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"A Guide to Irish Parish Registers" is a comprehensive list of the surviving parish registers of all denominations on the island of Ireland.

The book is laid out alphabetically by county (e.g. Antrim, Armagh, Carlow, Cavan, etc.). Within each county the civil parishes are then listed alphabetically. The civil parish is the base line, from which to identify a relevant parish or congregation.

Each page contains a grid of seven columns. The first three columns record the reference number that corresponds to the entry in Mitchell’s Genealogical Atlas, the civil parish name and the reference number used in the county maps part of the householders’ index in Griffith’s Valuation. This allows you to identify the place on a map or in Griffith’s Valuation.

The remaining four columns list all surviving records by denomination: Roman Catholic; Church of Ireland (Episcopalian); Presbyterian; or other Dissenter. So for example, looking at the civil parish of Crumlin in Dublin, you can see that the Church of Ireland parish registers for St. Mary’s Crumlin start in 1740; the Roman Catholic parish in this district is Rathfarnham with registers from 1771; and the local Presbyterian meeting, Donore, has registers from 1860.

It is important to note, that even where records start in a given year – for example 1780 – this does not mean there is a complete run of records from this date, or that all registers survive.

The real strength of "The Guide to Irish Parish Registers" is that it can be used in conjunction with other genealogy sources. For example if you can identify an ancestor in Griffith’s Valuation, you will have a townland and civil parish name. Using this name, you can then identify the name of the corresponding Catholic, Episcopalian, Methodist, Presbyterian or other Dissenter church that your ancestors may have attended. It’s a neat way to avoid making the error of looking at the wrong parish records.

The Guide to Irish Parish Registers is an essential resource for those whose ancestors may have emigrated from Ireland before the commencement of civil registration of births, marriages and deaths in 1864 (1845 for non-Catholic marriages).

Read our review of Brian Mitchell’s "A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland" here.

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