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Irish Civil Records                                                                       Now Online  Irish Census Records 1901 &1911
Census Records Ireland    Birth Records    Marriage Records    Death Records     Irish Burial Records

Birth, Death and Marriage in Ireland

UPDATE!!  Baptism, Marriage and Death Records are now available online at 
Irish Family History Foundation

In 1864, registration of deaths, births and marriages became compulsory in Ireland for the first time.  Each county has its own original records and copies are kept in Joyce House in Dublin for public use. The records are the responsibility of the various Health Boards and access to the originals is usually at the discretion of  the County Registrars.  They have to take into account the disruption to their own staff, the usually limited amount of space, and the damage that might be caused to the 140 year old books. Fortunately, the records are currently being computerised.  There are no plans to provide public access to the records, but the registrar's office will always accept inquiries and do whatever searches they can within reason and subject to a fee.  They will advise the numbers and addresses of the various County Registrar's offices. Unfortunately, official cemetery records were not kept during the 19th century but some historical societies and some individuals have painstakingly recorded the names in their local graveyards. These will be available at the County Libraries. 

UPDATE!!  Baptism and Death Records are nowavailable online at Irish Family History Foundation!!

When researching these Irish records, do be aware that sometimes things will not be as you expect them to be.  An ancestor may have been born outside of marriage, a name may have been changed, and it's possible that the birth may have taken place in another Electoral Division. A death is always registered where the death took place and not where the person was living. So, if the person for whose death record you are searching was sent to a hospital outside the electoral area for treatment in his/her last days, the death record will be at that place. Second marriages were not uncommon - remember, you may be dealing with a time when life-expectancy was not what it is now. Many mothers died during child-birth, and fathers died in accidents in an unregulated workplace, through illnesses, etc. However, the majority were born, married, and died peacefully within their own areas and the records should prove fruitful.  

The General Register Office in Dublin is at 8 - 11 Lombard Street, Dublin 2.  The telephone number is 01 6711000.  There you will find (among others):


1.    Registers of all Births registered in the whole of Ireland from 1st January, 1864, to 31 December, 1921, and in Ireland (excluding the six north-eastern counties of Derry, Antrim, Down, Armagh, Fermanagh and Tyrone know as Northern Ireland) from that date.

2.    Registers of all Deaths registered in the whole of Ireland from 1st January, 1864 , to 31st December 1921 , and in Ireland (excluding Northern Ireland ) from that date.

3.    Registers of all Marriages registered in the whole of Ireland from 1st April 1845 , to 31st December 1863 , except those celebrated by the Roman Catholic clergy.

4.    Registers of all Marriages registered in the whole of Ireland from 1st January, 1864 , to 31st December, 1921 , and in Ireland (excluding Northern Ireland ) from that date.

11.  Adopted Children Register – legal adoptions registered in the Republic of Ireland on or after 10th July, 1953 .

5.    Registers of Births at Sea of children, one of whose parents was Irish, registered from 1st January, 1864 , to 31st December, 1921 .  Register of Births at Sea of Children one of whose parents was born in the Republic of Ireland , registered after 1921.

6.    Register of Deaths at Sea of Irish-born persons, registered from 1st January, 1864, to 31st December, 1921, and after 1921 of Irish born persons other than those born in Northern Ireland.

7.    Registers of Births of children of Irish parents, certified by British Consuls abroad, from 1st January, 1864 to 31st December, 1921 .

