Often when people are tracing their ancestors, they focus on going backwards in time through the records. In the main this primarily involves working from marriage record to birth record, until the records run out or a correct record can no longer be definitively identified. As a result civil death records are often overlooked.
However, civil death records can often prove invaluable when it comes to determining the relevance of records. They can also offer pointers to other information such as death notices/obituaries and burial information. For example, your direct ancestor may have emigrated either internally or abroad and as a result was not buried in the family plot, but perhaps his brother or sister was? The informants on death records can also hint at familial connections.
Often we may run out of information and sources for our direct lineage, in such instances broadening research to siblings, etc. can provide circumstantial evidence from which we can create a hypothesis with regard to our direct ancestors.
Civil death records in Ireland only began in 1864, however it is worth considering that someone who died in their 80s in 1864 could have been born in the 1780/90s, which is considerably earlier than the period covered by other civil records and parish records for many parts of the country.
By Stephen Pierce