Irish genealogy can be among the most frustrating to deal with. Ireland suffered through years of occupation, religious suppression and the destruction of records. The result of all this is that it can be very difficult to find records in Ireland. Rootsireland.com has brought an amazing number of records to the Internet and in an easy to use format.
First things first, this is not a free website. You are going to have to pay to see the records. Not only do you have to pay, you have to pay quite dearly. The price is 5 euros for 25 credits and 25 free searches. It takes 25 credits to view an entire document. I went through 40 euros quite quickly so expect to spend upwards of $50 if you have a lot of interest and not a lot of specific information. When compared to a trip to Ireland, this is a real bargain but you also may end up not finding anything which is what happened with me. Still, it was well worth it.
The homepage of this website tells you that it has 20 million records available and for all frustrated Irish genealogist that is an irresistible figure. There are two clickable sections is the main body of the homepage, one that tells you the total number of records by database, so over 9 million baptism records etc. The other section is Getting Started and explains in detail how to use the website to search. You can search without paying; this is a big plus of this site.
On the far right of the homepage there is a map of Ireland. It gets bigger and tells you exactly which counties are included, which will be coming soon and which at this time are unavailable. The good news is the unavailable counties are very limited but include the popular counties as Kerry and Cork. Carlow will be available later in 2014.
One of the links on the left is search. This is where all the fun begins. Search for your ancestors allows you to put in your ancestors surname and given name and a year and then click search. If there are records available they will come up. There are several more refined searches that you can do. You can narrow down the criteria by giving an age and how many ages plus or minus to look for. This can be 5 to 20 just in case you are not sure say exactly when they were born. You can also search all available counties or you can pick which ones to include.
There are millions of records available, marriages, baptism, census records, gravestone inscriptions and deaths. Keep in mind that there are very few early census records still extant. There is also access to Griffiths Valuation. This may not be worth looking at on Roots Ireland since it is available for free on several other websites.
For anyone doing Irish genealogy this is a real treasure trove of a website. It is well worth spending the money just to have the hope of hurdling that huge brick wall that you may have in your genealogy. It is easy to use and offers a nice selection of options. There may not be an endless amount of Irish records but this website has done a great job of compiling those that there are and making them not only accessible but searchable.