- Try to establish the religious denomination of your ancestor.
- Make sure that records exist for the time and place you wish to search.
- Start with a specific search and if it does not yield results, widen it.
Parish registers of all denominations are an excellent source of genealogical research as they contain baptisms, marriages and sometimes deaths/burials for all classes of the population.
They also pre-date the introduction of civil registration in Ireland in 1864 in most cases.
Original registers are kept in the individual parishes. The records on this website were compiled from these locally held registers in the majority of cases.
The start dates of the recording of baptisms and marriages can vary widely from parish to parish. You will need to check what exists and what is available to search online. The registers can be difficult to decipher; names and addresses were not standardized; it may not be possible to find a complete family in one parish as sometimes families move between parishes and adjacent counties.
Many of the Catholic parishes in Ireland and Northern Ireland up to 1880 are online and can be used in conjunction with the index on this website. The website at registers.nli.ie contains images from the NLI’s collection of Catholic parish register microfilms. This website contains an index and transcriptions of the majority of the Irish Catholic parish registers. As our index was mainly compiled using the parish registers held in the local parishes there will be differences between what we hold and what may be on other websites. There are records on this site that are not on the National Library’s Parish Registers site. The National Library may also have some parish registers that are not on this site.
We have provided a link to the relevant microfilmed Catholic parish register which can be found at the bottom of a record transcript if there is a match. This link will bring you to the relevant parish register of baptism or marriage. It will not bring you to the page on which the record was originally entered.
The microfilmed parish registers are not complete; they cover the period up to 1880/81, whereas the records on www.rootsireland.ie go to at least 1899. You should check the Online Sources lists to see exactly what has been made available on www.rootsireland.ie by each participating county genealogy centre. However, if you are searching in the period post-1880 the transcripts available on www.rootsireland.ie cover the majority of the counties in Ireland.
There are parish registers on this site that have never been microfilmed; likewise not every parish register has been transcribed by our county genealogy centres. We are continuing to index records and regular updates are made to our website.
The Irish Family History Foundation has been the coordinating body for a network of county genealogy centres and family history societies on the island of Ireland for over thirty years. The genealogy centres’ databases include various denominations of church records of baptisms, marriages and deaths/burials, census returns/substitutes, and gravestone inscriptions.
New records will be added as the computerisation of sources continues in the local genealogy centres.
Church of Ireland
The Church of Ireland, as the Established Church, had a more regular system of recording entries, using formatted books long before its Catholic counterpart, making its registers easier to research.
Many Church of Ireland registers were destroyed in the fire at the Public Record Office, the Four Courts, Dublin during the Irish Civil War in 1922. Surviving parish registers are held locally by the rector whose permission must be sought to consult them, or they are in the RCB (Representative Church Body) Library.