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How to find your Co Mayo roots

Finding your Co Mayo roots has never been easier thanks to the genealogical services that are provided by a number of research centres and ancestry websites.

Tracing your Co Mayo ancestry has never been easier
Tracing your Co Mayo ancestry has never been easier

There are tens of thousands of people around the globe who can trace their ancestry back to County Mayo which has been ravaged by emigration since the Famine in the 1840s.

Famous people, including films stars, Steve Coogan, and Grace Kelly; and American Vice-President, Joe Biden, and Liam and Noel Gallagher of Oasis, all have Co Mayo ancestry.

Both the Mayo North Family Heritage Centre and The Mayo South Family Heritage Centre websites are good starting places to get your ancestry search in Co Mayo underway.

However, if your ancestors came from the Westport and Clew Bay area (Achill Island to Louisburgh) you should also contact the Clew Bay Heritage Centre which operates a Genealogical Research Service for West Mayo.

The Mayo heritage centres are part of the Irish Family History Foundation and have access to a database with millions of records covering all of the parishes in Co Mayo.

North Mayo Parish Records database

If you believe your ancestors hailed from North Mayo, then The Mayo North Family Heritage Centre should be the starting point for your research.

The Mayo North Family Heritage Centre is located in the grounds of Enniscoe Estate on the shores of Lough Conn, near Crossmolina.

The old farmyard buildings behind the 18th-century house have been converted into a heritage centre and museum.

The Centre’s staff will help you to carry out your family history search using its index of records and local knowledge which will help put together your family tree.

The North Mayo Parish Records database now contains nearly a million records covering all of the 29 parishes of North Mayo.

Staff can access a complete database of all the major genealogical resources such as Church and Civil records of Marriages, Church records of Baptisms and Civil records of Birth and Church Records of Burials and Civil Records of Deaths.

The North Mayo Heritage Centre in the grounds of Enniscoe House, near Crossmolina, contains records covering all of the 29 parishes of North Mayo. Photo: Anthony Hickey
The North Mayo Heritage Centre in the grounds of Enniscoe House, near Crossmolina, contains records covering all of the 29 parishes of North Mayo. Photo: Anthony Hickey

Also worth noting is that the gravestone inscriptions of all graveyards of North Mayo, land records, some rental books, some school roll books, and many literary and historical references relating to North Mayo are also available to researchers.

If you are unable to visit the family history unit in person your particular genealogical query can be answered by email, post, and by callers to the centre.

Callers to the centres can avail of single record researches focussing on a particular piece of information. This usually takes about half an hour and there is a small fee required.

Ancestry record searches

There is a pricing structure for more detailed record searches.

Basically, what it means is that the most popular type of detailed genealogical search takes several weeks and if the family history can be established the cost is quoted at that stage.

The second stage of this process which is the Family History Report – a hardbound book – costs around €300.

According to the North Mayo Centre: “The report is bound in an attractive hardbound book form. It includes a scholarly discourse on the surnames, detailed explanations of the townlands mentioned and of course the relevant births deaths marriages and census records found. Where applicable local history information is included.”

Mayo South Family Heritage Centre in Ballinrobe

Evocative of emigration and loss, Cross Abbey graveyard, near Belmullet, is in a beautiful location overlooking the North Atlantic, and a number of islands, including Inishglora of the Children of Lir fame. Photo: Anthony Hickey
Evocative of emigration and loss, Cross Abbey graveyard, near Belmullet, is in a beautiful location overlooking the North Atlantic, and a number of islands, including Inishglora of the Children of Lir fame. Photo: Anthony Hickey

The Mayo South Family Heritage Centre is located on Main Street, Ballinrobe, and holds over a million records including:

  • Roman Catholic records, dating from 1791
  • Church of Ireland (Anglican/Episcopalian ) records from in 1744
  • Presbyterian records from in 1819
  • Methodist Church records from 1829
  • Civil Records of birth and deaths which commenced in 1864 and of non-RC marriages which commenced in 1845 and of RC marriages which commenced in 1864

Online resources for finding your Mayo ancestors

Another great resource for checking your Mayo roots is the Mayo Ancestors website which is a database of the Official Genealogy records of County Mayo.

Records of births, baptisms and marriages for both North and South Mayo are available on this site, and also on the RootsIreland.ie website which is based in Main Street, Newbridge, County Kildare.

There is a search facility to locate your family ancestors with records covering the years 1850 to 1900.

Family ancestry websites for Co Mayo

There are a number of other independently run ancestry websites for County Mayo that are mainly dedicated to a particular family.

One such site is the Golden Langan ancestry website which contains lots of interesting and detailed information on the Golden, Langan and Ormsby families from North East Co Mayo

Another similar website well worth visiting is the Connors Genealogy website which has a section dedicated to Co Mayo including a County Mayo Surname Registry.

National Library of Ireland Parish Records Website

The National Library of Ireland has launched a Parish Records website where you will find a web-repository of Catholic parish registers records, dating from the 1740s to the 1880s.

The website provides access to church records dating back up to 270 years and includes details like the dates of baptisms and marriages and the names of the key people involved.

This new Irish genealogy service will make it much easier for those researching their Irish roots wherever they live in the world.

For those based overseas, the website now makes it possible to consult the records from the comfort of their own home without any barriers.

If you know of any other resources for people find out more about their Co Mayo roots, please let us know by adding your comments below.

By Anthony Hickey

Follow writer and photographer, Anthony Hickey, as he travels around his native Co. Mayo, Ireland.

2 replies on “How to find your Co Mayo roots”

Anthony,
You’ve gathered some of the best Mayo resources but people might also use the Mayo Library Local Studies collection at http://www.mayolibrary.ie/en/LocalStudies/. Ask About Ireland has some great resources too at http://www.askaboutireland.ie/reading-room/digital-book-collection/digital-books-by-county/mayo/.

‘Plan to explore the beaches in May when I’m in North Mayo – go raibh maith agat for the information.
Elaine
Mise Eire Ancestral Research

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Elaine,
Thanks for adding the link to Mayo County Library Local Studies and also the link to the collection of digital reference books about the history of Mayo.
I hope the weather is good in May for your visit and enjoy the Mayo beaches – they’re the best in Ireland!

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