8.    Registers of Deaths


Birth Records: When you find your ancestor's birth record, you will gain lots of information. You will have the date of birth, the place of birth, the baby's first name, the father's name and place of residence and occupation, the mother's maiden name, the informant's name, informant's place of residence and relationship to baby. Assuming that mothers had babies over a twenty year period, and assuming that you don't know the mother's age, it is always worth checking twenty years before and twenty years after that baby's record. It's probably not worth continuing this part of the search if you find a great gap of years in either direction. But, as long as you are finding babies, keep on searching for babies born to those parents. You'd be surprised how many times this strategy turns up great uncles/aunts that were previously unknown.
Marriage Records: As Catholic marriages almost always took place in a Catholic Church, the Church at which the marriage took place is recorded on the marriage register. Here you will also find the date, names of bride and groom, their ages, their marital status (single or widowed), occupation, place of residence, names of fathers, occupations of fathers, witnesses, priest's name.  Quite a lot of information from one small entry in a book. If this is the first record you come across, you will now know mother's age, therefore her year of birth. Find her birth certificate and discover her mother's maiden name. Soon you'll be jumping from book to book, crosschecking, confirming, and making great discoveries. You might also make a mistake or two, but don't worry.  Everyone makes mistakes!

In some counties, separate books must be consulted if researching Protestant marriages. These separate books are usually kept at the Registrar's office.

UPDATE!!  Baptism and Death Records are nowavailable online at 
Irish Family History Foundation!!

Death Records: The information in the death register is as follows. Name of deceased,  date of death, place of death, marital status, age, occupation, cause of death, name of informant, informant's relationship to deceased, informant's place of residence.   There will be a coroner's name when the death has been due to other than natural causes. 


Burial Records
Unfortunately the Irish Burial records are hit or miss and were not written into legislation when the birth, death and marriage records became compulsory in 1864.  In modern times, the cemeteries in Ireland are either in the care of the Enviroment section of County Councils or the local Catholic Church.  Local undertakers can sometimes be of help as they will have had prior searches done for families of deceased people. Use Ireland's 'Golden Pages' or just Google.  Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Quaker, Methodist etc. would probably be under the care of the local church.  Also check at local museums.  There is nearly always a local histoian who can help out if officialdom cannot.  Many cemeteries of all denominations have had their headstones recorded in recent years and may be online.

Census of Ireland: 1901 & 1911        NOW ONLINE!!   www.census.nationalarchives.ie/ 

Irish Census Records

While it is understandable to be disheartened at the loss of the 19th century census returns in the blowing up of the Four Courts building in Dublin during the Civil War of 1922, we must make the most of things and be thankful that the census returns for 1901 and 1911 survived.  As the years move on and the next generation of family researchers comes along, these records are becoming more and more valuable. There is a one hundred year rule on the censuses but because of the Civil War there is no 1921 census.  There is a petition that we encourage you to sign to have the 1926 census released earlier than under the one hundred year rule.!!  1926 Census Petition 

The census returns are usually available at the County Libraries or Heritage Centres on microfilm.  For a modest fee you can print from the reader machines, but sometimes you have to take the information down by hand. This can slow down the process if you are doing several searches.  Fortunately, most County Libraries have printing facilities. The information given below covers the 1901 cenus forms.  There is a slight difference in the 1911 forms as they ask for additional information: the number of children born to this couple, the number of children still living, and the number of years married.  

The 1901 and 1911 census are now available online and are a wonderful resource.   

Remember, there are two forms (see below) to look at when doing Census research.  Don't forget to check them both! Form B.1 is the House and Building Returns while form A is the form with the family information.

Clogheen History and images  This is a link for Clogheen in County Tipperary


Form for Search of a Census Return from National Archives (Census Now Online)!!!!

Information on Census Form A

Name of Head of Household

Each family member and all other residents in the house that night including servants and visitors.

Relationship of each person to Head of Family 

Religious profession

Education.  Read and Write? Read only?  Neither?



Rank, Profession or Occupation

Married, Widowed or Single

Where born?

Irish language? Read and write or speak only?

Deaf and dumb?


Information on Census Form B1

House and Building Returns

Name of Head of Household

Description of house including number of outbuildings (sheds and barns)

Composition of walls and roof (stone or thatch)

Number of rooms

Number of front windows

Page number which corresponds to number on Form A




Irish Census Records
Irish Civil Records
Births marriages in Ireland
Death Records Ireland




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