If you’re researching Irish families for genealogy purposes, you’ll eventually exhaust all stateside and online sources and have to send away for copies of original records from Ireland itself. Fortunately, Ireland has made great strides in recent years in the quest to preserve genealogical records for today’s family historians, and many records are now available (and catalogued and indexed!) that weren’t accessible just a few years ago. If you’re looking for Irish records, here are the major record collections available there and what you’ll find in them:
Civil Birth and Death Registrations, and Non-Catholic Marriages
Registration of births and deaths began in 1964, with registrations of non-Catholic marriages going back to 1845. You can find these records at the General Register Offices in Dublin and Belfast.
Church Registers of Baptisms and Marriages
You need to know the denomination the Irish families you’re researching belonged to in order to uncover this information. If you do, then you can contact the Irish headquarters of that denomination, or the parish church in the town in which your ancestor lived. A good number of Roman Catholic records from Ireland are available at the National Library of Ireland, and county branches of the library have indexed parish registers for some years. You can do an online search for these records at http://www.rootsireland.ie.
Church of Ireland records are located at the Representative Church Body Library and at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland. Some records can also be found at the National Archives of Ireland.
Methodist records can be found online at http://www.irishmethodist.org.
Presbyterian records are located at the Public Records Office in Northern Ireland, as well as online at http://www.presbyterianhistoryireland.com.
Jewish records are online at Jewis Web Index, and Quaker records are at http://www.quakers-in-ireland.org.
Census Returns and Land Records
An important part of the hunt for Irish families is examining the records of the places where they lived. While most Irish census returns for the 19th century have been lost, the 1901 and 1911 census returns will soon be available at the National Archives of Ireland website. Griffith’s Valuation can be found online at Ancestry.com and The Origins Network. Real estate tax (or “valuation”) records can be found at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland. These records sources should provide excellent in-depth information on your Irish ancestors that may prove very valuable to you in your genealogy research, so these sources should be used to the fullest extent possible while conducting your family history exploration.