- Be flexible in all searches.
- Information such as age and occupation can vary between census returns.
- Cross checking with the census data, using known family names, occupations and place of residence will help you to establish whether a census record may be relevant.
- Names may have been recorded in the Irish language in 1901 or 1911.
- People made errors when they filled out the forms.
There are two complete sets of census returns currently available, in 1901 and 1911.
A census was undertaken in Ireland from 1821 onwards from which statistical data and reports were complied. The census returns for 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851 were, by and large, lost in the fire at the Public Record Office, the Four Courts, Dublin during the Irish Civil War in 1922. Surviving returns are now searchable on the National Archives website (www.census.nationalarchives.ie). The census returns for 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891 were destroyed by the State.
Please check the Online Sources list for each county to see what is available for each county on this website.
Microfilmed copies of the 1901 and 1911 are held by most County Libraries in Ireland. The National Archives website (www.census.nationalarchives.ie) includes the 1901 and 1911 returns.
Please note that there are areas that have not been included in that index.
A computerized index of the 1901 and some 1911 returns was compiled by many of our member centres in the early 1990s. Some counties have completed an index of 1901 only, while others have fragmentary census data from earlier returns. You will need to check what is available in the Online Sources list for each county.
The index was compiled by household and includes the householder and the occupants of the house on the day the census was taken. If a member of the family was not present on the day of the census, they will not be included in the household. However, they may be located in another household where they were working as a servant, for example, or visiting relatives.
The index also includes the age, religion, occupation and place of birth of each individual, and their relationship to the head of the household.
The record will also include the territorial divisions used, including townland or street, town, the civil parish and the District Electoral Division (DED).
We do not have digitised images of the original household returns. See a Sample Census transcription here.
You can search our census index using SURNAME, FIRST NAME, AGE, YEAR, PARISH and DED. As the Parish and DED do not always match up you should search using either one, not both.
Members of the R.I.C. (police force) and inmates in workhouses and asylums were recorded by initials only. However, you will be able to search for the known members of the R.I.C. members’ family if they were married.
Please note that it is common for discrepancies in age to be thrown up by the census returns; for example, you may find that a person’s age can be four, five or more years out of line with baptismal, birth or marriage records that you have already located, or between one census return and another.