Irish Family History: Civil Registration

Welcome to the second instalment on Researching Your Irish Household Historical past. Right here, Nicola Morris explains how one can entry civil registration data on-line to assist hint your Irish ancestors.

NB: Ancestry and Discover My Previous are free to look, however require subscriptions to view data.


From 1845 non-Catholic marriages in Eire had been registered with the civil authorities but it surely wasn’t till 1864 that registration of all births, deaths and marriages turned obligatory.  Though civil registration was obligatory from 1864 it’s estimated that as much as 15% of births and marriages went unregistered within the early years of civil registration and as many as 30% of deaths weren’t registered with the civil authorities.

Births had been normally registered by a member of the family, neighbour or midwife who had been in attendance.  It was obligatory to register a delivery inside the first three months or a late registration wonderful was incurred.  It’s not unusual to discover a household who registered a toddler’s delivery six months or extra after the occasion however who modified the date of delivery of the kid to fall inside the earlier three months.  This implies that you could be discover proof of a kid who was baptised in March however whose delivery registration provides a date of delivery in September of the identical 12 months.  The baptismal file is a extra correct reflection of the true date of delivery of the kid.  

Utilizing Irish delivery registers

Some households didn’t register the births of their kids both on time or late.  This will likely have been as a result of the price for registration was past their means on the time.  Births had been registered domestically within the registrar’s district.  

These registers had been then despatched to Dublin to be copied.  Some births had been by accident excluded from the Dublin copies throughout this course of and at the moment are lacking from the nationwide civil delivery register.  They are often discovered by inspecting the unique registers, however most of those registers have now been archived and saved past entry.

Beginning registrations or certificates file the date and fatherland, the title and intercourse of the kid, the title, deal with and occupation of the daddy and title and maiden title of the mom in addition to the title and deal with of the informant.  In some circumstances the connection of the informant to the kid is said and you’ll typically discover maternal grandmothers or aunts who had been current and who registered the delivery.

Utilizing Irish marriage registers

The registration of marriages was the duty of the parish priest or celebrant of the wedding and it’s not unusual to search out marriages in church registers which can be lacking from civil registers, an omission by the parish priest, who failed to tell the civil authorities of the wedding.

Marriage registrations or certificates are probably the most informative.  They file the title and denomination of the church during which the wedding occurred, the title, age, marital standing, occupation and deal with of the bride and groom in addition to the names and occupations of their fathers, the witnesses and the title of the minister who carried out the ceremony.  Most nineteenth and early twentieth century marriage certificates file the ages of the bride and groom as full, which means that they’re over 21 years of age.  These below 21 are known as minors or their age is given.  

Witnesses to a wedding had been typically siblings, cousins or friends of the bride and groom, and far much less often mother and father.  Witnesses to the wedding of a minor might have been mother and father of the bride and groom.

Utilizing Irish dying registers

Deaths had been normally registered by a member of the family or neighbour who was current or by the administrator of a hospital or the establishment the place the dying occurred.  Demise registrations may be the least informative of the three registrations.   A dying certificates will file the date and place of dying, the title, deal with, age, marital standing and occupation of the deceased, reason behind dying and the title of the informant.  The informant was not all the time a member of the family.  Not like Scottish, American and a few Australian dying registrations, no different relations are cited on an Irish civil dying registration.  The dying registration of an individual with a typical title who died in a hospital or different establishment, might not comprise sufficient info to ascertain who they had been or to establish their partner or mother and father.

The data of civil registration for Eire are held by the Basic Register Workplace.  There’s a public analysis room at Werburgh Road in Dublin metropolis the place researchers can search the index books for related entries.  The index books begin in 1845 for non-Catholic marriages.  From 1864 there are indexes for all births, deaths and marriages.  Between 1864 and 1878 all entries for annually are listed alphabetically by surname, with some late registrations and abroad occasions written into the again of the e book.  From 1878 every e book is split into 4 quarters, so when doing a handbook search you need to ensure you test the e book 4 occasions, and a fifth time for late and different entries in the back of the e book.

