"Ireland, a large island of Europe, W of Great Britain, between lon. 6 and 10, 40 W, and lat. 51, 15 and 55, 13 N, 280m. long and 160 broad, and containing 19,436,000 acres divided up into 4 provinces; Ulster N, Leinster E, Munster S, and Connaught to the W, and subdivided into 32 counties. ... The climate is in general more temperate than that of other countries in the same latitude; at the same time it is much more inclined to moisture ... The face of the country is level; it is well watered with lakes and rivers, and the soil, in most parts, good and fertile. A remarkable feature of this country is the extensive bogs, estimated at 2,330,000 English acres. Corn, hemp, and flax are produced in great plenty; beef and butter are exported; and hides, wool, tallow, wood, salt, honey, and wax, are articles of commerce. ... The principal manufacture is fine linen cloth, which is brought to great perfection, and the trade in it is very great. Ireland is well adapted to trade, on account of its numerous secure and commodious bays and harbours. The principal rivers are the Shannon, Bandon, Lee, Blackwater or Broadwater, Liffey, Boyne, Sure, Burrow, Slane, and Bann; lakes, lough Neagh, or the lake of Killarney, the most distingished for its beauties, lough Erne, and lough Corrib. The established religion is Protestant, though the majority of the people are Catholics."
[From The New London Gazetteer (1826)]
More information about the Irish counties and provinces can be found here
In 1922 the Republic of Ireland was created and six of the nine counties forming the province of Ulster (Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry, and Tyrone) voted to remain part of the United Kingdom. Separate National Archives were formed for the Republic of Ireland, the National Archives of Ireland (NAI), and Northern Ireland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). Similarly civil registration became, for the Republic of Ireland, The General Register Office (GRO) and, for Northern Ireland, General Register Office (Northern Ireland) known as GRONI.
Copies of many national records up to 1922 are available in both the NAI and PRONI and similarly registration records in GRO and GRONI. Records after 1922 are held in their respective offices. It is also important to note that several church dioceses of all denominations have parishes on both sides of the border and some Ulster collections include records from Monaghan, Donegal and Cavan as Ulster counties pre 1922.
Local records are held in County Archives, Libraries and Heritage Centres
- Addresses of Archives and Libraries (Formerly the Irish Times site).
- Major Repositories
- Heritage Centres
- Local Libraries (Republic of Ireland)
- Local Libraries (Northern Ireland)
- Dublin City Council Digital Archive
As part of the United Kingdom, Irish records have historically been created and archived in Britain. The UK National Archives have produced some guides to their archives and the Discovery catalogue can be used to search English and Welsh archive holdings.
Printed archive listings include:
- O’Neill Robert K, Irish Libraries, Archives Museums & Genealogical Centres, Ulster Historical Foundation
- Helferty Seamus and Refausse Raymond (Ed), Directory of Irish Archives, Irish Academic Press
- Books, Publications, and Libraries - a very useful listing from TIARA
- Begley, Donal F., ed. Irish Genealogy: A record Finder. Dublin: Heraldic Artists (1981).
- Falley, Margaret Dickson. Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research. 2 vols. Evanston, Illinois:
- Grehnam, John. Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan (1992).
- McCarthy, Tony. The Irish Roots Guide. Dublin: Lilliput Press (1991).
- Quinn, Sean E. Trace Your Irish Ancestors. Bray.Ireland: Magh Itha Teoranta (1989).
- Ryan, James G. Irish Records; Sources for Family & Local History, Salt Lake City, UT: Ancestry Publishing (1997).
- Flyleaf Press "My Ancestor was from" series http://www.ancestornetwork.ie/flyleaf/
Two sources listing published biographies are:
- Grenham, John "Family Histories". In Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The complete Guide.
- MacLysaght, Edward. Bibliography of Irish Family History 2d ed. Blackrock, Ireland: Irish Academic Press (1982).
The following collections are important sources for biographies of prominent businessmen, political leaders, and religious and historical figures:
- British and Irish Biographies. London: Chadwyck-Healt (1986).
- Crone, John S. A Concise Dictionary of Irish Biography.
