Ireland Church Records

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For information about records for non-Christian religions in Ireland, go to the Religious Records page.

Online Databases

Large Databases With Many Record Types

Introduction[edit | edit source]

Before civil registration was introduced in 1864, Church records provide the primary source for providing baptism, marriage and burial dates. The most common church records in Ireland are baptism, marriage and burial registers. Less common types of records are congregational censuses, lists of members, and emigration lists. Catholic and Presbyterian church registers frequently do not contain burial registers.

Identifying the religion of those individuals or families being researched will greatly increase the chance of success.

  • Northern Ireland was created in 1922 and comprises the six northern counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry (Derry), and Tyrone.
  • What is now the Republic of Ireland was predominantly Catholic, with many members of the Anglican Church of Ireland from wealthy Anglo-Irish families.
  • In Northern Ireland the Church of Ireland and various aspects of the Presbyterian Churches were the dominant religions accounting for sixty-percent of the population in 1861. While Catholics were a minority, they accounted for forty-percent of the population. Since that time, the Catholic population percentage has continued to grow. Protestants and Catholics tend to live in clustered neighborhoods with most areas predominantly Catholic or Protestant.

Major Religions[edit | edit source]

Full Wiki articles are available on records for each of these churches.

  • Church of Ireland Records began in 1536, but two-thirds were destroyed in 1922. This was the religion of many of the Northern Ireland London Company plantation settlers in the 17th century and the settlers of the Protestant Pale around Dublin.
  • Ireland Catholic Church Records began from the mid 1700s. Most rural parishes did not start keeping records until Catholic Emancipation in 1828. Many of the city registers date from the 1750's.
  • Ireland Presbyterian Church Records In 1605 Scottish estate owners resettled mostly Presbyterian tenants from their estates to newly established estates in Northern Ireland. Numerous registers date from the 1600's, but the average starting date for these registers is 1830. 
  • Ireland Methodist Church Records A Methodist society began in Dublin in 1746.
  • Ireland Quaker Records In 1654, the Quaker faith (Religious Society of Friends) began in Ireland. By 1750, there were 150 Quaker meetings across Ireland within the provinces of Ulster, Leinster, and Munster. Many of its original records exist and are located in the repositories. 

Other Religions[edit | edit source]

  • Huguenots, seeking religious freedom, also came in the 1600s. Huguenot church records have been published in: The Publications of the Huguenot Society of London. N.p.: Huguenot Society of London, 18--. (Family History Library book 942.1/L1 B4h.) Most Huguenots affiliated themselves with the Church of Ireland or with the Presbyterian Church.
  • In the mid-1600s Congregationalists and Baptists first came to Ireland as soldiers under Cromwell.
  • Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints established branches in Ireland by 1850. Records are mainly in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Accessing Ireland Church Records[edit | edit source]

Many of the records are going online. However some, especially Protestant records are not yet available online

  • Probably the most important collection of online church records in Ireland are the Catholic records of the NLI, indexed at Ancestry ($) and Findmypast ($).
  • The ffolliott Collection, compiled by the Irish genealogist Rosemary ffolliott contains, baptism and confirmation records, more than 57,000 of them from County Cork. The earliest date is 1625. Only 1,615 of the records are confirmations Findmypast ($).
  • RootsIreland ($) has records from all religions. Their website has detailed lists of exactly what is and what is not available. No images are available.
  • has many records for County Kerry, western and northwestern County Cork (Cork City excepted), and most of the City of Dublin.
  • The RCBL Lists access arrangements for Anglican records. It may not mention which records are on other websites.
  • The IGI includes a selection of records from all religions.
  • The FamilySearch Catalog contains some records.

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has published:

  • An Irish Genealogical Source: Guide to Church Records. Belfast, Ireland: Ulster Historical Foundation on behalf of PRONI, 1994. (Family History Library book 941.6 K23pr.) This is a guide to locating church records in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. It also indicates which records are still in local custody. This guide is also available as a PDF on Click on the link for 'Online guides' then click on the link for 'PRONI Guide to Church Records.'

