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Ireland

View the Ireland Civil Registration online tutorialfrom FamilySearch.

Contents

Introduction

Dublin Four Courts and the Liffy River.jpg

Civil registration is the government recording and registering of births, marriages, and deaths. Registration began in Ireland in 1864.  However, registration of Protestant marriages had begun earlier in 1845.  Births, marriages and deaths were registered with district registrars.  Registration districts were set up within the boundaries of the existing Poor Law Unions.  Because Irish civil registration records are indexed and cover most of the population, they are an important source of genealogical data, particularly of names, dates, relationships, and places.


Table showing the information that can be found in each record type in the civil records of Ireland.

Record Type Start Date Record Content
Birth 1864 Child’s name; sex; birth date; birthplace; parents names (including mother’s maiden name); father’s occupation and place of residence; informant’s signature, residence and qualification (often the relationship to the child being registered.
Marriages 1845;Protestant; 1864;all Marriage date, place and denomination (for church marriages); names of bride and groom, their ages (frequently given as “full age”); occupations, marital statuses, residences at the time of marriage; names and occupations of their fathers, and sometimes whether their fathers were deceased (this is not consistant); signatures of the bride, groom, and witnesses. Marriages were usually performed in the bride’s parish and were registered by the performing minister, priest or registrar. In the Irish Republic, since 1956 both parties’ dates of birth and parents’ full names have been recorded in addition to the future intended town or country in which the couple intend to reside.
Death 1864 Name, occupation, age at death, and marital status of deceased; duration of illness; date, place and cause of death; signature, qualification, and residence of the informant. For a married or widowed woman a spouse’s name is sometimes recorded. Where a child has died, the child’s occupation is often given as “son or daughter of …”. In the Northern counties, the father’s name of unmarried adult females are often recorded. Since December 2005 in the Irish Republic the deceased’s date & birth and parents’ full names are recorded. In Northern Ireland, since 1973 death records have stated the deceased person’s date & place of birth.

Using Indexes

Indexes provide the information necessary to locate the actual registration record the year or quarter of the year when the event was registered, the registration district, volume number and page number.

The Civil Registration birth records to 1881 and marriage and death records to 1870, as well as the index references to 1958, have been extracted and can be found in the Historical Records database on www.familysearch.org. Extracted records do not cover all areas and do not contain all of the information on the actual registration record, but they should contain enough information that you can determine if you have located the event for the correct person.

Note: The index information for the records at the General Records Office of the Republic of Ireland (GRO) differs from the index information at the General Records Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI). FamilySearch has digitized the indexes. The digital images, available at familysearch.org are based on the GRO index for 1845 to 1921. After 1921, they are based on the GRO index for the Republic of Ireland and the GRONI index for Northern Ireland. You must have the corresponding index information for the source you chose to obtain the complete registration information.

Birth Indexes

Mother and child at home pg. 80.jpg
  1. For 1864 – 1958, search the computerized registration indexes at www.familysearch.org. (The microfilm indexes are also available at the Family History Library or through local Family History Centers. The Family History Library or Centers' microfilm indexes are the GRO indexes for 1864 to 1921. After 1921, they are based on the GRO index (1922-1958) for the Republic of Ireland and the GRONI index 1922-1959) for Northern Ireland.)
  2. From 1864 -1921, searches can be made of the indexes at either the General Record Office (GRO) or the General Records Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI). After 1921, the GRO contains the indexes for the Republic and GRONI has the indexes for Northern Ireland.
  3. Proceed to the instructions on obtaining certificates or locating the actual registration information.

Marriage Indexes

Note: If you know the surnames of both spouses, search for both spouses. If the index information matches, then you have the correct marriage.

  1. For 1864 – 1958, search the computerized registration indexes at familysearch.org. (These indexes are also available on microfilm at the Family History Library or through local Family History Centers. The Family History Library or Centers' microfilm indexes are the GRO indexes for 1845 to 1921. After 1921, they are based on the GRO indexes (1922-1958) for the Republic of Ireland and the GRONI index 1922-1959) for Northern Ireland.)
  2. For all years, searches can be made at the indexes at the General Record Office (GRO) for the Republic of Ireland or the General Records Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI).
  3. Proceed to the instructions on obtaining certificates or locating the actual registration information.

Death Indexes

  1. For 1864 – 1958, search the computerized registration indexes at familysearch.org. (These indexes are also available on microfilm at the Family History Library or through local family history centers. The Family History Library or Centers' microfilm indexes are the GRO indexes for 1845 to 1921. After 1921, they are based on the GRO index (1922-1958)for the Republic of Ireland and the GRONI index (1922-1959) for Northern Ireland.)
  2. For all years, searches can be made at the indexes at the General Record Office (GRO) for the Republic of Ireland or the General Records Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI).
  3. Proceed to the instructions on obtaining certificates or locating the actual registration information.