- Lee, Sir Sidney, Leslie Stephen, H.W.C. Davis, Et. al., eds. Dictionary of National Biography. 63 vols. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Sieveking, Paul, ed. The British Biographical Archive New York, New York, K.G. Sauer (1986). (FHL fiche 602709-35, 6066966)
Typically municipal cemeteries owned and managed by the local authority. These cemeteries are multi-denominational, although may have areas reserved for the various denominations. Records may include age, parent’s names and place of birth and plots may contain several members of the same family. By far the biggest online collection comprises the records of Glasnevin (pay-per-view) cemetery in Dublin, containing about 1.5 million records dating from 1828.
- Cork and surroundings
- County Clare Graveyard Inscriptions Maps and transcriptions for graveyards in County Clare
- Limerick city burial records (for Mount St. Lawrence) (free)
Cemetery records, transcribed by volunteers and searchable by county, are to be found on the IGP website
Headstones (Monumental Inscriptions)
- A guide to Dublin city and county transcripts.
- An almost complete set, without images, for the 6 counties of Northern Ireland (pay-per-view).
Other resources include:
- Mitchell, Brian A Guide to IRISH Churches and Graveyards, Genealogical Publishing Co Inc.
The 1901 and 1911 censuses are the only complete surviving census records for the pre-Independence period. Fragments survive for 1821 – 1851 for some counties, as follows:
- Antrim, 1851; Belfast city (one ward only), 1851; Cavan, 1821 and 1841; Cork, 1841;
- Dublin city (index to heads of household only), 1851; Fermanagh, 1821, 1841 and 1851; Galway, 1813 (numerical returns for Longford barony) and 1821; King’s County (Offaly), 1821; Londonderry (Derry), 1831 – 34; Meath, 1821; Waterford, 1841.
The household returns and ancillary records for the censuses of Ireland are in the custody of the National Archives of Ireland and indexes and images are searchable on their website (Free).
The indexes only are also available of Findmypast Ireland and Rootsireland (not all counties) (subscription).
Indexes for the 1821 to 1851 fragments with a link to images on the National Archives of Ireland website are available on Familysearch (free).
Indexes to 1901 and 1911 plus some 1851 records for Antrim and Cork census are available on Ancestry (Subscription).
In addition to the surviving Census records, information was extracted from the 1841 and 1851 census to support pension applications. The Old Age Pensions Act 1908 introduced a non-contributory pension for eligible people aged 70 and over. Proof of age was an essential part of the process of application for a pension. Because civil registration of births did not begin in Ireland until 1864, applicants had no official documentation to prove their age. It was decided that searches of the 1841 and 1851 census returns could produce acceptable documentary evidence of a claimant's age.
The original images are held in the National Archives of Ireland and the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland. Index and images are available on the National Archives of Ireland website (free) and Findmypast (subscription).
The indexes with a link to images on the National Archives of Ireland website are available on Familysearch (free).
Index with images of transcriptions on Ancestry.
Various local indices and transcriptions have been produced by volunteers. Many of these are to be found in the Irish Genealogy Project website.
Parish registers are the most important source of information on Irish family history prior to the commencement of the civil registration of births, deaths and marriages in 1864. Prior to this parish registers may contain the only surviving record of a particular individual or family and can supply evidence of direct links between one generation and the next (via baptismal registers) and one family and another (via marriage registers). Familysearch recommend the following strategy:
- Search indexes first.
- Search all parish registers and other available church records of the appropriate locality for the time period you are researching.
- Search available Church of Ireland records even if your family was not Church of Ireland.
- Search surrounding localities if you cannot find records in the expected locality.
- Note all entries, including burials, for the surname you are searching (unless the name is very common).
- Note gaps or missing pages in the record. You may want to search alternative records for the missing time periods.
- If you find little or no mention of your family in parish records, search other records.
- Use the additional information (residence, occupation, etc.) given in parish registers to find other records to search.
Parish names and boundaries may differ between Roman Catholic Parishes, Church of Ireland Parishes and the name of the city/town. Reference should be made to an online sources such as The IreAtlas Townland Database (formerly “Sean Ruad”) or Irish Ancestors or reference books including: Mitchell Brian, A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland, Genealogical Publishing Co Inc.