The descriptive catalog for PRONI details their holdings of church records. The Family History Library has a filmed copy of the descriptive catalog. The sections describing church records are found on films 1701904-5; 1701989; 1736433 items 5-9; 1736434 items 1-2.

The appendices in James G. Ryan, ed., Irish Church Records give some names and addresses of church record archives. The appendices also provide details about Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, and Methodist records held in local custody or deposited in national archives.

Additional church records have been indexed since the directory was published. Contact the appropriate centre for more current information and to determine the fees charged for searching and copying index entries.

To identify transcripts or abstracts of church records found in Irish genealogical periodicals available at the Family History Library, consult Smith's Inventory of Genealogical Sources: Ireland

Books and Tutorials[edit | edit source]

  • Ryan, James G., ed. Irish Church Records. Glenageary, County Dublin, Ireland: Flyleaf Press, 1992. (FHL book Ref 941.5 K27rj.)
  • Falley, Margaret Dickson. Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research. 2 vols. Evanston, Illinois: Margaret Dickson Falley, 1961-62. (FHL book Ref 941.5 D27f 2 vols.)
  • Grenham, John. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide. 3rd ed. Dublin, Ireland: Gill and Macmillan, 2006. (FHL book Ref 941.5 D27gj 2006.)

Some articles of interest found in the periodical The Irish Ancestor include:

  • Whyte, Donald. "Old Parochial Registers of Scotland." References to people from all parts of Ireland, batisms and marriages, that are held in various parts of Scotland Old Parochial Registers, covering years 1691-1846.  Article in The Irish Ancestor, vol.III,no.2,1971 pages 79-82, Family History Library Ref. 941.5 B2i
  • Brown, Mary Ross.  "Births, Marriages and Deaths from the Journal of Rev. Adam Averell." Article contains baptisms, births, marriages and deaths noted in his journal from 1754 to 1808 all over Ireland. Article in The Irish Ancestor, vol.III, no.2 1971, pages105-106, Family History Library Book Ref. 941.5 B2i
  • "Entries Relating to Irish Persons in the Marriage Register of the Parish of Portpatrick, Wigtownshire, Scotland." Entries of marriages, one or both persons shown must have an Irish address, covers years 1720-1846, article in The Irish Ancestor, vol.IX,no.2.1977, pages 107-129, Family History Library Salt Lake City Ref. 941.5 B2i v.9
  • Punch, Terrence M. "Some Irish Immigrant Weddings in Nova Scotia 1841-1845." List of one or both Irish Immigrants that were married in St. Peter's Church, Halifax, Nova Scotia. 1841-1845, Article in The Irish Ancestor, vol., pages 133-146, Family History Library Ref. 941.5 B2i v9.
  • Stewart, Rev. David, 1950 Index to Congregations Listed in "The Seceders in Ireland.  Family History Library Ref. 941.5 K 2ste
  • Hayes, Richard J. Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilization. (Family History Library book Ref 941.5 A5h.) Look under the headings "Parish Registers" and "Vestry Books" for Church of Ireland records, and look by denomination (Catholic, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc.) for other churches' records. In the place indexes, look for church records by county and then town, city, or parish.
  • Irish Family History Society. Directory of Parish Registers Indexed in Ireland. (Family History Library book Ref 941.5 K23dp.)

Research Tutorials at FamilySearch[edit | edit source]

Note: Microsoft browser may be required for viewing tutorials.

Search Strategies and Indexes[edit | edit source]

As you search church records, use the following strategies:

  • Search all parish registers and other available church records of the appropriate locality for the time period you are researching.
  • Search available Church of Ireland records even if your family was not of the Church of Ireland.
  • Search surrounding localities if you cannot find records in the expected locality. Catholics had different parish boundaries to the Church of Ireland
  • Note all entries, including burials, for the surname you are searching (unless the name is very common).
  • Note gaps or missing pages in the record. You may want to search alternative records for the missing time periods.
  • If you find little or no mention of your family in parish records, search other records.
  • Use the additional information (residence, occupation, etc.) given in parish registers to find other records to search.

References[edit | edit source]