Ireland Research Guidance
Ireland | Birth | 1619-1863
Search the following records in the order given.
1. Church Records: Church records
Church records are the prime source of vital information in this time period. Church records include the christenings or baptisms, marriages and burials recorded in registers by church officials at the time of an event. Christening records may state the name of the child, christening date, names of parents, place of residence of the family, and the occupation of the father. Sometimes the child's birth date and mother's maiden name are recorded. Church officials also kept minutes of their meetings which sometimes record birth information for a child.
When researching church records in Ireland, it is vital to know the religion of your ancestral family. The main religions for this time period were:
- Church of Ireland (Anglican) -- this was the 'established' church recognized by the English-controlled government.
- Roman Catholic -- this was the religion of most of the old Gaelic Irish families.
- Presbyterian -- this was the religion of the Scots-Irish, brought with them from Scotland.
For more information, go to Ireland Church Records.
2. Census Substitutes: Census
Census substitutes are lists of individuals in a specific place at a given time. Various lists have been compiled by church and civil authorities to determine such things as the religious makeup of the population, an assessment of military readiness, the number and identity of eligible voters, or those persons receiving charity from the church or government. Due to the loss of many government census records, census substitutes are especially valuable.
3. Census: Census
A census is a count and description of the population. Government census records are especially valuable because they list the majority of the population and are available at many repositories. In these records you may find names of the members of a household, gender, and each person's religion, marital status, relationship to the head of the household, age, address, occupation, and county of birth. Though many Irish census records have been destroyed, those that survive can provide clues that may lead you to other records.
4. Marriage Certificate: Civil registration
Civil registration is the government registration of births, marriages, and deaths. In these records you may find the names of the bride and groom, ages (which you can use to determine a year of birth), marriage date and place, marital status, fathers' names and occupations, the occupations and residences of the bride and groom, and names of witnesses. Protestant marriages were recorded from 1 January 1845. All marriages were recorded from 1 January 1864. Civil registration marriage records cover most of the population and are indexed countrywide. Use the national index to identify and obtain a copy of a marriage certificate.
5. Death Certificate: Civil registration
Civil registration is the government registration of births, marriages, and deaths. In these records you may find the name and residence of the deceased, sex, death date, cause of death, and the name of the informant. Civil registration death records cover most of the population and are indexed countrywide. Use the national index to identify and obtain a copy of a death certificate.
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