Diploma in Family History



Next course commencing: 30 January 2020

Duration: 10 weeks, one evening per week from 6.30 to 9.30pm.

Course fee: classroom-based €995 (or €1,095 if paying the course fee in instalments), online €895 (or €895 if paying the course fee in instalments)
Non-EU students: €1,295

Multi-Course Discount: Students who register for two or more classroom-based courses can do so at a fee of €895 per course.

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This course will assist students to develop the skills necessary to utilise the resources available to trace genealogical lineage using online search records as well as resources in historical libraries and archives. Students will investigate death certificates, wills census records, birth certificates and other primary records to teach students to identify ancestors in building their family tree.


  • Course Outline

    Each session of discussion of online sources and strategies is followed by hands-on practice in the classroom.  All participants receive a free year’s subscription to the Irish Ancestors site at

    1: Introduction & Expectations, Surnames & Placenames
    The expectations and misconceptions surrounding Irish genealogy are discussed and debunked. Surnames and place names are the raw material of genealogy and are especially tricky in Ireland. Tools for handling them are introduced

    2: The General Register Office
    All Irish births, deaths and marriages were registered by the state from 1864. How the system works and how to research these records.

    3: Irish Census Records
    The history of census-taking in Ireland.  Research strategies for the earliest complete census records, 1901 and 1911, and for surviving earlier fragments.

    4: Irish Church Records 
    Irish church records, their importance, locations and nature. Years covered, locations and research strategies for the records of the major denominations.

    5: Irish Property Records
    Only two country-wide 19th-century census substitutes exist, Griffith’s Valuation and the Tithe Books. Here they are examined in detail and research approaches are outlined.

    6: Revision of Major Sources
    How the four main record-sources already examined interact with each other and how each can be used to find out more in the others.

    7: Census Substitutes 
    The lack of early censuses makes anything with a name on it potentially relevant for Irish research. Samples of the best-known are introduced and examined.

    8: Other Useful Records 1
    Apart from the four universally useful sources, there are many other potentially helpful records, generally relating to property. This session treats occupational records, directories, newspapers and wills.

    9: Other Useful Records 2
    Covering the Registry of Deeds, the Genealogical Office, graveyard records and records of the Irish Abroad

    10. Bringing it all together

    The mechanics of designing, pursuing and recording a family history project. Online subscriptions and online tree-sharing.

    Much of the course will be conducted in a workshop atmosphere with students being asked to prepare material for discussion in advance. A fully qualified genealogist will be in attendance for a one-hour session each week to offer detailed, personalised expert advice.

  • JGRENHAMJohn Grenham has been called “the godfather of Irish genealogy”. He is a presenter of the hit RTE TV show “The Genealogy Roadshow”. Among his publications is  the standard guide to Irish genealogy, Tracing your Irish Ancestors (4th ed.2012).

    He was Project Manager with the Irish Genealogical Project from 1991 to 1995 and later went on to develop and market his own genealogical software, “Grenham’s Irish Recordfinder”. Since 1998, he has run the Irish Times “Irish Ancestors” website.

    In 2005, he was the first Genealogist-in-Residence at Dublin City Library. He was awarded a fellowship of The Irish Genealogical Research Society in 2007 and of the Genealogical Society of Ireland in 2010. Among his other publications are Clans and Families of Ireland (1995), Generations (1996), “The Genealogical Office and its Records” in The Genealogical Office , (1999), Grenham’s Irish Surnames (CD-ROM, 2003) and numerous articles and columns in the UK magazine Your Family Tree. He has written the “Irish Roots” column and blog in The Irish Times since February 2009.

    In 2011, along with Irish Times Training, he developed and launched an online genealogical course.

    His website is


  • “I really enjoyed the course! John’s delivery of the lectures were both easy to understand and follow, and his great sense of humour added to the overall enjoyment of the course. His extensive knowledge makes the course very comprehensive, and I feel I have greatly benefited from taking part.”
    Sinead Nolan

    “John is a superb lecturer!  So knowledgeable.  And the streaming online and recording of the course is a wonderful resource.”

    Natalie Milne

    “Excellent presentation! Access to the online material is very helpful.”

    Brian Daly

    “I very much enjoyed the coursework, chatting with the other participants and, of course, meeting John Grenham. I would certainly recommend City Collages to family and friends.”

    Lorna Carroll

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    For further information call 1850 25 27 40 or email

    To download an application form click here

  • Why City Colleges?

    • Courses for students who are passionate about their subject, delivered by leaders in their field.
    • Live lectures which are also streamed live on Moodle and recorded for review
    • City centre location in South Great George’s Street, convenient for bus, LUAS, DART
    • Study rooms and library in our City Centre and Dundrum locations
    • Limited class size

To enrol call 1850 25 27 40 or apply online