UCC ACE Short courses

Research and Write your Family Tree (mornings, taught online only)

About This Course

Fact File

  • Title

    Research and Write your Family Tree (mornings, taught online only)

  • Code


  • College

    Adult Continuing Education

  • Duration

    Ten weeks, Wednesdays 10:30am-12:30pm, from 7 October to 9 December 2020

  • Teaching Mode


  • Qualifications

    Cert of Attendance

  • Fees

    €230 See Fees and Costs for full details.

  • Entry Requirements

    Applicants must be over 18 years of age by course commencement. See Requirements for full details.

  • Closing Date

    Friday, 25 September 2020

  • Course Delivery Method


  • Start Date

    Wednesday 7 October 2020

Course Outline

Creating a family history has never been easier than at this time: the era of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). The use of DNA tests, computerised databases, genealogical applications and online family trees has made possible what had previously been impossible. Your family tree can be researched more cheaply, produced more easily, displayed more impressively and distributed at no cost, thanks to developments in ICT.  

However the new tools also have their downside. They can be a distraction, encouraging perpetual online research.  They encourage the erroneous belief that family histories can be preserved and accessed indefinitely as digital media. Websites like Ancestry.com push their members into creating huge, unwieldy, conglomerations of far out relatives, to no purpose. Traditional characteristics of family histories are being forgotten and the tried and tested display patterns and numbering systems are rarely used.  

The aim of the course is to equip attendees with the skills and information necessary to create a traditional family tree using modern genealogical tools.  This objective is to produce a pedigree of seven generations (including the subject of the pedigree). This task may be made a little easier by making a child or grandchild the subject of the pedigree rather than yourself.  

There are three strands to the course. Firstly, twelve important genealogical sources will be described in detail, with a focus on how to locate and use them to get information on your own ancestry. Secondly, a methodical approach to family history research will be outlined, advising how to tackle a mass of documentary material, and also suggesting how to produce a finished family tree document. Thirdly, the historical and social context necessary for a deeper understanding of our ancestors and our genealogical records will form a continuous backdrop to the course. The three strands will be intertwined to form a practical, informative and entertaining experience. 

1. General Introduction:Source: Census Returns, Project Plan. History: First People in Ireland
2. Source: State Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages, start research with the live ones. History: The Bronze Age to the Celts
3. Sources: Catholic and Church of Ireland Parish Records, Administrative Divisions. History: St Patrick to the Vikings
4. Source:Valuation and Poor Law Records, the Easy Options. History: The Norman/British Conquest of Ireland
5. Sources: Wills and Administrations, Records of the Graveyard, the Matheson Report. History: The Plantations
6. Source: Estate Records, Parliamentary Papers. History: The 1641 Rebellion to the Battle of the Boyne
7. Source: The Registry of Deeds, Intensive Investigations. History: The Ascendancy
8. Sources: Tithe Applotment Books and the Land Commission, Finishing the Job. History: O’Connell’s Ireland
9. Sources: Hearth Money Rolls and the Religious Census; Assessment of Material. History: Parnell’s Ireland
10. Source: Miscellaneous other sources, The Final Document; History: de Valera’s Ireland

Course Practicalities

Who Teaches This Course

The course is taught by Tony McCarthy MA who has lectured widely on genealogy in Ireland and the United States. He is the author of The Irish Roots Guide (Lilliput), The Ancestor Album (Lilliput), Tracing Your Cork Ancestors [with Tim Cadogan] (Flyleaf), The Facts of Death (Belgrave). With his wife, Angela, he founded Irish Roots, a magazine which he edited for 16 years. He is a Fellow and former President of the Genealogical Society of Ireland, and a Fellow of the Cork Geological Society.  

The course consists of ten two hour lectures (7-9pm). To derive full benefit from the course, participants are expected to use their new knowledge and skills to carry out their own research, both online and in various archives and to produce a finished family history document suitable for distribution among their extended families. This work is expected to be carried out both during the course and after the course has finished. 


Short courses are non-assessed


Why Choose This Course

Genealogy is one of the most popular and enjoyable hobbies in the world. The internet is making more and more family history sources available online at little or no cost to the family history researcher. However, unless you have some knowledge of Irish history and a clear understanding of the various record compilations in their historical context, you can waste a lot of time and make significant mistakes. This course provides all you need to set out on the Irish ancestor trail with confidence.  The course provides an introduction to the top Irish genealogical sources; it provides a summary of Ireland’s past sufficient to give a sense of historical orientation, and it provides enough information and advice to encourage participants to produce a finished family history document.  It also provides a clear plan for your family history with a number of charts to help you in the work.



Applicants must be over 18 years of age by course commencement

Fees and Costs

The fee for this course is €230.

How Do I Apply

The closing date for applications is Friday 25 September 2020.

Fees are listed in each course description. Students register and pay fees before course commencement as follows:

Register and pay online by clicking the Apply Now button below. Course commencement is subject to sufficient enrolment. In the event of a course not commencing applicants will be informed and their fees will be returned.

Apply Now

Contact details for this course

Year 1 Modules

Year 2 Modules

Year 3 Modules

Year 4 Modules

For queries regarding course content or timetables please contact