There’s a small price for looking out the index books in individual on the Basic Register Workplace (€2 for five consecutive years) and a price of €4 for every copy.  Nonetheless, in the event you can not make it to Dublin you possibly can entry nearly all of these data on-line.

The place can I discover Irish delivery, dying and marriage registers?

The primary set of data from the Irish Basic Register Workplace to be listed fashioned a part of the IGI (Worldwide Genealogical Index) the place abstracts from delivery registrations from 1864 as much as about 1880 had been transcribed.  These data may be discovered on and at Ancestry UK.  Nonetheless, solely the title of the kid, date of delivery and names of the mother and father seem on this assortment and the townland deal with of the household and father’s occupation aren’t recorded, so the total delivery registration must be hunted for this extra info.

The Church of the Latter Day Saints, who maintain microfilm copies of the civil delivery, marriage and dying index books have transcribed the index books from 1845 (non-Catholic marriages) as much as 1958.  These indexes had been transcribed by volunteers and there are some errors and omissions.  The late registration entries and abroad and military births, deaths and marriages are additionally excluded from this assortment.  They’ve been revealed on-line at and file the title of the occasion, the 12 months and registration district, quantity, web page and quarter.  The index reference is important to acquire a duplicate of the unique registration. These may be ordered from, however Timeline Family tree Clerk affords a service whereby genealogical researchers who’ve discovered data within the index can order in a extra easy approach:

The Irish Authorities web site have revealed the indexes for civil registration as follows:

Index of Births: 1864 -1916
Index of Marriages: 1845-1941
Index of Deaths: 1864 – 1966

The unique registers have additionally been revealed on-line for the next dates:

Births: 1864-1916
Marriages: 1870-1941
Deaths: 1878-1966

Which means in the event you discover an index entry for a wedding in 1875 you possibly can click on by means of to the picture of the unique registration.  This can be a free web site and there aren’t any charges for looking out, viewing or downloading the data.

The web site represents the collections of church and civil data for every county heritage centre in Eire.  The data for every centre range from county to county.  Some counties have listed the unique delivery, marriage and dying registers utilizing the native registration books.  Which means an occasion that was recorded within the authentic native register however was not copied to the copy registers in Dublin may be discovered on this assortment.  This can be a pay web site and never each county is totally represented.  It’s price investigating the extent of the collections for the county you have an interest in earlier than looking out this web site.  Nonetheless, in the event you do discover this web site holds related data on your analysis, you’ll discover that the search perform may be very consumer pleasant.  It’s doable to look the civil marriage data for all kids who married with a father named Edward Murphy or all O’Connor deaths that occurred within the townland of Cloncurry.  This web site is predominantly a group of church data and we are going to sort out the various search choices obtainable in a later submit on parish data.

The above are the principle web sites the place researchers can entry the data for civil registration for Eire.  After 1922 the data for Northern Eire had been saved individually and may be accessed on-line at GRONI: (Basic Register Workplace of Northern Eire)  the place you’ll discover all data regarding registration districts that turned Northern Eire from 1864 into the twentieth century, with pictures of births over 100 years outdated, marriages over 75 years outdated and deaths over 50 years outdated.

If you’re beginning to examine your Irish household historical past and your ancestor was born or married or died in Eire after 1864, you will have to analyze the data of civil registration.  The very best place to begin is with the 2 free web sites and

The place can I analysis my Irish household totally free?

The search engine at takes into consideration a far broader variant spelling of surnames and a search of the “Eire civil registration indexes 1845-1958” ought to offer you fairly a complete checklist of index entries (allowing for that late registrations and abroad and military registrations might be lacking from this assortment).  You’ll be able to then evaluate this discovering with the civil data listed for a similar search at   The rationale for that is that will solely checklist outcomes for a really particular spelling of a surname, with few variants.   See how the 2 lists evaluate to ensure you aren’t lacking delivery, marriage or dying entries on both web site.

