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Irish Ancestry


Map of Ireland Civil Registration began in 1864 in Ireland compared with 1837 in England & Wales and 1855 in Scotland. This means that any births, marriages or deaths prior to 1864 will be recorded in the appropriate Church of Ireland, Catholic or other parish registers. As you might expect areas covered by different denominations vary wildly and also change over the years. This means that some searches can be protracted unless an exact parish of origin is known. This is the single biggest headache presented by the UK Census returns 1841-1901 in that in most cases Irish immigrants are noted as having originated from "Ireland" or "Co Mayo, Ireland" no specific parish given.


The first census of Ireland took place in 1821. However, unlike the rest of the UK almost all the census returns up until 1891 were destroyed either during the First World War or in the destruction of The Four Courts by fire in Dublin in 1922.

Some remnants of the pre 1891 censuses still exist but the census of 1901 is the first most complete census of Ireland that survives today. We also have access to the census returns of 1911.


Sovereign Ancestry Lincolnshire - Ireland image 1 for page


The 1901 census returns are available along with the 1911 and arranged by county, electoral division or ward and townland. If in a town or city then they are arranged by street. The poor law union, barony and parish are also noted on the forms. To use the census, you need to know where the person you are looking for was living in 1901. That is to say you need to know the town or city (or if in a rural area then the name of the townland).


Sovereign Ancestry Lincolnshire - Ireland Image 1The next step is to discover in which district electoral division the townland or town or city is situated. For this we need to consult the 1901 edition of the Alphabetical Index to the Townlands and Towns, Parishes and Baronies of Ireland which is available at the PRO Dublin. For Belfast there is a Street Index.


Almost all pre 1904 Probate records suffered the same fate as the Census returns in the fire of 1922. However limited searches can be undertaken.


We can access all of the above records along with many other useful genealogical sources such as the Tithe Applotment and Griffiths Valuations. These along with various other sources can help to bridge the gap created in 1922.


Research can be carried out in Dublin and Belfast as well as at localised heritage centres and libraries. All records being accessed locally by experienced researchers.