The following websites provide guidance on which parish registers still exist:
- Irish Church Records General Information
- The List of Church of Ireland Parish Registers
- Catholic Parish Registers at the National Library of Ireland:
- Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland
- Methodist Historical Society of Ireland
- Baptist Historical Society
- Ireland, Society of Friends (Quaker) births
- Ireland, Society of Friends (Quaker) marriages
- Ireland, Society of Friends (Quaker) deaths
- Ireland, Society of Friends (Quaker) congregational records
- Ireland, Society of Friends (Quaker) school records
Reference can also be made to: Mitchell Brian, A Guide to Irish Parish Registers, Genealogical Publishing Co. Inc.
Websites offering national and multi-county indexes and images of parish registers:
- National Library of Ireland - Catholic Parish Registers Images (Free)
- Irish Family History Foundation Parish Registers and Civil Registration with links to NLI images. (Subscription)
- Irish Genealogy Church Records Cork, Kerry and Dublin, Civil Records for Ireland Some images. (Free)
- Emerald Ancestor Births, deaths and marriages from historic Ulster (subscriptions)
- Ulster Historical Foundation Baptism and Marriage records Co. Antrim and Co. Down. (subscription)
- Findmypast Ireland Parish records from across Ireland and across all religions. Some images. (subscription)
- Ancestry Parish records from across Ireland and across all religions. Some images. (Subscription)
- Ancestry: Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915 with images from NLI. (Free)
- Familysearch: Parish records indexes from across Ireland and across all religions. (Free)
The following libraries have collections that include indexes and transcriptions of parish registers:
Civil registration of all births, marriages, and deaths in Ireland began in 1864 (except for non-Catholic marriages, for which registration started in 1845). Registration produced two sets of records: registers for births, marriages, and deaths and published indexes to these registers. The repository split in 1922, with the records for Northern Ireland being kept by the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) in Belfast, while records for the Republic of Ireland are housed at the General Register Office (GRO) in Dublin.
Certificates can be ordered online and by post from GRO and GRONI or by post from the local Registrar.
The Irish Government website (free) is publishing the indexes, together with images of the register pages for Births over 100 years old, Marriages over 75 years old and Deaths over 50 years old.
Indexes only have been published on a number of websites:
- Familysearch, index to 1958 but excluding records for Northern Ireland after its creation in 1922. (free). These indexes are also available at Family History Libraries on microfilm.
- Ancestry births, deaths, marriages, (subscription), excluding index records for Northern Ireland after its creation in 1922.
- RootsIreland births, marriages and deaths.
Various local indices and transcriptions have been produced by volunteers. Many of these are to be found in the Irish Genealogy Project website.
Familysearch Wiki Ireland Court Records
“The Irish court system was based on the English system of law. The Four Courts of Equity were the Exchequer, Chancery, Common Pleas, and King’s/Queen’s Bench. The destruction of the Public Record Office in 1922 significantly impacted the record availability for these courts. Of the four courts, only a small collection of original records for the court of Chancery survive. There are however, a number of indexes, abstracts, and transcripts that are available. “ Read the full article.
Court proceedings are widely reported in local and national newspapers
Websites with Court related collections:
- Deserted Children Dublin
- Irish Prison Registers 1790-1924
- Ireland Dog Licence Registers
- Ireland, Petty Sessions Court Registers
- Ireland, Catholic Qualification & Convert Rolls 1701-1845
- Ireland, Royal Irish Constabulary History & Directories
- Ireland, Royal Irish Constabulary Pensions 1826-1925
- Ireland, Royal Irish Constabulary Service Records 1816-1922
- Ireland, Intelligence Profiles, 1914-1922
- Ireland, Police Gazettes, 1861-1893
- Ireland, Courts Martial Files, 1916-1922
- Convict Transportation Registers 1787-1870 (requires worldwide subscription)
- Calendar of the justiciary rolls or proceedings in the court of justiciar of Ireland: preserved in the Public Records Office of Ireland.
- Margaret Falley, Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research provides a good description of court records and lists repositories and published inventories of court records. Many of the published inventories she notes are available at the Family History Library.
Under this topic here, and on the county pages, we list links to sites that provide general tourist and current information, and to large online services related to particular localities.
