Genealogical and Historical Research Service in Ireland
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Paper records once used in research are to be found today in various formats depending on the particular record or collection. These formats include the original manuscript, a paper copy of the manuscript, or an image on microfilm, microfiche or digitized. In the case of the latter collections are in various stages of digitization. 

  1. - CHURCH RECORDS

  2. - CIVIL RECORDS OF BIRTHS, MARRIAGES and DEATHS

  3. - CENSUSES

  4. - LAND RECORDS

  5. - BUSINESS etc. RECORDS

  6. - OTHER SOURCE MATERIAL.

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CHURCH RECORDS

Registers vary as to the date of commencement, condition and as to information contained therein.

Roman Catholic Registers.
Roman Catholic Registers consist mainly of baptism and marriage records. Very few burial records were kept.
The majority begin in the early nineteenth century but some can date from prior to that time
 

Church of Ireland Records.
Registers of baptisms, marriages and burials can date from the late seventeenth century but the majority commence between 1770 and 1820. However a number of registers were lodged in the Public Record Office in Dublin and were destroyed during the Civil War of 1922. In some instances copies were kept in the local parish or historians made transcriptions and these are available for research.

Presbyterian Records.
Presbyterian registers of baptisms, marriages and deaths can start in the seventeenth century but in some instances early records are to be found in the registers of the local Church of Ireland parish.

Methodist Records.
From 1747 to 1816 records of baptisms, marriages and burials are to be found in the registers of the Church of Ireland. After 1816 a split occurred with the ''Primitive Methodists'' remaining within the Church of Ireland and the ''Wesleyan Methodists'' maintaining their own registers. This lasted to 1878.

Quaker Records.
From the time of their arrival in Ireland in the seventeenth century the Society of Friends kept records of births, marriages and deaths.

Marriage Licence Bonds.
Persons wishing to obtain a licence to marry without having banns called were required to enter into a bond with the Church of Ireland bishop of the diocese. Some abstracts and the indexes to the bonds lodged in each Diocesan Court and the Prerogative Court are available for research

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CIVIL RECORDS OF BIRTHS, MARRIAGES AND DEATHS

State registration of births, marriages and deaths began in Ireland for all religious denominations from 1864; non Catholic marriages were registered from 1845. However it is believed that from 10 to 15 per cent of births, marriages and deaths, in the latter nineteenth century, were not registered.

INDEXES.
There are indexes to births, marriages and deaths available.
 

ACTUAL ENTRIES.
The information on the actual entries are:

Births to 1997.
the date and place of birth;
the name (if any);
the sex;
the name, surname and dwelling place of the father;
the name, surname, maiden name and dwelling place of the mother;
the rank, profession or occupation of the father;
the name of the informant and his/her address and qualifications e.g. present at birth.

Marriage
the date when married;
the names and surnames of each of the parties marrying;
their respective ages (from 1956 their dates of birth);
their condition e.g. bachelor, spinster, widow or widower;
their rank, profession or occupation;
their residence at the time of marriage (from 1956 their intended address after marriage also);
the name and surname of the fathers of each of the parties and their rank, profession or occupation
 (from 1956 the mothers' names are also included).

Deaths
The date and place of death;
the name and surname of the deceased;
the sex of the deceased;
the condition of the deceased as to marriage;
the age of the deceased at last birthday;
the rank, profession or occupation of the deceased;
the certified cause of death and the duration of the final illness;
the name of the informant, his/her address and qualifications.

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CENSUSES.

The first general State census commenced in 1821 but up to 1901 most returns, except for a few miscellaneous places, have been lost or destroyed. Prior to 1821 various censuses for specific purposes were carried out and the principal ones are listed below.
The earliest surviving comprehensive returns are for 1901 and 1911.

1911 census.
The information given was:
name; relationship to the head of the household; religion; literacy; occupation; age; marital status; married women had to state the number of years married, number of children born alive and the number still living; county of birth; ability to speak English or Irish and information on the type of house e.g. number of rooms etc.

1901 census.
The information is similar to that in the 1911 census but the requirement for married women is not included.

Censuses 1821-1891
No household returns exist for 1881 and 1891. There are some returns or abstracts for other years for parts of some counties.
A list of heads of households named in the returns of 1851 for Dublin City is available.
There are also census search forms made in the returns of 1841 and 1851 for pension purposes and other copies from the returns of 1821 to 1851.

Religious Census 1766.
This was drawn up by each Church of Ireland rector and lists all householders in his parish. However it is only available for some areas.

Census of Ireland circa 1659.
It gives the names of tituladoes (i.e. those with title to land). The number of persons (English and Irish) resident in each townland and the principal Irish names in each barony are also listed.
No returns exists for some counties.
 

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LAND RECORDS.

