- Before the civil registration of death began in 1864 there are only gravestone inscriptions, or small amounts of parish death or burial records.
- Gravestone information may be inaccurate as the stone may have been erected many years after the deaths by relatives relying on memory.
- A Church of Ireland graveyard can contain various religious denominations, as all parishioners had right of burial in the parish churchyard while the Church of Ireland was the Established (or State) Church.
- Families who survived on a small income, such as agricultural labourers, are unlikely to have erected inscribed gravestones.
Gravestone inscriptions can be a useful source of family history information. If many family members are buried in the same grave the inscription will often give information on all that are buried there. Gravestones may give birth, marriage, and death information. They may also give clues about military service and occupation, or family members buried in the same area. Sometimes they give more information than the parish burial register or civil certificate of death. Gravestone inscriptions are especially helpful for identifying ancestors who are not recorded in other existing records.
A lot of local effort has been made to transcribe the gravestones in each county. However, the amount of data available varies from county to county so you will need to check the Online Sources list for the relevant county to see what is available on this website.
It is also worth consulting local libraries and searching online as this work is ongoing in many counties. Many of the Local Studies departments of county libraries in Ireland hold transcriptions done locally, registers of grave purchases, and registry books.
The Journals of the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead (1888-1934) contain a large amount of inscriptions. Many of these gravestones are no longer visible due to weathering.
Commonwealth War Graves
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s website contains all known World War I and World War II graves or monuments worldwide for those casualties from the British Army or the various Commonwealth forces. It is searchable at www.cwgc.org