You’ve traced your ancestry through the generations, and now you’re excited to learn about your Irish heritage. This process is full of fascinating discoveries, but many families encounter roadblocks during the research process. If you’re unsure how to proceed, finding a new source for Irish birth, death, and marriage records may make all the difference.
Read on to learn more about sourcing records of births, deaths, and marriages in Ireland. We’ll include useful historical information, free resources, and expert advice to help you piece together your Irish family history.
In Ireland, vital records are easier to source for events post-1864. That’s because 1864 was the year the civil registration of births, deaths, and marriages began. Here are some sources you can use to trace records from after 1864.
The Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht runs a free website which can help you trace your family’s civil records in Ireland. Documents you can search through this source include:
In 2015, the General Register Office (GRO) added more than 2.5 million images, so it’s a great starting point for tracing your ancestry. The GRO is currently working its way back to provide death records starting in 1864.
While you can search and view images for free, you’ll have to apply and pay a fee through the GRO to receive a copy of these records. Fees are €5 for an uncertified copy and €20 for a certified copy.
The GRO of Ireland is the primary civil repository for records relating to births, stillbirths, marriages, adoptions, civil partnerships, and deaths. In their collections, you’ll find marriage, birth, and death records from 1864 to the present day.
You can request a certificate of these records through your local Health Service Executive (HSE) office. The GRO fees of €20 for a certified copy and €5 for an uncertified copy will apply to orders through the HSE.
If you think you may have roots in Northern Ireland, you can search through the General Register Office of Northern Ireland. This source has birth records more than 100 years old, marriage records more than 75 years old, and death records more than 50 years old.
A basic search on the site’s database is free, but there is a charge of £15 to order any type of certificate. Each additional certificate will cost you £8.
Tracing records from before 1864 is more challenging since civil registration was not yet mandated in Ireland. However, you may find some Irish marriage records from before 1864, as Anglican marriages were registered by the state starting in 1845.
Additionally, church records may be helpful in searching for pre-1864 information. Parish records may be less detailed than civil records and harder to trace. Still, they’re worth exploring for the clues they can reveal about your family history. Here are some ways to trace pre-1864 birth, marriage, and death records.
The National Library of Ireland (NLI) has an online database of images from Catholic parish registers dating back as far as the 1740s and up to the 1880s. The microfilms they’ve collected include records of marriages and baptisms from Catholic parishes in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Digitising these records was part of an NLI’s initiative to improve accessibility, so searching the database is free.
The Anglican Record Project is another free resource for searching records of births, marriages, and deaths from before 1864. This is a Representative Church Body (RCB) library project with the goal of indexing transcripts of all registers of burials, marriages, and baptisms from Church of Ireland parishes. These digitised registers are free to access and contain records from as far back as 1666.
The Irish Family History Centre is here to help create a clear picture of your Irish heritage. We’ve spent years poring over Irish civil records and have even used DNA in our genealogy research to help families connect with their roots.
No matter the missing piece to your family’s story, there’s likely a clue tucked away in the archives of Irish birth, death, or marriage records. Contact us today for the expert support you need, and prepare to discover incredible things about your Irish ancestry.