Irish Family History Society

Connecting People With Their Irish Roots

Finding your Ancestors in Kerry

Finding your Ancestors in KerryFinding your Ancestors in Kerry
Kay Caball
ISBN 978-1-907990-08-3
€13.00 Pages 160
Published by Flyleaf Press Dublin

This is another family history research guide in the excellent series of tracing your county ancestors.  The author’s website tells us that Kay Caball is a member of the Maloney family of Listowel and she is a resident of Tralee for twenty-five years.  Therefore she understands Kerry ancestry very well.  Kay is a qualified genealogist and is certified by University of Limerick. The book contains comprehensive lists of practically all the resources available, both in written and online form for anyone researching their Kerry ancestors in Ireland.

The book tells us that Kerry is a county in the province of Munster in the south of Ireland.  It is thought to be named after an ancient tribal group called the ‘Ciarriaghe’.  It is a county rich in history containing castles, ancient cathedrals and monastic settlements.   County Kerry is also known as ‘The Kingdom’ and is particularly famous for Gaelic football, literature and folklore especially from the Great Blasket Island.

 For administrative purposes the book tells us that the county is divided into nine Baronies: Clanmaurice, Corkaguiny, Dunkerron North and South, Glanarought, Iraghticonnor, Iveragh, Magunihy and Trughanacmy.  Of interest to the family historian is the fact that there are 86 civil parishes in Kerry and these are divided into six Registration Districts: Cahirciveen, Dingle, Kenmare, Killarney, Listowel and Tralee.  These towns are where births, deaths and marriages were registered.  Some surnames include:  O’Sullivan, O’Connor, O’Connell, O’Donoghue, Stack, McElligott, Murphy and Fitzgerald.

Some of the earliest records date back to 1586 when the Desmond Survey was carried out and to 1622 when the Survey of the Plantation of Munster was compiled.  There are many collections of Estate Papers which can be consulted, including those of Daniel O’Connell of Derrynane and the Lansdowne papers of the Browne family, Earls of Kenmare.  Another source of family history is newspapers and a list of Kerry newspapers is given in the book, some of which are available online at  Kerry burial records may be accessed at  courtesy of the local authorities. A very helpful bibliography is attached and an Index to make reading the book easy and enjoyable.  Further information can be obtained from various journals including the Kerry Archaeological and Historical society which is published yearly.  This a very informative book on Kerry history and is an invaluable resource for family history both for the serious amateur and the professional genealogist.

Margaret N Loftus B A, Certificate in Genealogy UCD.

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