The principal land record is Richard Griffith's 'General Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland' of the mid-nineteenth century together with its preparatory notebooks and its follow up revision books.

Griffith's Valuation of Rateable Property in Ireland 1848-64
This is the only detailed guide showing where in Ireland people lived in the mid-nineteenth century and what property they possessed. A map is also available which, in many instances for rural areas, shows the exact location of the property. The survey was undertaken to assess property for local taxation purposes. It is arranged by county and poor law union and sub-divided for rural areas into barony, civil parish and townland and other areas into "county of the town of" (i.e. county boroughs or cities), municipal boroughs or towns and streets.
Part of a page from this valuation can be viewed by clicking HERE.

Valuation Lists or Revision Books from 1860.
These lists are an up-date of the information contained in the original Griffith's Valuation of Rateable Property.

Field, House and Tenure Books.
These are the original notebooks used by the surveyors to compile Griffith's Valuation. However they do not exist for all areas.
Field Books give details on the amount and the value of the land.
House Books record the occupier's name and the measurement and use of any building on the holdings.
Tenure Books again record the occupier's name, the annual rent paid and the legal basis on which the holding was held i.e. at will or by lease. This information can be useful as it relates to the year or years prior to the publication of the actual Griffith's Valuation and thus can show changes immediately after the Great Famine.

Tithe Applotment Books (1823-38).
This survey was undertaken to determine the liability of landholders for tithes payable to the Established Church i.e. the Church of Ireland. It varies in its usefulness as in some instances only the main landlords are listed but in most cases tenants and the size of their holdings are given.  A Tithe Defaulters List also exists.

Hearth Money Rolls 1663-1669.
These are arranged by county and parish and list only the name of the householder and the number of hearth on which he was taxed. It survived for over half of all counties.

Books of Survey and Distribution (1662-1702).
The Books of Survey and Distribution were an official record of the landed proprietors and their respective estates. They are arranged by barony, parish and townland and list the land, the owner prior to 1641, the new owner and the amount of land received in the Cromwellian Settlement and the land forfeited in 1688 which was sold in 1701-2. Books for all counties are extant.

The Down Survey Maps 1654-5.
In 1654 trained surveyors applotted all the land recently forfeited and also stated whether the land was wood, bog, mountain, arable, meadow or pasture. The divisions used were barony, parish and townland. The landowner was also listed and his religion. While much of this material was lost in the Civil War 1922 various maps for nearly all counties survive.

The Civil Survey 1654-56.
This lists the landlords, his/her religion and property in 1649. It is arranged by county, barony, parish and townland and gives interesting local topographical details.
The survey survives for less than half the country.

Estate Records.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries the vast majority of the population lived as small tenant farmers on large estates. These estates were let to middlemen who in turn sub-let either at will or by short term leases to the small landholders. Many of the records, maps, tenants' lists, rentals, accounts etc. exist in public repositories but they vary greatly as to their content and usefulness but in some cases can be very rewarding.

Registry of Deeds (from 1708).
Memorials of Deeds exist from 1708 but as a general rule relate to property of merchants and large farmers. There are two types of indexes available to the records a surname or 'The Grantors' Index' and a placename or 'The Lands Index'.

Land Registry.
The Land Registry is responsible for the compulsory registration of Title from 1892.

Various Other Land Records
for example, records of  the Devon Commission, the Incumbered Estates Court, the Land Commission, the Congested Districts Boards etc.
 

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BUSINESS  ETC.  RECORDS.

Trade Directories
Trade directories are a useful source for people living in towns. While they exist from the seventeenth century for major cities etc. they mainly relate to the nineteenth century for all populated areas.

Flax Grower's List and Spinning Wheel Lists.
These list for 1796 the names of the persons who received a grant for the growing of flax or for a spinning wheel.

Records for Certain Professions etc.
Specific records exists for persons in certain occupations such as the army; artists; clergymen; craftsmen; policemen; teachers etc..
Business Records for some businesses such as grocers, solicitors etc. are available. But it is only a small collection

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OTHER  SOURCE  MATERIAL.

Various other source material is available for research either in general or for specific areas or events including:

  • Wills and will abstracts and registers.

  • Gravestone Inscriptions.

  • Newspapers.
         See example of information by clicking HERE.

  • Emigration and Passenger Lists.

  • Prisoners, Convicts and Transportation Records,

  • Court Records.

  • School Registers.

  • Parliamentary Papers.

  • Electoral or Voters' lists.
     
        See information by clicking HERE.

  • Surveys and maps.

  • Existing pedigrees and published family and local histories.
     

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© MP McConnon, MC Research Service, Seabank, Castlebellingham, Dundalk, County Louth, Ireland
(Original uploaded 26 October 2006) Last update 29 August 2011.