of the types of records to be found; and with other relevant material. It also provides background on the social history of the counties and how this history has affected the keeping and survival of records. The book also contains a comprehensive index.

Tracing Kildare Ancestors (ISBN: 978-1-907990-07-6)by Karel Kiely, Mario Corrigan & James Durney.
Published by Flyleaf Press

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