Church records are among the best resources to explore for Irish family history research. They can help Irish families fill in gaps in their lineage, with marriage, burial, and baptism records that date back further than other documents.
Before the civil registration of births, marriages, and deaths began in 1864, these events were documented in Irish parish registers. Today, there are plenty of ways to access these records, and many resources are available online.
To help you find the information you’re looking for, we’ll walk you through a complete guide of church records in Ireland. You’ll discover the many ways you can access these records, including all of the free church records Ireland has to offer.
You can access Irish church records online and in person through free and paid resources. We recommend starting with some of the free online resources listed below. You can also book a consultation with a genealogy expert for additional support with this process.
Luckily, you can access many Irish church records online thanks to the efforts of the National Library of Ireland (NLI). They made microfilms of most Catholic parish registers, from the 1740s to the 1880s, and digital images are free to view on their website. Additionally, FindMyPast has free transcriptions of these records on their website.
There are also plenty of free church record images and transcripts available through irishgenealogy.ie. This is a website run by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. The site has Roman Catholic Church and Church of Ireland records from various cities and countries around Ireland. They also have a limited number of records from the Presbyterian Church.
Another free resource is the FamilySearch website offered by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. This website has transcripts from several Roman Catholic parishes around Ireland.
Many family history societies have shared transcripts of their church records online. You can find some of these Roman Catholic Church records using this online resource published by John Grenham, a founding member of the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland.
You can also access the NLI’s microfilm copies in person at their location in Dublin. Like the online versions, these records are free to access, and you are allowed to print copies for your personal records.
You can also access church records held by FamilySearch in person. Many Mormon temples have a Family History Centre where you can order copies.
If you’re looking for information specific to Northern Ireland, The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is where you should start. PRONI church records include most surviving documents across all denominations in Northern Ireland.
You can learn which records are available through PRONI by visiting their website. Keep in mind that you’ll need to make an appointment to visit the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland.
You can access some Presbyterian records in person through the Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland (PHSI). They have a collection available in their library in Belfast. There, you can request electronic or scanned copies of the original records.
It will be easier to trace your ancestors if you know which religion they practised. For example, most people in the Republic of Ireland were members of the Catholic Church, and some belonged to the Anglican Church of Ireland. In Northern Ireland, many people were members of the Church of Ireland and the Presbyterian Church.
For this reason, some researchers may have trouble finding family members through the resources above. If you’d like to search other religious denominations, you can do so through the NLI’s list of family history links.
There is also an extensive database of Jewish records available through the Irish Jewish Genealogical Society.
The Irish Family History Centre helps researchers like you fill gaps in their Irish family tree every day. Our genealogy experts have spent years combing through the archives to help make family history research a more efficient and rewarding process.
Contact us today to receive expert help researching church records in Ireland. We have the tools and resources to help you make new connections and discover the missing pieces of your family tree.