For instance, the surname McDonagh is available in quite a few variants; MacDonagh, McDonough, McDonogh, MacDonugh, and so forth.  At chances are you’ll discover that solely these index entries for McDonagh and McDonogh seem, whereas at chances are you’ll discover different variants similar to MacDonough are additionally included.  Surnames with the prefix Mc and O’ may also be an issue at  In some circumstances chances are you’ll have to put an area between the prefix and the title, so Mc Donagh will flip up a special set of outcomes to McDonagh.  In some circumstances on each websites the names have been recorded as M’Donagh, making them more durable to search out.

Through the use of the 2 indexes each of that are free to look on-line, you’ll get most complete file of entries from the unique index, together with title variants.  All the time forged your internet as huge as doable; it’s simple to exclude folks out of your search because it progresses.

The one profit to the indexes at Discover My Previous IE and Ancestry UK are their marriage finders.  Each web sites establish brides and grooms that had been registered on the identical web page.  This could make it simpler to discover a related marriage.  Nonetheless, the marriages revealed on-line at from 1870 to 1941 file the bride and groom within the index entry, bypassing the necessity for the Ancestry and Discover My Previous marriage finder for marriages throughout this explicit interval.

The place can I discover Irish Civil Registration Data?

The data for civil registration are organised by Registration District.  A registration district is identical as a Poor Regulation Union.  It is because the dispensary docs of the poor legislation union had been normally the native registrars.   If you’re looking for ancestors in Eire it’s all the time useful to know their registration district, making it a lot simpler to establish related civil delivery, marriage and dying data.  Simply because your ancestor married in Co. Kilkenny, doesn’t imply that their marriage might be registered within the registration district known as Kilkenny.  Co. Kilkenny incorporates a number of different registration districts.  

Every county is made up of quite a lot of registration districts and Clare Santry has revealed an inventory of the districts for every county on her web site:

Every registration district is split into registrar’s districts, however the registrar’s district shouldn’t be used within the Basic Register workplace indexes. Nonetheless, it’s used on the web site so it might be useful to establish the registrars’ districts inside every registration district.

When you have a townland deal with for your loved ones or when you have recognized them within the 1901 or 1911 census in Eire, you could find the Union or Registration District during which they had been dwelling by checking the index of townlands or check out the enumerators return on the census, which is able to file the townland, civil parish, registration district and county. It’s also possible to use the place title search on John Grenham’s web site;  the place you’ll discover lists of all townlands in every poor legislation union (registration district) or you possibly can search by townland to establish the registration district during which it’s positioned.  This web site can even checklist the registrar’s districts inside every registration district or union.

Keep in mind that marriages normally occurred within the parish of the bride, so will most probably be registered in her residence registration district.  Deaths had been registered within the district the place the dying occurred.  For instance, I discovered a dying registration for a person who died on the aspect of the highway whereas travelling again from the market in Dundalk, Co. Louth, to his residence in Monaghan.  His dying was registered in Dundalk, the place he died, making him very tough to search out when his dying didn’t seem in his native registration district.

Though a townland deal with might have formally been positioned in a single registration district, the deal with might have been extra handy to a neighbouring district.  Should you don’t discover your ancestor within the district during which they need to have been registering occasions, it might be price making an attempt the neighbouring districts, even when they cross a county border.

It’s all the time price acquiring a duplicate of the unique registration.  Many revealed household timber on web sites like Ancestry merely comprise a reference to the index entry, confirming {that a} delivery or marriage was registered with the civil authorities.  The precise registration or certificates will comprise an awesome deal extra info and typically shocking clues, such because the title of an informant or an deal with or occupation, which can show useful to your analysis.  The truth that nearly all of these data are freely obtainable on-line signifies that there isn’t any excuse for not monitoring down the unique registration, if, in fact, the occasion was really registered.


Nicola Morris M.A.G.I is an expert genealogist and member of Accredited Genealogists Eire. She is the director of Timeline Research Ltd, considered one of Eire’s main genealogical analysis firms. Nicola has undertaken the Irish analysis for WDYTYA? in the UK and US and has appeared in quite a few episodes. She was additionally the presenter of the first collection of the Family tree Roadshow broadcast in Eire in 2011.

Look out for subsequent week’s submit, the place Nicola will discover Roman Catholic and Church of Eire parish registers, the place to search out them on-line and suggestions for getting the most effective out of the data.