Ireland List Irish Genealogy Page

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Irish Genealogy Page

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Irish Genealogy Help

Hints For Beginning your Irish Genealogy

Many Researchers who start their Irish Genealogical Research have the same goal. Finding out where their immigrant ancestors came from in Ireland is foremost on their mind.

The Beginning Irish Researcher soon discovers that approaches to research need to be tailored to the social status of the ancestor and the time period of immigration. Tracing the impoverished ancestor, or the ancestor who immigrated in the 1600s or 1700s, may prove to be very difficult, if not nearly impossible.

However, with diligent research using effective strategies the origin of an ancestor in Ireland.

One example is the researcher can often determine the place of origin by using records from the place the ancestor immigrated to and finding out if any records in the country the went to give any clues on their origins..

What can you expect to discover?

It doesn't matter if you conduct the research yourself or hire a professional to do it, you still need to remember that there are limitations to just how far an Irish family can be traced back. It depends on the time period, the area of research (such as the county they lived in) and the availability of records. Success in Irish research has to be judged by different standards than, for example, Scandanavian, English or Scottish research.

Consequently, the average Catholic or Presbyterian lineage can only be traced back to about the year 1800. The Church of Ireland (also known as the Anglican or Episcopal church in other countries) was the Established Church of Ireland. Although the Church of Ireland registers often commenced earlier, over half of these registers were destroyed during the 1922 Civil War when the Public Record Office of Ireland at the Four Courts (now replaced by the National Archives of Ireland) was burned.

  • Most Irish Catholic and Presbyterian church records simply do not begin until the 1820s.
  • If an ancestor was an Orangeman (a member of a Protestant masonic organization) and immigrated to North America, there may exist a transfer certificate identifying his former lodge in Ireland.

Passenger lists for emigrants leaving Ireland are practically non-existent. Moreover, in Canada, the arrival lists often simply state "Ireland" or "Great Britain" as the place of birth or last place of residence.

Often, tombstones, or cemetery records, will tell where an immigrant was born in Ireland. However be careful of accepting such information for sometimes the information was given by someone who "had thought he heard once that so-and=so was from somewhere". In some cases the maker of the monument, or tombstone, made an error and the families accepted the tombstone for one reason or another. In many cases, it is said, that the error just wasn't noticed until it was too late.

One factor that complicates research is that Irish names can be so common that it's very hard to tell which Mary O'Connor or Patrick Kelly is the ancestor.

Not all Irish lineages will come to a halt in the early 1800s. In the case of gentry or the upper class, there are frequently extensive Irish pedigrees which can take a family back hundreds of years.

Although very few such pedigrees exist for peasant families, don't assume your ancestors were peasants simply because they left Ireland. In general, a family had to have at least some money to pay for passage out of Ireland.

Where should you start?

Sources of information generated in the country of settlement should be thoroughly examined first if only "Ireland" is known as the place of birth. If an Irish county is known or if the surname is uncommon, then some Irish records may be utilized.

For example, if just a county is known, it may be that one of theHeritage Centres in that county has an index that could help pinpoint where an ancestor lived (i.e. church, census, tax, or tombstone indexes). This can quickly solve an immigration problem.

Helpful sources in Canada can include the following: family stories and legends, obituaries, society records, church records, military and related records, local histories,civil registration (births, marriages, and deaths), as well as tombstones and other records kept by cemeteries. Such records can be accessed in a variety of places, such as provincial and national archives, university libraries, local and provincial historical and genealogical societies, county courthouses, and church archives. Some sources are still found only in local custody.

Weren't all the Irish records destroyed?

Records being destroyed completely seem to be a common fear among Genealogy Researchers. It is true that some significant Irish record collections have been destroyed. During the 1922 Irish Civil War, the Public Record Office of Ireland (PROI) at Four Courts in Dublin was destroyed by fire, and seven hundred years of Irish records were lost. The PROI housed a No. of key genealogical records of use to those researching their Irish ancestors. The pre-1858 wills, pre-1901 census records, and over half of the Church of Ireland parish registers were among the casualties in 1922.