For more information about the indexes, see also Ireland, Civil Registration: Additional Information About the Indexes.

For tips on searching the indexes, go to Tips on Searching the Civil Registration Indexes.

Obtaining Birth, Marriage, and Death Certificates

For all of Ireland, The General Register Office in Roscommon, Ireland has records of:

Births
•1864-1921
Marriages
•1845-1921
Deaths
•1864-1921

And for the Republic of Ireland:

Births, marriages and deaths
•1921-present

For Northern Ireland (the counties of Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanangh and Tyrone only) The General Register Office for Northern Ireland has records of:

Births
•from 1864 to present - district or full address of birth must be supplied
Adoptions
•from 1931 to present
Marriages
•from 1845 for registered non-Roman Catholic marriages and all registered marriages from 1864
Deaths
•from 1864 to present - district or full address of death must be supplied

Local Registrars can be contacted through this website.

Filmed certificates are available through the Family History Library system.  See the table below.

Locating the Actual Registration Information

City Hall, Belfast.jpg

There are two index systems used to catalog the civil registration information; the GRO index and the GRONI index. If you have GRO index information, you must obtain the registration from a repository that catalogs the information based on this index and vice versa for the GRONI index information. GRO indexed information is shown in bold and GRONI indexed information is shown initalic.

Step 1: Determine where to obtain the actual registration information.

Below is a table showing the civil registration information available at the Family History Library or through Family History Centers, the GRO and the GRONI. Determine whether your index information is based on the GRO or the GRONI catalog system and then identify where you want to obtain the actual registration information.

Event FHL or FHC GRO GRONI
Births: .Click link then scroll down
. .
Republic of Ireland

1864–Mar 1881; 1900-1913;    1930 -1955

1864 to present 1864-1921
Northern Ireland

'1864–Mar 1881;' 1900-1913;   1922-1959

1864 to 1921 1864 to present
Marriages: (protestant only) . . .
Republic of Ireland 1845–1863 1845 to present 1845–1863
Northern Ireland 1845-1863 1845-1863 1845 to present
Marriages: (all marriages) . . .
Republic of Ireland 1864-1870 1864 to present 1864-1921
Northern Ireland 1864-1870; 1922-1959 1864-1921 1864 to present
Deaths: . . .
Republic of Ireland 1864-1870 1864 to present 1864-1921
Northern Ireland 1864-1870; 1922-1959 1864-1921 1864 to present

Step 2: Obtain the actual registration information.

a. Obtaining Civil Registration Information at Family History Library or Family History Center:

The Family History Library (FHL) has microfilms of the actual registration information the years shown above. Click on the link in the above table to see the Family History Library microfilm number that contains the certificate you are looking for based on the index information you have.  These microfilms can also be ordered through the local Family History Center.  Then find the certificate by looking at the microfilm.  First find the appropriate year or quarter of the year and then proceed to the page number found in the indexes to locate the registration information.

b. Obtaining Civil Registration Information at the GRO:

With the GRO index information, you can obtain the registration information through the GRO. Click on this link to see the GRO ordering information.

c. Obtaining Civil Registration Information at GRONI:

With the GRONI index information, you can obtain the registration information through the GRONI. Click on this link to see the GRONI ordering information.

Additional Information

For more information about the indexes, see Ireland, Civil Registration: Additional Information About the Indexes.

For tips on searching the indexes, go to Tips on Searching the Civil Registration Indexes.

For additional information on death registration records, go to Ireland, Additional Civil Registration Information.

For additional collections available at the Registrar General's Office, go to Ireland, Additional Civil Registration Information.

Further Reading

  • Irish Civil Registration - Where Do I Start? (No. 2 in 'Exploring Irish Genealogy' series) by Eileen O'Duill Steven C. ffeary-Smyrl. Published by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations, Dublin, 2000. www.cigo.ie

External Links

Wiki articles describing online collections are found at:

Selected Bibliography

1. Falley, Margaret Dickson. Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research. Evanston, Illinois: privately printed, 1962.

2. Grenham, John. “Civil Records” in Tracing your Irish Ancestors, 3rd ed. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing Co., 2006.

3. Ó Dúill, Eileen and Steven C. ffeary-Smyrl, Irish Civil Registraion – Where Do I Start?, Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations Exploring Irish Genealogy Series. Dublin, Ireland: Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations, 2000. [The definitive guide on the subject.]

4. Radford, Dwight A. and Kyle J. Betit. “Civil Registration” in A Genealogists Guide to Discovering Your Irish Ancestors. Cincinnati, Ohio: Betterway Books, 2001. [Includes a list of the Superintendent Registrar’s Districts.]


 

 

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