Church records in Templeharry Church in Cloughjordan, Co. Offaly revealed Barack Obama's Irish ancestral rootsNiall Carson/PA

Once you have found the information on where your ancestor came from in Ireland, you can start looking at the Irish records.  If you want to carry out your own research, Irish records are slowly becoming available online or by CD-ROM. These include:

Civil Records (Birth, Marriage and Deaths)

Births, Marriages and Deaths were first registered in Ireland from 1864.  Before this, between April 1845 and 1863 only non-Catholic marriages in Ireland were registered. The Irish Civil Registration indexes are available to search online via the FamilySearch website.  Make a note of the references.  The following information is essential:

Full name(s) of the individual; Year; From 1878 onwards the annual quarter in which the event was registered (The 1st Quarter is January-March; the 2nd Quarter is April-June etc.); volume and page number;

You can then write to the General Register Office in Ireland at Government Offices, Convent Road, Roscommon, Republic of Ireland. Or you can get an Eneclann researcher to order and collect the record for you.

Census Returns

The National Archives of Ireland is currently digitising the 1901 and 1911 census returns.  In March 2009, four counties of the Irish 1911 census return were available to view online: Antrim, Down, Dublin and Kerry.  More records will be made available online as the project progresses. 

In addition, the Irish Origins website provides access to the 'Heads of Households' index to the Dublin City Census in 1851 which names 60,000 individuals.

Irish Origins also has the Dublin City Census 1901 (Rotunda Ward) which includes over 13,500 names and the religious census of Elphin (parts of Roscommon and Sligo), in 1749 which includes 20,000 names.

Directories

Commercial directories list shop-keepers, publicans, hotel and inn-keepers; artisan craftsmen and tradesmen; clergy of all denominations; many public servants and office-holders; most professionals; and gentry (large landholders) for the main cities, towns and villages and the rural districts in Ireland.   The other use of the commercial directories is that they can open a window on the past, as they provide a snap-shot of where people lived and worked. 

These directories are available on Irish Origins and are included in the general subscription fee.  Alternatively, it is possible to purchase a wide variety of directories on CD-rom from the Eneclann shop.  

Land Records

The only complete version of Griffith's Valuation is the version compiled by Eneclann and Origins in partnership with the National Library of Ireland.  This version of Griffith's Valuation is available online at Irish Origins and can be viewed under the terms of the general subscription.  For genealogists, Griffith's Valuation is the 'back-bone' to all Irish  research in the 1800s.

Memorials

Irish Origins provides access to over 8,000 names via its Memorials of the Dead - Galway & Mayo database, while Eneclann offers a Memorials of the Dead CD covering memorials for Wexford and Wicklow, large parts of South County Dublin, much of West Clare, as well as parts of Cork, Kildare, Galway and Sligo. 

Ireland's World War I memorial records is a publication available to purchase on CD-rom that includes the names of over 49,000 Irish servicemen (army, navy and airforce) that died in the 1914-18 war.

Parish Registers

Roman Catholic parish registers are only available to view on microfilm at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin.  Some Church of Ireland registers may be ordered through your local LDS branch to view on microfilm. 

Some information from parish registers has been transcribed by local heritage centres and can be viewed online at http://www.irish-roots.ie/pay-per-view.asp

The following records are available on CD-rom:

  • Farrar's Index of marriage entries in Walker's Hibernian Magazine 1771-1812
  • The Registers of St. Patrick, Dublin (1677-1800) The Register of Derry Cathedral (1642-1703)
  • Registers of the French Church of Portarlington (1694-1816)
  • Registers of the French Non-Conformist Churches Dublin (1701-1831)

Passenger Lists

Irish Origins lists over 193,000 names in its British and Irish Passenger Lists, 1890.  They also have a Transatlantic Migration database dating from 1858-1870 that contains over 42,000 names.

Wills

These are housed in the National Archives, but you can view the Index of Irish Wills (1484-1858) on Irish Origins.  The following have also been published on CD-rom:

  • Sir Arthur Vicars, Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland, 1536-1810
  • World War 1 Irish Soldiers: Their Final Testament