Directories for Dublin first appeared in the early eighteenth century and continue today. Provincial (town) directories began somewhat later and have continued only sporadically. See the research guide on Irish Ancestors.
The following websites hold online collections of national, regional and local directories
- PRONI (Free)
- Ulster Historical Foundation (Subscription)
Hard copies of national, regional and local directories are held in local studies libraries throughout Ireland and some facsimile copies have been published. These are mostly out of print but may be available second hand or on CD.
Newspaper advertising is also a useful source for commercial life.
Other Directories available:
- Grand Lodge of Freemasons of Ireland Membership Registers, 1733-1923
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“The phenomenon of migration from Ireland is recorded since early Medieval times,[ but it is only possible to quantify it from around 1700: since then between 9 and 10 million people born in Ireland have emigrated. This is more than the population of Ireland at its historical peak in the 1840s of 8.5 million. The poorest of them went to Great Britain, especially Liverpool; those who could afford it, almost 5 million, went to the United States.
In 1890 40% of Irish-born people were living abroad. By the 21st century, an estimated 80 million people worldwide claimed some Irish descent, which includes more than 36 million Americans who claim Irish as their primary ethnicity.”
In the 19c emigration from the island of Ireland was mostly from Derry/Londonderry in the North West and Cobh (Cork) in the South West. Journeys to the ports were either overland or via coastal shipping. Many travelled via mainland ports, including Liverpool, Bristol and Glasgow.
It should be noted that until 1922 travel between the UK mainland and Ireland was a domestic journey and no records were kept.
The following websites offer collections of passenger lists and other documents:
- Bristish and Irish Roots Collection
- Immigration and Travel
- Canada, Home Children Immigration Records Index, 1869-1930
- Canada, Immigrants To Canada Index, 1750-1854
- Emigrants Seeking Free Passage To South Australia 1836-1841
- Ireland, Society Of Friends (Quaker) Migration Records
- Irish Famine Immigrants, 1846-1851
- New Brunswick, Canada, Irish Immigrants In The New Brunswick Census Of 1851 and 1861 Index, 1851, 1861
- New York, New York, Castle Garden Immigration Index, 1820-1913
- Ontario, Canada- The Migration Of Voyageurs From Drummond Island To Penetanguishene In 1828.
- Parliamentary Papers, Emigration (Canada)Canadian Emigration: 1826 Parliamentary Papers
- Queensland Assisted Immigration 1848-1912
- Queensland Immigrants Nominated For Passage 1884-1907
- Queensland Immigration Registers 1922-1940
- Queensland Nominated Immigrants 1908-1922
- Queensland Register Of Immigrants 1864-1878
- Queensland, Brisbane Register Of Immigrants 1885-1917
- Queensland, Maryborough Registers Of Rations Issued To Immigrants 1875-1884
- South Australia, Immigrant Agricultural Workers 1913-14
- Transatlantic Migration From North America To Britain & Ireland 1858-1870
- UK, Incoming Passenger Lists, 1878-1960
- England & Wales, Criminal Registers, 1791-1892
- UK and Ireland, Masters and Mates Certificates, 1850-1927
- UK, Naturalisation Certificates and Declarations, 1870-1912
- England, Alien Arrivals, 1810-1811, 1826-1869
- Irish Passenger Lists, 1847-1871
- Passengers from Ireland
- Glasgow, Scotland, Crew Lists, 1863-1901
- UK, Aliens Entry Books, 1794-1921
- Dorset, England, Crew Lists, 1863-1914
- A List of Emigrants from England to America, 1682-1692, 1718-1759
- Emigrants from England to the American Colonies, 1773-1776
- More Emigrants in Bondage, 1614-1775
- UK, RMS Titanic, Crew Records, 1912
- Maryborough, Queensland Australia Immigrants from the British Isles & Germany 1861-91
- Scotch-Irish Migration to South Carolina, 1772
USA - Ellis Island
- Passenger arrivals index, 1898-1966:
- Search the register of British ships
- Ancestry - Immigration
- Victoria Inward Passenger Lists 1839-1923
Other material on Irish Emigration and Immigration
- The Ordnance Survey Archives provide an extensive set of search facilities, including what is in effect a Gazetteer of Irish Parishes.
