Ireland Catholic Church Records

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Catholic parish registers for most rural areas were not kept until the 1820s or later. Records for urban areas started earlier. Each parish kept its own records. Catholic parish registers mainly include christening and marriage records. Few registers contain death or burial records. Occasionally a register will contain a parish census. Some Catholic registers are written in Latin (click here for some Latin terms and their meanings). The registers contain the following information.

Christenings (Baptisms)

Catholic christenings (baptisms) took place as soon as possible after children were born. Christening records nearly always include the date of baptism and the names of the child, the father, the mother (maiden name), and the sponsors or godparents. Sponsors or godparents were often related to the child. Some christening records also include the child's birth date and the family's place of residence.


Catholic marriage records normally provide the date of the marriage, the names of the bride and groom, and the names of the witnesses. Occasionally, places of residence are listed. If the bride and groom are related, the degree of relationship is often given as well. Original parish registers are in local custody. Sometimes a priest will search parish records for you. Go to the following Web sites to read more about the Catholic records.

Filmed copies of almost all pre-1880 parish records are held by the National Library of Ireland. Filmed copies of pre-1880 parish registers for Northern Ireland are also kept by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. The Family History Library has microfilm copies of some Catholic parish registers. These are listed in the Family History Library Catalog.

  1. Go to
  2. Click the Library tab
  3. Click Family History Library Catalog.
  4. Click Place Search.
  5. Type the name of a parish and click Search.
  6. Click on the name that matches your request.
  7. Scroll down and click the topic Church' Records'.
  8. Click on a title.
  9. Click View Film Notes to find the film numbers.