ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Irish Ancestry - How to Use Vital Records and Where to Find Them

Updated on December 31, 2014

Civil Registrations in Ireland

New Years Day of 1864 saw the beginning of civil registration in Ireland, and all births, deaths and marriages have been recorded since, at least in theory. Some births went unrecorded, especially in the early stages of civil registration and particularly with country folk who may have had to travel long distances to register.

The following is a summary of what these registers contain and where to find them if searching for an ancestor who was Irish.

Source

Birth Certificates

The Irish birth certificate contains:

  • Person’s date of birth

  • Name of person

  • Sex of person

  • Mother’s maiden name

  • Father’s name, address and occupation

  • Informants name, residence and qualification (usually their relationship with the subject or legal standing)

At the head of the birth certificate will be found the name of the county and the division within in which the birth was originally registered. The real value of an Irish birth certificate is that it can provide you with the difficult-to-find name of the townland where your ancestor was born. A bit of caution should be exercised with the actual birth date on these certificates, as sometimes the birth was recorded sometime after the actual event. Fines were imposed on those who waited too long, so occasionally the dates were fiddled.

Source

Marriage Certificates

Marriage certificates provide a wide range of useful information, and because they contain the names of both parties, are often the easiest civil records to locate. Marriage certificates contain many details which may prove useful to a genealogist, even providing a link or lead to the next generation. They will tell you:

  • Name of the parish, The Poor Law Union and county

  • Name of Church

  • Date of marriage

  • Names of bride and groom

  • Ages of bride and groom

  • Occupation, rank or profession of married parties

  • Address of married parties

  • Names and occupations of fathers of bride and groom

  • Names of witnesses

Source

Death Certificates

Death certificates are considered the least prized of civil registration papers by genealogists. This is due to the common inaccuracies they might contain. Some ages in death certificates can be up to ten years off, and cannot be guaranteed to be correct. Often the heads of families rounded off the ages of their dead relatives to the nearest whole number, so differences of 4 and 5 years are quite common. They can provide you though with:

  • Location of death

  • Former occupation of the deceased

  • Cause of death

  • Name of the informant and their relationship with the deceased

The age, though possibly inaccurate, can provide you with an approximate guide as to when the person was born, which will help in your search of a birth certificate.

Births, Deaths, and Marriages in Ireland

How to Obtain an Irish Birth, Death or Marriage Certificate

All records that predate the separation of Northern Ireland and the now Republic of Ireland are held at the General Registers Office in Roscommon. The GRO also maintain a genealogical/family history research facility at 3rd Floor, Block 7, Irish Life Centre, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1.

The Research facility is open Monday to Friday, (excluding public holidays) from 9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. for the purpose of searching indexes to birth, death and marriage records and for obtaining photocopies of records identified from the indexes.

Indexes in relation to the following records of life events are available for inspection at the Research Facility:

1. Births registered in the island of Ireland between 1st January 1864 and 31 December 1921 inclusive and in Ireland (excluding the six north-eastern counties of Derry, Antrim, Down, Armagh, Fermanagh, and Tyrone known as Northern Ireland) from 1922 onwards.

2. Deaths registered in the island of Ireland between 1st January 1864 and 31st December 1921 inclusive and in Ireland (excluding Northern Ireland) from 1922 onwards.

3. Non-Roman Catholic Marriages registered in the island of Ireland between 1st April 1845 and 31st December 1863 inclusive.

4. Marriages registered in the island of Ireland between 1st January 1864 and 31st December 1921 inclusive and in Ireland (excluding Northern Ireland) from 1922 onwards.

5. Legal Domestic Adoptions registered in Ireland from 10th July 1953 onwards.

Valuable Online Databases

If you have vital information on your ancestor, obtaining the relevant certificate is a fairly easy process. The Irish Government now makes this service available online, and with a few clicks of the mouse you can download and fill out an application form. The website of the General Registration Office issues certified copies of all certificates. The GRO website also provides other useful information regarding their research facility and what other records they have available at their location in Dublin. If your ancestor was from Northern Ireland you can order copies of Vital Records from the Belfast GRO.

Due to the popularity of genealogy today, there are a growing number of other online databases available to the public. For most there is a fee that varies from website to website and is dependent on the type of search involved. Below is a listing of tried and trusted websites where you can access online databases and associated records.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints has an extensive microfilm collection of Irish civil registers. .

The Irish Family History Foundation has begun compiling an online database that now contains the largest collection of Parish records for the island of Ireland that are searchable online. The organization is the co-coordinating body for a network of government approved genealogical research centers in the Republic of Ireland and in Northern Ireland. They have computerized nearly 40 million Irish Ancestral records, primarily Church births (baptisms), marriages, and deaths. Keep in mind that the database is not yet complete, but their website makes it very clear which records are available and which not.

Irish Family History Foundation consists of a network of county oriented genealogical research bases in Ireland. They possess millions of digitized Irish genealogy records, including of church records, census returns, and gravestone inscriptions. The website contains information on every county’s IFHF center.

The website of the Clare County Library has a searchable online database which includes Griffith’s Valuation for County Clare, the 1901 census report, and many other records and directories.

The Donegal Ancestry Centre was established with the primary purpose of assisting family historians to trace their Donegal ancestors. It is the official family history research center for County Donegal.

Ask About Ireland is an initiative of public libraries, archives, and local museums, that have combined to champion the digitization and online publication of Griffith’s Valuation and other valuable genealogical and historical resources that may be useful to genealogists tracing their Irish family lineage.

The Irish Times Digital Archive contains exact reproductions of every article published in the Irish Times from 1859 to present.

At Ireland's Gravestone Index you can search almost half a million gravestone inscriptions from every county in Ireland.

These are the most valuable Irish ancestry records databases and resources we could find online. If you know of another site that has a database or collections of Irish ancestry records that are useful for tracing Irish genealogy online, please let us know by leaving a comment or posting a link in the Comments section.

Did You Find This Hub Helpful?

See results

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)