Irish resources?

+11 votes
I just found the first person in the US in my family.  James H Murray, born in Ireland.  Need input on how to track him there?  What are the best resources to use?  Thanks!
in Genealogy Help by Alison Apffel G2G1 (1.5k points)
retagged by Keith Hathaway
You might want to give a bit more information as Irish resources turn into state and federal resources once you cross the pond. Where did and When did you James H. Murray live in the US?


He was born in Ireland in 1796.  He was later mariied in Wake CO., North Carolina in 1822.  He died in 1868 in North Carolina.  I am new to searching outside the US and have no idea where to start.  The family he married into was Baptist.

I suspect Murray is a common name so narrowing down the where in Ireland will take some work.

I'd start with marriage records and death records here in the US. What you want/need is the parent's names (i.e. Father & mother's maiden name).

You'll find that a lot of the Irish records got destroyed during the 1920's (a long story). The Catholic church was the majority (population) but persona non gratis for government records (civil registry). As a result the church records are spotty, mostly 1820-1888 (though there are lots of exceptions).

The Catholic parish records are on-line via the National Library ( but you need a Parish, they aren't indexed.

FamilySearch and Ancestry have some Irish records. There are numerous Irish sites but they usually require a subscription.

You'll find yourself staring at a search screen and realize "I need the parent's names!"

That's my 2 cents worth. :-)     Igor

P.S. Just did a quick "rootsireland" query for James Murray 1796+/-3 yrs. Got 30 hits, many counties represented. Murray/Murry/Murra being the common varients.


Hi Alison, nice to meet you :)

WikiTree has a project that deals with Irish ancestry.  There are some fantastic resources on the project page, and contact information for other members:

Irish Roots Project

Thank you so much!  I sure will check it out!
OK.  Good to know.  The parents are still a mystery.  Thanks so much!
For sources see:, good luck!
Alison, I concur with the others who've said you need to try to narrow down the where in Ireland.  Did your James H. Murray remain in Wake County?  If so, you might try to check if he has a brief biography entry in a published history of the county.  The biography might actually be under the name of one of his more successful/prominent children or grandchildren - their biography but with a line or two or even paragraph about James.  These older county history books can be quite the gold mine.
He was well known and respected in the county. Sheriff and tax collector but also Catholic.  No mention of his parents and buried in the Catholic cemetery.  All records destroyed by fire.

1 Answer

+4 votes
by Anonymous Vickery G2G6 Pilot (241k points)

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