Ireland, Additional Civil Registration Information
Additional Information on Death Registrations:
Death certificates give only the name, occupation, age at death, and marital status of the deceased; duration of the illness; date, place, and cause of death; and 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 Northern counties, the father's name of unmarried adult females are often recorded.
Civil registrations of deaths are of limited genealogical value because they:
- Do not normally contain parentage or birth information.
- May be inaccurate (the informant may not have known the information requested).
- May not contain enough information to distinguish your ancestor from others with the same name. This cannot be emphasized enough.
Nonetheless, a death certificate is usually the only civil record for persons born or married before government registration began in 1864.
Since December 2005 death records in the Irish Republic record the deceased's date & place of birth and parents' full names. In Northern Ireland, since 1973 death records have stated the deceased person's date & place of birth.
Although judicial divorce became possible in England & Wales from 1857 this was not the case in Ireland. Divorce continued to be available only through a private act of parliament, which was in itself a rare occurrence and one only available to the well-off. After the creation of the Irish Free State in 1922 (later simply called 'Ireland' and now commonly referred to as the Republic of Ireland) this situation continued until judicial divorce was finally legislated following a referendum in 1995.
In Northern Ireland judicial divorce became available in 1939.
Divorce records usually contain very brief details about the names of the parties and the date and place of the marriage being dissolved. However, court files relating to divorce proceedings may contain additional information on family members, their marital history (including marriage date and place), property, residences, and sometimes dates of events such as children’s births.
Given the restriction upon divorce in Ireland some people chose to divorce in the jurisdiction of England & Wales. Searches can be made for records there at:
'Divorce Registry of the Family Division
Somerset House, Strand
W.C. 2 England
Records of UK parliamentary divorce acts (up to 1921) can be found at:
House of Lords Library
London, SW1A 0PW
As mentioned above, judicial divorce began in England & Wales in 1858. Files relating to the court proceedings for divorce records are confidential for 75 years. Records older than 75 years can be consulted at the National Archives in London and indexes for the period 1858 to 1937 are available there.
To learn more about divorce records, visit the following Web sites.
- http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/Leaflets/ri2289.htm www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/catalogue/Leaflets/ri2289.htm
- http://www.1837online.com/Trace2web/resources/divorcerecords/ www.1837online.com/Trace2web/resources/divorcerecords/
Additional Collections in Registrar's Office:
There are numerous other collections in the Registrar General’s Office. Each of them relates to various circumstances that impact the registration of births, marriages and deaths relating to Irish citizens.
Adopted Children's Register
This was introduced by the Adoption Act of 1952. Registration began on 10 July 1953 and only allowed couples of the same religion as the child to adopt illegitimate and orphaned children. The Adoption Act of 1974 removed the same religion requirement. These are considered public records, but give no indication of the birth parents.
Births and Deaths at Sea
These were recorded beginning 1 July 1837 when the registration of births, and deaths was initiated in England and Wales. Persons of Irish heritage were registered as well and copies were later provided to the Irish Registrar General where at least one parent had been born in Ireland. Unfortunately, the Irish Free State discontinued the registration in 1922. The registration continues in Northern Ireland.
British Consular Births and Deaths
The Consular Civil Registers were maintained on British subjects beginning in 1849. Obviously only the births and deaths that occurred in foreign countries were recorded when the British consulate or embassy was notified. Again, as with births and deaths at sea, the Irish Free State discontinued the registration in 1922, but it continues in Northern Ireland.
Great War Deaths
This is a register of the men who died in His Majesty King George V’s service during the Great War. Deaths are recorded for the period 1914 – 1921. The information included in each entry includes the army number and rank, name, country of birth, date and cause of death. Obviously, this trail would lead to other military records that may give additional details about the soldier or living family members.
Army Births, Marriages and Deaths: 1879 Army Act
Created by the Parliamentary Act of 1879 in provided for the registration of all army births, deaths and marriages outside the United Kingdom that were submitted to the registrar. Births where at least one parent was born in Ireland and deaths where the principle was born in Ireland. The registration was continued until 1930 for births and 1931 for deaths and marriages. The death index for the year 1902 also contains an index to the deaths in the South African War for the years 1898 – 1902.