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Online Resources

Donegal County Library provides access to a number of online databases free of charge to library members. These electronic resources are being provided to support the research interests of our users. They can be accessed from Donegal libraries, Taobh Tíre centres and from home. Login to the following databases using your library membership card number:


Newsbank (link here) provides access to back issues of the Irish Times and the Irish Independent using an easy to use but powerful interface. The full text of all news stories is included.


Press Display (link here) Library.PressDisplay.com is an online newspaper portal which offers over 400 newspapers from 65 countries in 45 languages. All newspapers are published in their original format and layout, including full text and images.


Grove Dictionary of Art (link here) provides web access to the entire text of the Dictionary of Art with constant additions of new material and updates to the text, plus extensive image links and all the sophisticated search advantages possible with an online reference source.


Grove Dictionary of Music (link here) offers a dynamic research tool combining the full text of the print edition with the added benefit of sophisticated search capabilities, one click referencing and an ever increasing network of web links to musical sites around the world.


Oxford Reference Premium (link here) is a highly acclaimed and expanding collection of key Oxford dictionaries and reference works across the full subject spectrum. It also offers excellent functionality and a wide range of additional materials such as maps, illustrations and timelines.


Credo Reference (link here) offers a wide selection of the most authoritative reference works in an online searchable format. Titles cover all major academic subjects areas.


Britannica Online (link here) is the online version of the renowned Encyclopedia Britannica which not only allows access to all the resources of the print volumes but is also available in three age specific sections. Britannica Junior (Age 5-11), Britannica Student (Age 12-18), Encyclopedia Britannica (Age 18 and up). It offers searchable and browse-able collections of the reference articles with thousands of links and related websites.


FACTfinder (link here) is an Irish business and research database that includes both full text and abstracts of articles from Business & Finance and some of the main Irish newspapers. Other services available are top 5,000 Irish companies, information on quoted companies & the latest in share markets.


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Family History Sources at the Central Library

The following major sources are found in the Central Library:


Census Records and Census Substitutes

1901 Census; 1911 Census

Because of the destruction of the Four Courts building during the Civil War, the earliest surviving complete records are for the censuses taken in 1901 and 1911. We hold microfilm copies of both the 1901 and 1911 Census returns for the County, [originals in the National Archives]. These list all those present in the household on the night of the census (31st March 1901, and on a range of dates from January to May 1911), their relationship to the householder, religion, occupation, age and other personal details. The returns are arranged by District Electoral Division and townland.

The other records in this category can be classed as census substitutes.


Muster Roll

This is the oldest census substitute listing we hold dating from1630. It is a list of able-bodied men able to fight if needed for the Crown, listed by barony and 'undertaker'. It is reprinted in Donegal Annual Vol. 10 (2). 1972. pp130-149, from the BM Add. MS 4770 manuscript.


Civil Survey

This is a record of land ownership compiled between 1654 and 1656. The Civil Survey for Donegal is printed, along with those for Derry and Tyrone, in a monograph published in 1937. [The Civil survey A.D. 1654-1656. Dublin: Stationery Office, 1937].

Pender's 'Census'

This is a similar record, laid out by barony and townland, listing persons with title to land, the numbers of Irish and English, and principal Irish names (a valuable list). It takes its name from Seamus Pender, who edited it, but was compiled in 1659 by William Petty. [Seamus Pender. A Census of Ireland circa 1659. Dublin: Stationery Office, 1939].


Pynnar's Survey

This is, like Pender's Census, a survey of the native Irish tenants remaining on forfeited lands, and is contained in The Plantation in Ulster by George Hill. Belfast: M'Caw, Stevenson & Orr, 1877. 621p.


Hearth Money Rolls

These list the names of householders who were eligible to pay the Hearth Tax, and were compiled in 1665. Ours is an indexed photocopy, from the PRONI T. 307/C manuscript.



Abstract of Wills in the Registry of Deeds
Volume 1 1708 - 1745
Volume 2 1746 - 1785
Volume 3 1785 - 1832.



This is a bound typescript of the owners of freeholds in Donegal, registered between 1760 and 1769. The original manuscripts were found in the basement of Lifford Courthouse in 1933 and sent to the National Library.


Raphoe Marriage Registers

This is a photocopy of some 18th century Catholic marriages in the Protestant registers of the Diocese of Raphoe.


Protestant householders

A list of Protestant householders in the parish of Leck in 1766 is reprinted in Lecky's The Laggan and its Presbyterianism (1905). This also lists Hearth Money Rolls for East Donegal [1665], tenants on the Abercorn estate, and householders in St. Johnston, both 1794.


Parish of Culdaff

This is a photocopy of a list of persons in the Parish of Culdaff, March 8th, 1782.


Spinning-wheel premium lists

This is a photocopy of those persons in Donegal to whom a premium was paid in 1796, in connection with the spinning of flax.


Tithe Applotments

These are lists of landholders, originally compiled as the basis for tithe payments, which had to be paid to the local Church of Ireland Rector. We hold bound photocopies of the Tithe Applotment books for the parishes of Aghaninshin (1834), Aughnish (1830), Burt (183-); Desertegney (183-) and Donegal (183-). That for Mevagh (1827) is reprinted in Leslie Lucas's Mevagh Down the Years.  Belfast: Appletree Press, 1982. [originals in the National Archives].