However, it was only one national repository. Still remaining are all of the records contained in all of the other national repositories such as the Registry of Deeds, General Register Office, National Library of Ireland, Genealogical Office, Valuation Office, and the Public Record Office in London. In addition to records at the national level, there are numerous records of local governments, ecclesiastical records, occupational records, and records in private keeping such as estate, school, hospital, prison and society records. Irish research is complicated by the loss of key records in 1922, but by no means made impossible.

Irish Records

Registration of non-Catholic marriages began in 1845 in Ireland. Registration of births, marriages and deaths, regardless of religion, began January 1, 1864. Certificates for births, marriages and deaths for all of Ireland until 1922 and for the Republic since 1922 are housed in Dublin. Belfast has the records for Northern Ireland from 1922 to present in addition to the all Ireland records from 1864-1922. Foreign applications: Fees are payable in Irish pound currency, Draft I.E.P. or Euro checks or bank drafts drawn on an Irish Bank, made payable to the Registrar General. Sterling checks, Postal Orders, US$ checks are accepted. The minimum amount for a check drawn on a non-Irish bank is 12.70 Euro. I bundle my requests so that I meet the minimum fee. The currency exchange rate for Irish punts is much more favorable that the puond sterling and the prices are more reasonable from Dublin. Photocopy (including search fee) is Irpunts 3.0 and Certificate (including search fee) is Irpunts 5.50.



to get the currency exchange rate for the day as it is changing weekly.

Certificates (B, M, D)5.506.00
Photocopy of an entry in Register3.003.30
When index reference is Supplied1.501.65

Births, Death and Roman Catholic marriages certificates are available from

General Registrar Office
8-11 Lombard Street East
Dublin 2 Ireland

Before 1864 you must use other sources to find/verify information, see

Submitted by: Ellen

Catholic Records

The Catholic Faith teaches that among liturgical celebrations, there are seven Sacraments. Records are kept for the reception of the acraments of baptism and marriage that may be of great help when researching your ancestors. Note that not all sacraments would necessarily be received by all Catholics. In the Roman Catholic Church, the Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion) are often received at different ages.

If you know the name and location of your ancestors' Catholic Church/Parish, and it still exists write a friendly and precise request, for baptism or marriage, records, sent to the church office, may yield the desired records. Your letter should include details of your ancestor, such a name, birthdate, marriage date, etc. (If dates are unknown, try to give a close estimate of the dates.)

Additionally, copies of records for sacraments received later in life, such as, marriage, are traditionally sent to the church where the person was baptized as well. Keep in mind that the work of the Church is ongoing, parishes may vary greatly in their staffing, and records may or may not be indexed by surname, therefore it is advisable to limit your request to two or three records.

Ellen Mulderig
The Celtic Knot

Addresses and Links

Genealogical Office
2 Kildare Street
Dublin 2
Tel: 353 1 6030200
Fax: 353 1 6621062

General Register Office
Joyce House
8-11 Lombard Street East
Dublin 2
Tel: 353 1 6711000
Fax: 353 1 6711243

National Archives of Ireland
Bishop Street
Dublin 4, Ireland
Tel: 353 1 4783711
Fax: 353 1 4783650

National Library of Ireland
Kildare Street
Dublin 2
Tel: 353 1 6618811
Fax: 353 1 6766690

Registry of Deeds
Henrietta Street
Dublin 1
Tel: 353 1 6707500
Fax: 353 1 8048408

Valuation Office of Ireland
Irish Life Center
Abbey Street Lower
Dublin 1
Tel: 353 1 817 1000
Fax: 353 1 817 1180

Transportation Records Database

Irish Land Records


Finding and Using Irish Military Records

Irish Catholic Churches

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