- The Irish Ancestors site also provides an online facility as does the SeanRuad Townland Database Townland Database.
- Findmypast includes Ireland, Alphabetical Indexes To The Townlands and Parishes 1851-1911.
One of the best printed gazetteers, providing detailed information on all towns, parishes etc, is S. Lewis. A topographical dictionary of Ireland, comprising the several counties, cities and villages : with historical and statistical descriptions, S. Lewis (1837, 1846).
Irish Ancestors (formerly the Irish Times) has produced an online genealogy guide based on Grenham's 1992 book "Tracing Your Irish Ancestors". (Direct links to appropriate parts of this guide are given under relevant topic headings on this page.) The guide includes an "expert system designed to provide comprehensive information about records relevant to a particular Irish ancestor" - for fee-paying subscribers only.
- What to do if your ancestor (or any of his or her siblings) was born, married or died in Ireland after 1863?
- What to do if your ancestor (or any of his or her siblings) was of a religious domination other than Catholic, and married in Ireland after 1844?
- What to do if your ancestor was not born, did not marry, and did not die in Ireland after 1863 and you do not know where in Ireland he or she came from?
- What to do if your ancestor was not born and did not marry or die in Ireland after 1863, but you know where in Ireland he or she came from?
- What to do if your ancestor lived in Ireland before the nineteenth century, and you know where in Ireland he or she came from?
- What to do if your ancestor lived in Ireland before the nineteenth century, but you do not know where in Ireland he or she came from?
RootsTech 2017 have published a guide to which records have been digitised in "The Digital Revolution in Irish Genealogy"
Other tutorial accounts:
- Extensive tutorial material, plus lots of links, are also to be found at the Irish Genealogical Society, International (IGSI) site.
- Each county now has a local Heritage Centre - part of the Irish Family History Foundation. listed on Irish Ancestors. Many of these centres offer a fee-paid search service. For details see under Genealogy in the individual county pages - however there have been concerns expressed about the accuracy (and cost) of the information supplied by some Heritage Centres.
- An overall access point for posting queries about Irish Genealogy is provided by IrelandGenWeb (part of WorldGenWeb) - see also under individual counties.
All-Ireland Newsgroups and mailing lists:
- Cúpla Focal - Irish language tuition via Skype
- FIANNA-L-request[at]rootsweb[dot]com (sources and methods for Irish research)
- GENIRE - Gatewayed with the soc.genealogy.ireland newsgroup
- IRELAND - A mailing list for anyone with a genealogical or historical interest in the island of Ireland
- Ireland Genealogy Forum
- IrelandGenWeb - A mailing list addressing general and specific questions about Ireland genealogy, methodology, etc.
- IRISH-ADOPTEES-SEARCH (adoptees who wish to share search/reunion stories, genealogical pursuits, and knowledge of Ireland)
- SURNAMES-IRELAND - Gatewayed with the soc.genealogy.surnames.ireland newsgroup for surname queries related to Ireland and Northern Ireland
Other Online Resources:
- National Archives of Ireland
- Fianna's County Pages
- Fianna's Irish Genealogy Resource - a major online resource for Irish Family History - tutorials and information pages.
- Genealogical Society of Ireland
- The Irish Ancestral Research Association (TIARA) - useful information and links
- Firstmom's Genealogy Resources
- Cyndi's List - for Ireland and Northern Ireland
Irvine, Sherry and Nora M Hickey. Going to Ireland: A Genealogical Researcher's Guide. Trafford Publishing, Victoria, Canada. [ISBN 1 55212 077 5] [Very favourably reviewed in Family Tree Magazine, June 1998.]
The records of the Genealogical Office (2 Kildare Street, Dublin 2, Ireland) deal mainly with heraldry (mostly relating to English Lords who were transplanted to Ireland as landowners. The office's holdings include information extracted from records that were destroyed when the Public Records Office burned.
- Eddie Geoghegan's Coats of Arms in Ireland - a large collection of representations of coats of arms of Irish families/clans.
- A Timeline of Irish History - from Fianna
- Ulster History Timeline
- Views of the Famine - a superb collection of transcriptions and images from contemporary sources, by Steve Taylor
- Great Irish Famine Commemoration Website http://www.irishfamine.ie/
- Ulster History Timeline
- Sources for the History of Irish Civilization: Articles in Irish Periodicals. 9 Vols. Boston: G.K. Hall and Co. (1970).
