County Galway, Ireland Genealogy

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Guide to County Galway ancestry, family history and genealogy: birth records, marriage records, death records, census records, parish registers, and military records.

History[edit | edit source]

County Galway became an official entity around 1569 AD. In modern times, a number of inhabited islands are also administered by the county; these include the Aran Islands and Inishbofin. County Galway is home to the largest Irish-speaking region in Ireland. With the arrival of Christianity many monasteries were built in the county. Monasteries kept written records of events in the area and of its people. These were followed by a number of law-tracts, genealogies, annals and miscellaneous accounts.

Surviving manuscripts containing references to Galway include:
Annals of Lough Cé
Annals of Connacht
Triallam timcheall na Fodla
Leabhar Adhamh Ó Cianáin
Leabhar Ua Maine
Corporation Book of Galway
The Book of the Burkes
Annals of the Four Masters
Leabhar na nGenealach
Cuimre na nGenealach
Obituary Book of the Franciscan monastery at Galway
Annals of the Poor Clares
Dominican Annal of Athenry
West or Iar-Connacht
The Lynch Manuscript

The population of County Galway is roughly 258,552 people.[1]

General County Research Information[edit | edit source]

Further information about County Galway is available at the GenUKI site.

Archives and Libraries[edit | edit source]

Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

County Galway has some significant resources for obtaining cemetery information.

Here are some compiled cemetery links for Galway ancestry:

Census[edit | edit source]

Census records for County Mayo were mostly destroyed prior to 1900. The following web site provides researchers with free online access to an index, and with images, to the only two complete censuses available for Ireland: the 1901 and 1911 censuses, available at the National Archives of Ireland web site at no cost and with scanned images as well.

The Roman Catholic parishioners of Kinvarra, Duras, and Killina for the year 1834 are listed with data available online.

Church Records[edit | edit source]

Online Records[edit | edit source]

Church of Ireland[edit | edit source]

The Representative Church Body Library has just about all surviving Church of Ireland registers. Some transcript copies are available at:

  • rootsireland - online transcriptions may be forthcoming
  • the local parish (contact for details in availability)
  • Family History Library ( - see the Catalog for Galway county/parish records availability

Contributed by Rev. Iain Knox. The Rev. Edward Bacon's Register. List of baptisms, giving child's name, parents names, date of baptism and address. covers years 1766-1800, Co. Tipperary, Clonmel, Killenaule, Inishlounaght, and Co. Galway, Eyrecourt. Article in The Irish Ancestor, vol. XVII, no. 1. 1985, pages 35-48, and 96-115. Family History Library Ref. 941.5 B2i

Presbyterian[edit | edit source]

The vast majority of Presbyterian chapel registers have never been centrally archived, and thus are found in various locations. [Regretably, preservation of these precious records and the rich Presbyterian heritage of local Presbyterians as well as descendants of same at large with roots originating from Ireland, are at risk unless and until such time when all of these registers are centralized or, at least copied into microform or, better--digitised and preserved.]

You must conduct exhaustive, thorough studies to determine to which Presbyterian denomination your ancestor belonged; and to then, determine the whereabouts of surviving registers--if any. The following most likely places to find and search Presbyterian registers starts with checking the following locations:

Methodist[edit | edit source]

The RootsIreland web site for County Galway has some Methodist data now available on-line for about 4 different chapels in the county from as early as 1836.

Roman Catholic[edit | edit source]

The Catholic parish of Ballymacward and Gurteen is also known as Ballymacward and Clonkeenkerril. It includes the civil parishes of Ballymacward and Clonkeen. There are Catholic chapels in both civil parishes, united under one administrator.

The FHL (Family History Library) has copies of some of the original Roman Catholic parish registers of County Galway parishes in its collection. You can identify these listed online at If you know the name of the civil parish in which your Catholic ancestor resided, or was from, click "Catalog" and type in the name of the parish and then highlight/click on "Church Records".

The National Library, Kildare Street, Dublin, is the custodian of all available Roman Catholic parish registers from throughout the country--including County Galway.

The Rootsireland web site has data from numerous Roman Catholic parishes now on-line for searching. There are fees attached (about $4.50 for each entry).

Civil Jurisdictions and Parish Research Information[edit | edit source]

Civil Registration of Births, Marriages & Deaths[edit | edit source]

Government-sponsored registration of births, marriages and deaths began in 1845 (Protestant marriages only) and 1864 (whole population). To find information on the vital events of your irish ancestor, here are some helpful websites for obtaining critical information:

To obtain certificates of birth, marriage or death for your ancestor[s], write to or contact the following record office; the cost is €10 (about $13) per certificate:

   General Register Office, Government Offices,
Convent Road Roscommon.
Tel: +353 (0) 90 6632900
LoCall: 1890 252076
Fax: +353 (0) 90 6632999
Fax: +353 (0) 90 6632988

There are fees for performing particular searches; see their website for further information.

Directories[edit | edit source]

Estate Records[edit | edit source]

Estate records may provide names of households in such records as leases, rents, and mortgages. These ought to be consulted and used when extant, especially when church registers do not exist for the time period being researched. Here are some web sites which hold estate records and some transcriptions of same:

Genealogy[edit | edit source]

Land and Property[edit | edit source]

Military[edit | edit source]

Occupations[edit | edit source]

Place-Names[edit | edit source]

Here are two important place-name aids/tools for locating your Irish place and its parish jurisdiction[s]:

  • List of All Townlands, Towns and Townships in County Galway. - click county "Galway"; then click "Submit" to view a complete alphabetical listing of all townlands, towns and townships and the parishes in which they lay
  • Topographical Dictionary of Ireland by Samuel A. Lewis; at - provides a rich 1837 historical perspective of each Ireland parish and large township; great for determining which churches existed in each parish--Church of Ireland or Nonconformist

Poor Law[edit | edit source]

Probates[edit | edit source]

School Records[edit | edit source]

Societies[edit | edit source]

Family history societies often publish helpful journals, transcripts, compiled genealogies and a host of helpful websites. They may have ongoing projects to transcribe records and create indexes. Most societies publish researchers' queries in their journals and maintain lists of members’ research interests that may be helpful to you. You may want to join one of these societies, reap the benefits of their expertise and resources or support its efforts.

Here are two major family history societies covering just about all places in County Galway:

East Galway Family History Society Co Ltd
Co. Galway
Tel: +353-509-49309
Fax: +353-509-49546

West Galway Family History Society
Research Unit
Venture Centre
Liosbaun Estate
Tuam Road
Galway City
Tel: +353-91-756737/Skype: +353-91-756737

Websites[edit | edit source]

Here are some gateway websites with some excellent Galway County family data and resources for researchers:

  1. Wikipedia Collaborators, "County Galway," In Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia, Visited 24 October 2017.