Surge in interest in Derry ancestry

Brian Mitchell, geneaologist, Derry City Council. DER0515MC044

Brian Mitchell, geneaologist, Derry City Council. DER0515MC044

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There has been a surge in the number of people tracing their local ancestry, local genealogist Brian Mitchell has claimed.

People from around the world are accessing the local council’s database of Derry genealogy to find vital clues to their ancestry.

The database can be accessed via the website www.rootsireland.ie and has become the ‘go to’ resource for overseas visitors hoping to trace their heritage and planning visits to Ireland. The extensive catalogue of historical information reveals the details of thousands of families, some dating back to 1628.

A Member of the Accredited Genealogists Ireland (M.A.G.I.), Brian Mitchell has built an archive for the city over the past 30 years, which can be accessed by anyone hoping to find out more about their origins.

He said: “Work on the database began in 1982 and it has grown since then to hold over one million historic records (dating from 1642 to 1922) extracted from the major civil and church registers of County Derry. People are definitely becoming more interested in their heritage and finding out how local families have shaped the history of the city.

“I am delighted to see that the database has such relevance to people today. It’s clear that it’s a crucial archive for a wide audience, especially researchers overseas who are considering holidaying in Ireland to ‘walk in the footsteps’ of their ancestors.”

The database of Derry now contains the bulk of pre-1922 civil birth and marriage registers for the city and county, the early registers of 97 churches, gravestone inscriptions and census records from 1628 to 1921. Anyone hoping to find out more about their family, local place names, surname origins, sources to search offices to visit, can contact Brian Mitchell via email at genealogy@derrystrabane.com or check via the website.