Ireland Methodist Church Records
In 1746 a Methodist society began in Dublin. The following year, John and Charles Wesley, the founders of Methodism, visited Ireland. John Wesley urged his Irish followers to attend the Church of Ireland. Some followed his counsel; others chose to worship with the Quakers or Presbyterians instead.
At the 1816 Methodist conference in Ireland, the presiding body decided that Methodists should be baptized, be married by, and receive communion from their own ministers rather than from ministers of other churches. This proposed change resulted in a schism within the movement. Those who chose to continue affiliating with the Church of Ireland became known as the Primitive Methodists. The Wesleyan Methodists, the larger of the two groups, started their own church, kept their own records, and set up congregations throughout Ireland. Other splinter groups included the New Connexion and the Primitive Methodist Connexion. In 1878 the Primitive Methodists and the Wesleyan Methodists united. The two Connexion groups rejoined the main body in 1932.
Methodist records consist mainly of baptism and marriage records. Baptism records show the child’s name, parents, and birth date and place. Marriage records show the names of the bride and groom, and the marriage date and place. Occasionally a circuit minute book or vestry book was kept. Since there were few Methodist cemeteries, death or burial records are rare. Methodists were usually buried in Church of Ireland cemeteries, and their burial records kept in Church of Ireland registers.
The following are a few Web sites that tell you more about Methodist records.
Locating Methodist Records
Primitive and Wesleyan Methodist records are in local custody. You may obtain information from these records through correspondence with individual ministers. Names, addresses, and jurisdictions of Methodist ministers can be found in the 1992 Minutes of Conference.
The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has microfilm copies of Methodist records for several congregations in Northern Ireland and in the Republic of Ireland. James G. Ryan, ed., Irish Church Records lists the Methodist records held by the office and gives their Public Record Office accession numbers.
The New Connexion and Primitive Methodist Connexion groups were administered from England. Their records were kept by various British circuits (districts presided over by travelling ministers). Consequently, pre-1905 New Connexion records and pre-1910 Primitive Methodist Connexion records are held in the Methodist archive at the following address:
The John Rylands University of Manchester
Manchester M13 9PP
Records for either of the Connexion groups after 1905 and 1910, respectively, are held by individual churches in Ireland.
Family History Library
The Family History Library has only a few Methodist Church records.
- Go to the Family History Library Catalog.
- Click on the Place Search.
- Type the name of a parish and click Search.
- Select the name that matches your request.
- Scroll down and select the topic Church Records.
- Select a title.
- Click View Film Notes to find the film numbers.
Smith's Inventory of Genealogical Sources: Ireland (FHL book Ref 941.5 D23s) lists Methodist records published in Irish periodicals that are available at the Family History Library.