Other Photocopied Material

  • 'Donegal remembers World War I dead' (a list of men from the County who fought and died in World War I).
    A List of families in the Parish of Conwal 1878 / compiled by W. Craig.
    Old Letterkenny families / compiled by Sam Fleming.
    Murlog Church baptisms 1773-1777.
    St. Eunan's Letterkenny: List of Marriage Lines 1857.


Land Records ~ Griffith's Valuation

Griffith's Primary Valuation

This - the first standard valuation of all real property in Ireland - lists householders and lessors by townland, parish, poor law union, and barony. We hold a full set for Donegal, in volumes arranged by barony. Although the publication dates for County Donegal are stated to be 1857-58, there is strong evidence to suggest that the valuation was carried out up to a decade earlier. It is known, for instance, that some persons listed as being present in 1857-58 had died in the Famine. The maps relating to Griffith's Valuation are in the Valuation Office, Dublin.

Genealogical and family history information is also to be found in some monographs e.g. Amy Isabel Young's Three hundred years in Inishowen Belfast: McCaw, Stevenson & Orr, 1929, Charlie Conaghan's History and antiquities of Killybegs Ballyshannon, 1975, and others.




Other Sources

Emigration Lists

We hold a number of published passenger lists (mainly for vessels leaving Derry Port) and of US immigration lists. The earliest records date from 1735. They include:

  • Donegal passengers on the Assisted Passenger Lists from Plymouth, England to Sydney Australia 1848-1868/ complied by Richard Reid.
  • Emigrants from Ireland to America 1735-1743 / by Frances McDonnell.
  • Passengers from Ireland: lists of passengers arriving at American ports between 1811 and 1817 / by Donald M. Schlegel.
  • Irish passenger lists 1847-1871: lists of passengers sailing from Londonderry to America on ships of the J & J. Cooke Line and the McCorkell Line / compiled by Brian Mitchell.
  • Passenger list of the 'Invercargill',  which sailed to New Zealand 1878 (65 passengers from County Donegal) [photocopy].
  • Immigration of Irish Quakers into Pennsylvania 1682-1750


The Famine immigrants, listing Irish immigrants arriving at the Port of New York [7 volumes]

  • Volume 1: Jan 1846 - June 1847
    Volume 2: July 1847 - June 1848
    Volume 3: July 1848 - March 1849
    Volume 4: April 1849 - Sept 1849
    Volume 5: Oct 1849 - May 1850
    Volume 6: June 1850 - March 1851
    Volume 7: April 1851 - Dec 1851


The Search for missing friends: Irish immigrant advertisements placed in the Boston Pilot [8 volumes]

  • Volume 1: 1831 - 1850
    Volume 2: 1851 - 1853
    Volume 3: 1854 - 1856
    Volume 4: 1857 - 1860
    Volume 5: 1861 - 1865
    Volume 6: 1866 - 1870
    Volume 7: 1871 - 1876
    Volume 8: 1877 - 1920.


Parish Registers

We hold microfilm copies of the parish registers of the Church of Ireland parishes of Inver, Mountcharles, Killaghtee and Killybegs, all in the South of the County. The Inver records (Baptisms and Marriages) begin in 1805, Killybegs Baptisms in 1809 and Marriages in 1838, Killaghtee Marriages begin in 1857 and baptisms in 1873, and Mountcharles Marriages in 1861 and Baptisms in 1877.


Gravestone Inscriptions

We hold, in typescript form, records of gravestone inscriptions for the following graveyards, including a layout plan:

  • Aughaninshin St. Catherines, Killybegs
    Balleeghan Kilmacrennan
    Bruckless Kilmonaster
    Clonleigh Leck
    Gartan St. Eunan's Cathedral, Raphoe
    Old Inver Raymoghy
    Church of Ireland, Inver Tullaghobegley
    Old Killaghtee Tullyaughnish
    Church of Ireland, Killaghtee


A number of records of gravestone inscriptions have been published:

  • Assaroe Abbey
    in Ó Gallachair, Pádraig. 'Assaroe Cemetery' Donegal Annual Vol. 3 (3). 1957. pp81-107.
  • Ballyshannon, Church of Ireland
    in Begley, Anthony. 'Graveyard inscriptions at St. Anne's Church of Ireland, Ballyshannon'. Donegal Annual Vol 12 (2). 1978. pp320-358.
  • Carne, Pettigo
    in Ó Gallachair, Pádraig, Slevin, P., and Cunningham, John 'Carne graveyeard, Pettigo, Co. Donegal' Donegal Annual Vol. 41, 1989. pp135-156.
  • Finner
    in Ó Gallachair, Padraig Where Erne and Drowes meet the Sea [s.l.: s.n.] 1961.
  • Machaire Gathláin (Maheragallon)
    in Irish Family History 5, 1989.



We hold a range of directories, in printed and microfiche form of interest to the North West of Ireland, listing merchants and 'gentlemen'. These include

  • Slater's Directory of Ireland 1846, 1856, 1870, 1881 and 1884.
  • Pigot's Directory of Ireland 1820, 1821, 1822 and 1824.
  • Porter's Guide to the manufacturers and shippers of Ireland 1908.




For further information on Family History & Genealogy in County Donegal contact

Donegal County Archives  http://www.donegalcoco.ie/services/communityculturalenterprise/Archives+Service/
 Donegal Ancestry http://www.donegalancestry.com/
National Library of Ireland  http://www.nli.ie/en/homepage.aspx
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland  http://www.proni.gov.uk/
Library of the Church of the Latter Day Saints, Ellis Island  http://www.familysearch.org/
Church Of Ireland  http://ireland.anglican.org/