Do you have an ancestor with a popular name? Patrick Byrne from Thurles in county Tipperary or Mary Murphy from Macroom in county Cork. Were they born between 1864 and 1877? Let’s say you have identified their baptismal record in the parish – your Mary Murphy was baptised on the 8th of January 1865 in the parish of Macroom and now you want to find her civil birth certificate in the General Register Office. If you first go online on findmypast.ie to look for a Mary Murphy’s birth registration details, i.e., the volume and page number, you will 15 entries for a Mary Murphy registered in Macroom in 1868. So what’s to be done? First of all don’t panic and purchase all the certificates for Mary Murphy registered in Macroom in 1868. Even though the civil birth registers are not divided up into quarters until 1878, prior to this the volume numbers in the birth registers do refer to a quarter, so in Macroom district the volume numbers are 5, 10, 15, 20, and these correspond to the individual quarters, March, June, September and December. You know Mary was baptised in January so it highly likely that her volume number detail will be ‘5’ – so you can start your search by purchasing only the entries with this volume number and hope you strike gold. Alternatively if Mary Murphy was baptised in November of 1868 you would be interested in the Mary Murphys registered with a volume number of ‘20’. Of course, as with all things genealogical, there are exceptions to the rule, sometimes a child was only registered later on the year and not in the quarter that she was born in, sometimes a child wasn’t registered at all, but always look out for the volume number as it can be a useful shortcut!
By Helen Moss
Eneclann, Research Expert