Records of place can provide useful information about where your ancestors lived. The main sources for records of place are Griffith's Valuation, the Tithe Applotment Books, Estate Papers and maps.
The primary valuation of Ireland or Griffith's Valuation - carried out between 1848 and 1864 to determine liability to pay the Poor rate (for the support of the poor and destitute within each Poor Law Union) and provides detailed information on where people lived in mid-nineteenth century Ireland and the property they possessed. Griffith's Valuation (free) is fully searchable online and includes images and maps.
Other websites that include Griffiths and other land records:
- Valuation Office (subscription)
- Property Registration Authority (subscription)
- Ancestry Index and images (subscription)
- Findmypast Griffith's Survey Maps & Plans, 1847-1864 and Griffith's Valuation 1847-1864 (subscription)
- Rootsireland (subscription)
Index and images to valuations between 1824 and 1856 are available on:
- National Archives of Ireland
- Findmypast (subscription)
- Familysearch holds 355 microfilms of Valuation books available to view as images or microfilm viewable in a Familysearch Family History Library. (Note that the LDS microfilm service was terminated in September 2017, records are now digitized and online.)
- PRONI Valuation Revision Books covering counties Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone between the years 1864 to 1933.(Subscription)
Tithe Applotment Books
The Tithe Applotment Books were compiled between 1823 and 1838 as a survey of land in each civil parish to determine the payment of tithes (a religious tax). Unlike Griffith's Valuation they do not cover cities or towns. The Tithe Applotment Books are available online at National Archives of Ireland website (free).
Tithe Applotment records can also be found on the following websites:
- Tithe Applotment Books, Ireland, 1814-1855
- Tithe Applotment Books, Ireland, 1823-1837
- Tithe Defaulters, 1831
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the vast majority of the Irish population lived as tenant farmers on estates. The administration of these estates produced large quantities of records such as leases and deeds, rentals and account books, maps and correspondence.
Archives and Libraries with Estate Paper Collections:
- Public Record Office of Northern Ireland
- National Archives of Ireland
- The National Library of Ireland
- Trinity College Library Dublin: Manuscripts and Archives Research Library (Family and Estate Papers)
- Boole Library, University College Cork (Special Collections)
- James Hardiman Library, National University of Ireland, Galway
- Cork City and County Archives (Solicitors' & Landed Estate Papers) Boole Library, University College Cork
Estate Papers can also be found in County Archives and Local Studies Libraries and a number of Irish Estate Papers are to be found in U.K. National Archives and County Archives. These can be searched using Discovery on the National Archives website.
A selection of websites which include indexes and images relating to Estate Papers
- Findmypast Landed Estate Court Rentals (subscription)
- Findmypast Estate commissioners offices applications from evicted tenants 1907 (subscription)
- Findmypast Burkes Landed Gentry of Ireland 1899 (subscription)
- PRONI Freeholders records (free)
- Findmypast Thoms Irish Who’s Who 1923
- Ancestry Lord Viscount Morpeth's Testimonial Roll, 1841
- Ancestry Burke's Commoners of Great Britain and Ireland
- Ancestry Return of Owners of Land in Ireland 1876
Map of Ireland showing counties and their Chapman Codes - based on a map obtained from Paddy Waldron.
- Archives of the Ordnance Survey at the National Archives - searchable
- Map of Ireland in 1808 - from Univ. of Texas at Austin
- Map showing major towns
- Down Survey maps. Images of 17c maps used as part of William Petty's Down survey
- Find My Past Griffith's Survey Maps & Plans, 1847-1864
- FindMyPast Ireland, Maps and Surveys 1558-1610 Image Browse
- Mitchell, B. A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland. Genealogical Publishing Co. [Shows counties, dioceses, baronies and civil parishes.]
