An interest in ancestral research can be a long-term hobby that enriches your life and informs your understanding of the past.  This Diploma course is the first step in a journey of self-fulfilment, whether the student is looking for structured learning or a pathway towards a new career.

Like all research-based activities, genealogy demands a familiarity with records and the skills to extract relevant details from them.  It requires the ability to differentiate between sourced and un-sourced material, and between facts and probabilities.  This diploma course provides an introduction to the records and research skills that can be built on through practical experience.

Course Content

This diploma course is being delivered by Members of Accredited Genealogists Ireland (AGI)

Week 1

  • Introduction to Irish Genealogy                                                     
  • Overview of Online Sources                                                            
  • Tutorial Session                                                                    

Week 2

  • Civil Records of Birth, Death & Marriage                                    
  • Census Returns
  • Tutorial Session                                                                                

Week 3                                            

  • Roman Catholic Parish Records                                          
  • Research Techniques, Report Writing & Assignment 1
  • Tutorial Session               

Week 4                                            

  • Land Records 1                                                                                 
  • Land Records 2
  • Tutorial Session                                                                              

Week 5                                

  • Church of Ireland Records                                                              
  • Newspapers as a Resource for Genealogy
  • Tutorial Session                                    

Week 6

  • Feedback on Assignment 1 and General Discussion                   
  • Research without Frontiers
  • Tutorial Session                                                   

Week 7                                          

  • Testamentary Records                                                                     
  • Registry of Deeds
  • Tutorial Session                                 

Week 8                                               

  • Estate Papers                                                                                   
  • Non-Conformist Church Records
  • Tutorial Session                

Week 9                                               

  • Trade Directories & Occupational Records                                                                             
  • Introduction to Irish Repositories
  • Tutorial: Final Discussion on Assignment 2                                                                           

Week 10                                             

  • Taking it one Step Further
  • Use of DNA in Genealogy                                                                
  • Tutorial : Beyond the Course                                                              

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, personalized expert advice.


There will be two assignments.  Assignment 1 must be handed in on Week 5.  It will count for 30% of the overall mark for the course.  Assignment 2 must be handed in on Week 10.  It will count for 70% of the overall mark.  A pass grade on the written assignments will be required for awarding of the Diploma.


Máire Mac Conghail, FAGI, FIGRS

Máire has been a Member of AGI since 1990.  She began her career while a student at UCD, working part-time for the Genealogical Office.  She returned to the field some years later and eventually applied for AGI membership.  Later she took the Local Studies course at NUI, Maynooth, obtaining a diploma in 1997. 

Over the years she has taught Adult Education courses at a number of locations in Dublin.  She has served on the Board of the National Library of Ireland, the Irish Manuscripts Commission and the National Archives Advisory Council.  She is joint author of the guide book Tracing Irish Ancestors, published in 1997.  In 2005 she was elected a Fellow of the Irish Genealogical Research Society.

Paul MacCotte

Dr. Paul MacCotter, MA, PHd, M.A.G.I., is a native of Cork City and obtained his MA in 1994 and his PhD in 2006 in University College Cork. These were for work in the areas of medieval history and genealogy. He has worked both as a genealogist and medieval historian for many years, and has published papers in various journals, such as Irish Genealogist, Irish Roots, History Ireland and the online ezine, Irish Lives Remembered, therefore covering the entire gamut of Irish genealogical publications from the popular to the academic. Paul MacCotter teaches genealogy in University College Cork and the University of Limerick, and is a regular conference speaker in Trinity College, Dublin.

Sandra Doble, MAGI

Sandra has been a Member of AGI since 2015, having been an Affiliate from 2013.  Previously she had worked in accountancy, having qualified as a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants.  Having worked for over fifteen years in auditing and as a finance manager, she decided to turn to her true passion of genealogy and pursue it professionally.  She successfully completed a diploma course in Family History / Genealogy and about the same time set up her own business.  She is part of the AGI team that operates the Genealogy Advisory Service at the National Archives.  Research on Church of Ireland families is one of her particular interests.

John is very knowledgeable, both in his chosen field and in general.  He is very easy to listen to  and understand, and has a very pleasant manner. The whole process has been very easy for me, both to join and to participate in class.  Any contact I have had with the staff, I have found them to be very helpful and pleasant.

Sinead Nolan

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

Natalie Milne

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

Lorna Carroll

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

Brian Daly

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
  • Leading e-learning tools to make the online learning experience a pleasant one
  • Study rooms and library in our City Centre location in Dublin, Ireland
  • Limited class size creating a better learning environment

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Diploma in Family History (Online)

Online Diploma in Family History


6:30 PM - 9:30 PM

John Grenham