Updated: Dec 29, 2018
It’s a great time to be doing Irish research! When I look back at the lecture from 2013, I realize how far we’ve come.
In 2009 FamilySearch created indexes to birth, death and marriage records from 1864 (1845 for Protestant marriages) to 1957. The indexes covered all of Ireland until 1921 and the Republic from 1922-1957. I worked on the indexing project and was giddy when it was released. By 2013 the same indexes were also available on Ancestry and FindMyPast. The downside was that the index provided name, registration district, year, quarter, volume and page. Even when you knew the registration district and year, you might find multiple people of the same name listed. Since you had to order the certificates from the General Register Office at €4 each, you made your best guess and hoped for the correct one. That, of course, did not always pan out and I have a file full of wrong certificates!
Now, you log on to IrishGenealogy.ie, search and view the actual certificate online…for free! This is a work in progress and there are limitations due to Irish Privacy laws, but today the records are available as follows:
Births: 1864-1916 Marriages: 1870-1941 Death: 1878-1966
Until 1921 the records cover all of Ireland. From 1922 forward, they cover only the Republic of Ireland. They are still working on marriages from 1845 to 1869 and deaths from 1864-1878.
The privacy restrictions are only for online records (100 years for births, 75 years for marriages and 50 years for deaths). If you find a later registration in the FamilySearch index you can still order it from the General Register Office. You can also stop in their office if you’re in Dublin and use their indexes and obtain copies up to almost the present time.
From 1922, the certificates for Northern Ireland can be obtained from the General Register Office of Northern Ireland, or, if you’re in Belfast they can be viewed on terminals at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). Northern Ireland has the same privacy restrictions and the certificates are not free, but you can obtain online copies of births to 1916, marriages to 1941 and deaths to 1966, but only for the six counties that are currently part of Northern Ireland. So if you are looking for a Protestant marriage in 1860 in Antrim (which is not yet indexed at IrishGenealogy.ie), you can get it online from GRONI.
In 2013, both the 1901 and 1911 censuses of Ireland became available online at the National Archives of Ireland (free). Since then, they have added the fragments of the 1821-1851 censuses that survived the fire. Select the census year from the drop down menu and you will see the counties with surviving records. Browse the county to see what localities survive. In Mayo in 1821, for example, the parish of Shruel [Shrule] is listed but only the townland of Ballycurrin survived.
The National Archive site also has the Census Search forms for 1841 and 1851. These forms were used to prove a person’s age when applying for the Old Age Pension in 1908. Since the censuses still existed at that point, an individual could prove their age if they appeared in either 1841 or 1851.
An addition is the Revision Books which are now online at PRONI for the six counties of Northern Ireland. The Revision Books for the Republic are at the Valuation Office in Dublin, and although they are digitizing them for use in their office, they are not currently available online.
Big news here! The Irish Family History Foundation (subscription) continues to add records to their collection. They have records for most of Ireland for all denominations with the exception of Kerry, parts of Cork and Dublin City which are at IrishGenealogy.ie. Just a reminder that the church records are all dependent on time and place, some starting in the late 1700s and others not until the 1880s. About two-thirds of the Church of Ireland records were destroyed in the Public Records Office fire.
Since 2013, the National Library of Ireland has digitized their entire collection of microfilms of Roman Catholic parish records, primarily baptisms and marriages. Burials are rare, but some do exist. They did not, however, create an index, so in a joint project Ancestry and FindMyPast created the index for the images. Although the majority of the Roman Catholic records for all of Ireland were on microfilm at the National Library, there were exceptions. Kilvine parish in County Mayo is not part of their collection, but there is a microfilm at the Family History Library in Salt Lake City…go figure!
The Representative Church Body Library (Church of Ireland) has also been busy. One of the most important documents they’ve created is the List of Parish Registers. This color coded list (which can be downloaded) gives the status of registers for each parish and their location…local custody, RCB, PRONI, or LOST. They have also started the Anglican Records Project which is a transcription of parish records for some COI parishes. Two other items of interest for those with COI ancestors. First, A Handlist of Church of Ireland Vestry Minute Books in the Representative Church Body Library. You may find a mention of your ancestor in the Vestry minutes, even if the parish registers were lost in the fire as these books were not required to be sent to the Public Records Office. Second is the Archive of the Month. This month there was a discussion of the Irish Huguenot Archive which is now housed at the Library.
The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has an extensive collection of microfilmed church records for all denominations. A Guide to Church Records at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland lists their holdings and years covered. They, too, are in the process of digitizing some of the microfilms in conjunction with the Representative Church Body and the Methodist Archives. At this time, 15 churches have been done and are available to view onsite at PRONI. These records are not online.
This has gotten a bit longer than I expected, so I’ll finish up next week with some additional online records.
Are you looking for additional information on how to find your ancestor’s place of origin in Ireland? Or do you need additional information on how to use civil and church records? Are you confused by Griffith’s Valuation? Check out my Irish Quick Reference Guides.