Until the creation of the Republic of Ireland, military service was as part of the British Army and Navy and, as such, most remaining records are held by the UK National Archives at Kew. Northern Ireland continues to be part of the United Kingdom. Before searching these archives some knowledge of the recruiting, organisation and structure of the Army and Navy and their records is recommended. The National Archives publish a series of free Research Guides:
Personnel records are mostly classified by regiment (army) or ship (navy) and are open to the public up to 1923. Requests may be made for WW2 service records, under the Freedom of Information Act. Many of the service records have been indexed but regimental/ship’s muster and pay records can only be searched at the National Archives.
Service record Indexes can be searched using the National Archives Discovery catalogue and the following websites hold extensive indexes and images.
- Military Service and Conflict (Subscription)
- United Kingdom, World War I Women's Army Auxiliary Corps Records, 1917-1920
- United Kingdom, World War I Service Records, 1914-1920
- United Kingdom, Militia Service Records, 1806-1915
- United Kingdom, Merchant Navy Seamen Records, 1835-1941
- United Kingdom, Maritime Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 1787-1933
- United Kingdom, Chelsea Pensioners' Service Records, 1760-1913
- Great Britain, War Office Registers, 1772-1935
Enlistment records. The Connaught Rangers, the Leinster Regiment, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers, the Royal Irish Regiment and the Royal Munster Fusiliers were units of the British Army, which were disbanded following the establishment of the independent Irish Free State in 1922. The enlistment books contain records of soldiers serving in these regiments in the period 1920-22.
Regimental Museums hold some personnel records but mostly record the history of the regiment.
Most military records for the Republic of Ireland are covered by Data Protection legislation, some information is available on Defence Forces Ireland , Military Archives website (free) and Findmypast have published the Irish Army Census 1922 (subscription).
The pool of Irish surnames is relatively small compared to the rest of Europe and the use and re-use of family forenames can make it difficult for Family Historians to be sure which member of the community is the right ancestor.
The following websites give general information on the history of names in Ireland:
- Irish First Names
- Irish Surnames
- Irish Ancestors includes pages on specific family histories
- Family History websites
- Surnames and distribution (Subscription)
- Irish Montagues
- All Irish Clans and Names
- Norman and Cambro-Norman Surnames of Ireland
- Researching Irish Names - from Fianna
- Ulster surname distribution database - from the Ulster Historical Foundation (members only)
- MacLysaght, E.The Surnames of Ireland (6th. ed.). Irish Academic Press (1985).
Local newspapers in Ireland have been published since the early 18th century and cover all aspects of national, regional and local life. Copies of most newspapers were sent to the British Library and have since been scanned and indexed (note the indexing has been by OCR and is subject to error). The British Library collection has also been released by Findmypast.
Historic Newspapers collections online.
- British Newspaper Archive (Subscription)
- Irish Newspapers (Subscription)
- British Newspapers - Findmypast (Subscription)
- Irish Ancestors - Browse (Subscription)
- Irish News Archive (Subscription)
Many Irish libraries hold microfilm and paper copies of local newspapers which are free to browse.
Since the 1990s many newspapers have started making copies available online. There is a guide to online holdings.
Many Irish people were agricultural labourers or small farmers, for which few records exist. However, for other occupations the situation is much better. A detailed description of the various types of Records concerning Occupations is given at the Irish Ancestors site.
Poor Law and the Workhouse in Ireland are included in the excellent website “The Workhouse” .Information on individual workhouses includes history, maps , photographs and the location of remaining records. Note individual records may be subject to a 100 year closure period.
A number of workhouses have re-opened as Heritage Centres and Museums giving an insight into life in the Workhouse,
Websites with Workhouse content
- Ancestry Ireland, Famine Relief Commission Papers, 1844-1847
- Ancestry Ireland, Poor Law Union Removals From England, 1859-1860
- Findmypast Dublin Workhouses Admission & Discharge Registers 1840-1919
- Findmypast Sligo Workhouse Admission and Discharge Registers 1848-1859
- Ancestry - Sustainability Loan Fund, 1821-1874
- Ancestry - Sustainability Loan Fund, 1812-1868
- Findmypast - Poverty Relief Loans 1821-1874
- The Workhouses of Ireland John O’Connor Anvil 1995
- Derry and the Irish Poor Law Patrick Durnin Waterside Community Local History Group 1991
Irish probates were handled by ecclesiastical courts up to 1858. Twenty-eight diocesan courts, known as consistory courts, existed. The highest court, with authority over all the ecclesiastical courts, was the Prerogative Court of Armagh (which operated from Dublin). If a person had an estate that included property in more than one diocese and was worth more than £5, that person's will would have been proved in the Prerogative Court. And in addition, the wills of wealthy people were usually proved in the Prerogative Court. If the Estate included property in England or Wales the will may have been proven in the Prerogative Court of Canterbury or Prerogative Court of York.
