Ireland Civil Registration Overview (National Institute)

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The original content for this article was contributed by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies in June 2012. It is an excerpt from their course Research: Irish Ancestor  by Dr. Penelope Christensen. The Institute offers over 200 comprehensive genealogy courses for a fee ($).

Civil Registration Of Birth, Marriage and Death

Civil Registration began for all of Ireland on January 1st, 1864. However, Protestant marriages (more properly Non-Catholic marriages, as they contain groups such as Jews) are also available from April 1st 1845. Also, any Catholics who had their marriage performed by a non-Catholic are here as well. Civil registration records were not affected by the 1922 civil war as they were not housed in the Four Courts building at that time.

Many of the Births and Marriages are indexed on the IGI, the places given are the Registration Districts, (not the parish), in which the event took place. They are recognizable because the four-digit page number of the original record is given together with the place name. The IGI also contains christenings and marriages from parish registers.

Availability of Civil Registration

All indexes and many certificates for births, marriages and deaths up to 1959 are available on film (chart 4) and your FSC may have several on permanent loan. Find them on FamilySearch Catalog - PLACE SEARCH - IRELAND - CIVIL REGISTRATION and CIVIL REGISTRATION INDEXES. Note that, on both the fiche and computer editions of the FamilySearch Catalog, most of the indexes for Irish civil registration occur together with the certificate films under CIVIL REGISTRATION rather than CIVIL REGISTRATION - INDEXES. You will also find some Miscellaneous Registers comprising events occurring abroad for Irish citizens, such as army, marine and consular records. Note that all of Ireland is indexed together on FamilySearch Catalog. The records for different dates for one area may be listed in different places; they are all on the FamilySearch Catalog - keep looking!

Chart: Civil Registration indexes on film at FHCs

Births
1864-1921
All Ireland
1922-1959
Northern Ireland
1922-1958
Republic of Ireland
Marriages
1845-1863
All Ireland Protestant
1864-1921
All Ireland
1922-1959
Northern Ireland
1922-1958
Republic of Ireland
Deaths
1864-1921
All Ireland
1922-1959
Northern Ireland
1922-1958
Republic of Ireland

Chart: FamilySearch Catalog Entry for Civil Registration Indexes

Ireland - Civil Registration

Northern Ireland. General Register Office.

Deaths, 1922-1959. -- Salt Lake City: Filmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah, 1959-1960, -- 167 microfilm reels: 35mm.
Microfilm of original records in Fermanagh House, Belfast, Ireland.
BRITISH
FILM AREA
Index
v.1-4
1922-1925
0232472
Index
v.5-8
1926-1929
0232473
Index
v.9-12
1930-1933
0232474
Index
v.13-18
1934-1939
0232475
Index
v.19-25
1940-1946
0232476
Index
v.26-30
1947-1951
0232478
Index
v.31-38
1952-1959
0232478

Using the Indexes

Consult the annual volumes of indexes and find the person you need, then note the year, quarter (after 1877), and volume and page numbers. Where the annual index is divided into four separate quarterly indexes then, for example, events registered in January, February and March 1882 are in the March 1882 Index. Events are entered according to the date that they were registered, which in the case of births may have been up to three months after the date of the event. Marriages and deaths were usually registered much closer to the actual event date.

Chart: Civil Registration Index
Index to Deaths Registered in Ireland During the Quarter Ended 31st March, 1920.

Note: Under one year marked thus (0). Age not given, thus (-).

Name
Age
Registration District
Vol.
Page
ANDERSON, George
71
Banbridge
1
106
-----------------Jane
74
Dublin
2
449
-----------------Jane
52
Coleraine
1
413
-----------------John
70
Bawnboy
3
29
-----------------John
59
Monaghan
3
153
-----------------John
40
Belfast
1
209
-----------------Lana
0
Cork
5
116
-----------------Lola Laura
22
Belfast
1
145
-----------------Margaret
76
Magherafelt
1
529
-----------------Margaret
75
Armagh
1
30
-----------------Mary
78
Dundalk
2
561
-----------------Mary
52
Dublin, South
2
511
-----------------Mary
0
Belfast
1
351
ASTBURY, Mary
0
Belfast
1
261
ASTON, David
2
Belfast
1
161
-----------Mary
0
Belfast
1
175
ATCHESON, George
0
Newtownard
1
684
ATKENSON, John
50
Castleblayney
1
404
ATKINS, Jane
80
Dublin, South
2
459
-------------Johana
73
Dungarvan
4
851
ATKINSON, Alice
0
Belfast
1
835
-----------------Elizabeth
64
Belfast
1
268
-----------------Elizabeth
87
Rathdown
2
628
-----------------Frances Moore
81
Kilkeel
1
506
-----------------George
66
Castlebar
4
70
-----------------John
73
Castlebar
4
65

The Registration Districts are identical with the Poor Law Unions (PLUs). To find which PLU a certain parish belonged to, consult one of the indexes to the townlands and towns of Ireland (see 1st two references in the Bibliography). Also useful is the reference guide written by the Family History Library entitled Civil Registration Districts of Ireland on one fiche 6036472.

A search should encompass all probable (and sometimes improbable) spelling variations. Keep track of which years and quarters you have searched for each spelling variant. The following information is given in the indexes:

Births

Surname, first name, registration district, volume, page number. For births only, from 1903 the indexes revert to annual volumes and the mother's maiden name is also given on the copies held in Belfast. The latter enables one to search for all children in one family. Children unnamed at time of registration will be registered as male or female at the end of that surname listing. Foundlings are given at the end of the book. Be prepared to search up to 15 years before the estimated birth date.

It is quite common for first, and sometimes further, children to be registered under the mother's maiden name - they tended to come along before the actual marriage took place! If this maiden surname is unknown, then try getting a certificate first for a later-born child which will give this information.

Marriages

Surname, first name, registration district, volume, page number. When searching for a marriage, first look for the name of the party with the most unusual name and take details. Obviously the registration district, volume and page number should be identical. It occasionally happens that one partner is missed from the index.

Deaths

Surname, first name, age, registration district, volume, page number. Deaths are harder to find because they do not always occur at the place of residence. Age at death may only be a rough estimate. It was only as good as what the informant knew, .... or thought he knew, .... or wanted everyone to believe!

Yearly Addenda

For each category (births, marriages and deaths) there are addenda at the end of the alphabet which should be checked when the regular source fails to contain the required entry. These contain: late registrations, army registers and marine registers.

Using Films At FamilySearch Center (FSC)

This method is the least expensive and works for those civil registration certificates which have been microfilmed, provided that your FamilySearch Center has a printer. Send for the film through your FSC and take a copy yourself. Go to FamilySearch Catalog - PLACE SEARCH - IRELAND - CIVIL REGISTRATION OR CIVIL REGISTRATION - INDEXES. Find Births, Marriages or Deaths section (not indexes to them), as appropriate.

If after 1921, check that you have Ireland (Dublin) or Northern Ireland (Belfast) as appropriate. Find the correct year, quarter and volume number and take the film number to order.

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Information in this Wiki page is excerpted from the online course Research: Irish Ancestor offered by The National Institute for Genealogical Studies. To learn more about this course or other courses available from the Institute, see our website. We can be contacted at wiki@genealogicalstudies.com

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