Before making an unforgettable trip to Wexford, you might enjoy tracing your family's history online first. This research may uncover specific places or people of interest directly relevant to your family's history. This will make your time in Wexford extra special and unique to you.
The first step is to gather all the basic information you already know about your ancestors from Wexford. You can do this by asking yourself some basic questions:
What are your ancestors’ family names, first names or nicknames?
Do you know any dates of births, deaths, and marriages? Even knowing the year of these occasions can be useful.
Were your ancestors landowners or from a specific parish or townsland that you know the name of?
Do you know the name of the ship that your ancestor emigrated on? When did they emigrate from Ireland and where did they first arrive?
Did your ancestor serve in the Irish or British Army?
What did your ancestor do for work?
Share your research with your family members and ask them these questions too. They may have an important nugget of information or an old piece of family history (newspaper clippings, diaries etc.) which may shine a light on your investigation.
Using the information you already know, visit the following helpful links to dig deeper into the history of your family from County Wexford. Click on the title for each resource to visit the relevant website. [Please note that there is a cost attached to certain aspects of some of the above resources. Read each independent website carefully before requesting copies of any specific records.]
This website contains lots of helpful genealogical links. It also allows you to search the records some of the earliest censuses conducted in Ireland; primarily the census of 1901 and 1911 but some records stretch back as far as 1851. Search by your ancestor's name, street, age or gender here. You can even see images of the original handwritten census forms!
These lists are organised by the name of the ships that brought people to America and other destinations. They give the name of the ship, the year of the journey, the port of departure and arrival, and a list of the passengers on board. Along with the name of the passengers, their age and ‘calling’/profession are also given so these can be hugely useful in making sure you have the correct person, as opposed to someone else with the same name.
This website contains a searchable record of landowners in Ireland and what land they owned between 1847 – 1864. This ‘Primary Valuation of Ireland’ was overseen by Sir Richard Griffith and was the first boundary and property valuation survey to be completed in Ireland. It was originally commissioned by the British government to determine how much tax to charge different landowners but it is now one of the best genealogical resources in Ireland as there was no official census documenting the people of Ireland at this time. The Wexford portion of the survey was completed on 7th July 1854.
There are five libraries in County Wexford (in the towns of Bunclody, Enniscorthy, Gorey, New Ross and Wexford Town). In terms of ‘on the ground’ research any of these is an excellent place to begin to research your ancestors. It might be an idea to focus on the library which is closest to your ancestor’s home place in the county as, along with the range of online and hardcopy genealogical resources on hand in these libraries, you will also find a wealth of knowledge and insight about the immediate locality which may help you greatly in your research.
This website contains information on all the hardcopy resources stored in the archive that are related to genealogical research. They include burial, housing and school records for parts of the county and even the minute books of some of the county’s workhouses. Workhouses were the last resort for the poor and destitute of the county, especially during famine times. The Great Famine of Ireland, also known as ‘The Great Hunger’ took place between 1845 and 1852 and was a huge cause of emigration from the country at that time. Although an exact figure is difficult to establish, some reports suggest over one million people left the country and began their lives anew in places like America, Canada, England and Australia during this time.
This website was set up as part of Irish Genealogy Projects scheme. It contains a short overview of County Wexford along with some helpful links to other genealogical resources and notes on common Wexford surnames. It also notes some of the famous historical characters who have roots in Wexford including Commodore John Barry who is regarded as the "Father of the American Navy", former American President, John F. Kennedy, and the Australian outlaw, Ned Kelly! The man who inspired the myth of Zorro, William Lamport, is also from Wexford!
This genealogical section of the WexfordTown.ie website is full of information and links to help you research family histories based around Wexford. It also includes a link to a surname search bar showing the distribution of a particular surname across the country in the mid-19th century as well as links to some wonderful photographs from c. 100 years ago.
This is a fantastic list of links which delves deep into various aspects and resources related to genealogical research in Wexford. Certain heritage and genealogy-focussed tourist sites are noted as well as links to information about seminal historical events in Wexford’s history.
This links to a comprehensive census completed in November 1922 of all people serving in the National Army at that time. You can search by name, age or general location and on the results image you will even see a home address and next of kin for each soldier. [Press ‘Ctrl’ and ‘+’ on your keyboard to zoom in and read the handwritten census form.] You may find other aspects of this Irish Military Archive website interesting also as it contains lots of photographs, witness statements and maps from the last 90+ years of Ireland’s military history.
There are 294,468 records of Irishmen serving in the British Army between 1760 and 1915. The basic listings give a name, birth year, birth parish (location), service number and regiment served in (if known). If you think your ancestor served in the British Army during this period then this is a great place to start your research.
This website, supported by the Irish Government Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, allows you to search through a huge database of birth, death and marriage records. You can search by family name, locations or years for any of these records. Click on ‘Wexford’ on the left hand side of the page after your search to filter the results.
This website names some of the graveyards in County Wexford and provides a list (not complete in some cases) of the people buried there. This is very specific but for those who have reason to believe a relative may be buried in one of these graveyards and who find that person here, it is a very worthwhile and important resource.
This physical research facility in Dublin houses records of births, deaths and marriages in Ireland from 1864 and records of registered adoptions from 10th July 1953 onwards. For a fee, the indexes can be searched and photocopies of records can be bought.
Need Some Help?
If all of this online research is a bit overwhelming, you can hire a professional genealogist to help you.
To talk with other people just like you who are researching their family from County Wexford, visit this forum.
Take a Trip to Wexford
No matter how successful your genealogical research is, County Wexford is eager to welcome you and your family for an enjoyable and stimulating break. Click on the tabs at the top of this page to explore other sections of visitwexford.ie and see what modern day Wexford has to offer you. Come to Wexford to enjoy the beauty, history, and stories of the place your ancestors carried with them in their hearts as they bravely set out to make a new home where you are.