In 1858, civil authorities, government departments, and courts, took on the work of proving wills and administrations. Eleven district will registries and a Principal Probate Registry in Dublin replaced the church probate courts. Each registry made copies of wills and administrations that it proved in 'will and admon books' and after 20 years sent the originals to the Public Record Office in Dublin. The originals and copies, of almost all records of the Principal Probate Registry (which also had jurisdiction as a district court over the counties of Dublin and Kildare) were destroyed in the fire that consumed the Public Record Office in 1922. Copies of wills and administrations kept by other district registries have been gathered into the National Archives and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, where they remain grouped by district.
There is an exhaustive description of Ireland Probate Records on Familysearch.
Websites with Probate indexes and images.
- Will calendar entries for the District Probate Registries of Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry covering the period 1858-1965. View digital images of copy wills for Armagh, (1858-1918), Belfast (1858-1909) and Londonderry (1858-1899).
- PRONI E-Catalogue Pre 1858 Wills
- Calendars of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1922
- Irish Wills 1922-1982
- Ireland Calendar of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1920
- Wills & Probate in Birth, Marriage & Death (Parish Registers) 1484-1820 and WW1 Soldiers Wills
- Index to the prerogative wills of Ireland, 1536-1810
- Wills & Probates, Estates & Guardian Records
- Irish Tontines Annuitants 1766-1789. Discover your ancestor in Irish and English tontine records from 1766 to 1789. This collection comprises annuity statements, accounts of deaths, death certificates, and marriage certificates relating to the subscribers and nominees of the English tontine of 1789; the Irish tontines of 1773, 1775, and 1777; and the life annuities of 1766 to 1779.
Familysearch Family History Libraries also hold microfilms of indexes and images of probate documents. (Note that the LDS microfilm service was terminated in September 2017, records are now digitized and online.)
The Commissioners for National Education, which was subsequently known as the National Education Board was established in 1831 with the aim of providing a non-denominational education for the poor of Ireland.
Irish Ancestors includes links to the following societies.
- Ballingeary and Inchigeela Historical Society, Co. Cork
- Clogher Historical Society
- Co. Roscommon Family History Society
- Co. Tipperary Historical Society
- Cork Genealogical Society
- Cork Historical & Archaeological Society
- Dungarvan Museum Society
- Genealogical Society of Ireland
- Grand Orange Lodge
- Irish Family History Society
- Mallow Archaeological and Historical Society
- North of Ireland Family History Society
- Offaly Historical and Archaeological Society
- Ratoo Heritage Society
- Skibbereen Heritage Centre
- Termonfeckin Historical Society
- The Glens of Antrim Historical Society
- The Irish Genealogical Research Society
- The Irish Railway Record Society
- The Methodist Historical Society of Ireland
- The Wicklow Heritage Project
- Western Family History Association
- American-Irish Historical Society
- British Isles Family History Society - U.S.A.
- Irish Genealogical Society International
- Irish Genealogical Society of Wisconsin
- New Zealand Society of Genealogists
- Society of Australian Genealogists
- The American Irish Historical Society
- The Bahrain Irish Society
- The British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa
- The Federation of Family History Societies (U.K.)
- The Irish Ancestral Research Association
- The Ulster-Scots Society of America
Other Societies include
- Many Irish tax records were lost in 1922 when the Public Records Office burned. Surviving archives are mostly land valuation records, including the Tithe Applotment books and Griffith's Primary Valuation. These sources are included in the Land and Property Section.
- During the 18th and 19th Centuries, flax was an important cash crop a list of known flax growers on the island in 1796. It provides the name of grower and county of residence and the number of spinning wheels/looms that were awarded. The index can be searched on Ancestry and transcription is available to members of the Ulster Historical Foundation.