Most Recent Genealogy Records for Ireland
Below is a list and discription of the most recent genealogy records for Ireland (see list of most recent records for other countries). Many of these records can be searched using our free Genealogy Search Engine.
2013 April to June
National – The National Archives of Ireland has made a substantial addition to their genealogical collection with the release of a new database called Calendars of Wills and Administrations 1858-1920. Basically, the database contains an index of wills and associated letters of administration in Ireland.
The database can be searched by county, the name of the deceased person, the names of executors and the names of beneficiaries. The index varies somewhat depending on the year of the record. A typical entry (see image below) lists the name, address and occupation of the deceased, along with the date of death, the date and place of probate, the names and addresses of the executors, beneficiaries of the will (and their relationship to the deceased) and the financial size of the estate. This is an extremely useful resource for anyone tracing their Irish ancestors online. Access is free. [Historic Irish Wills]
These calendars cover all of Ireland up to 1917. Since 1918, wills and probate from the six counties of Northern Ireland are searchable on the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). [Northern Ireland Wills]
National – Trinity College has created an interactive website that brings together a collection of 17th century maps of Ireland. Known as the Down Survey of Ireland, these maps were created from 1656 to 1658 during the time of Oliver Cromwell. It was the first detailed land survey of all of Ireland. The survey was carried out primarily to measure the estates of Catholic landowners (in a bid to forfeit the estates to transfer ownership to Protestants). As the website points out, in order to transfer land, it first had to be accurately surveyed and mapped.
The website has two major components. The first are digitized images of all the surviving Down Survey maps. These maps go down to the parish level. The second part of the website marries these historic maps along with the 1659 census results and Google maps to provide an overlay of historical information onto modern maps. It is worth spending some time looking through this website and understanding how it works. Access is free. [Ireland Down Survey Maps]
North Cork – The website Historic Graves has put online photographs of the inscriptions from 14 graveyards in Duhallow, in the North Cork region. Some very nice aerial photographs of the graveyards were also posted on the website. To use this resource, you have to know which cemetery contained your ancestor and then look through the photographs. To assist in the process, Historic Graves has created what is known as a word clout that lists the family names of all the people buried in each cemetery. The larger the word appears in the word cloud the more people have that family name in the cemetery. Access is free. [Duhallow Cemetery Records]
2013 January to March
Northern Ireland – The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) will be releasing revision books to the Griffith’s Primary Valuation of Ireland next Wednesday 27 March 2013. The original Griffith Valuation books were essentially land record books that measured the value of all property for taxation purposes. The original books were created between 1847 and 1864 for the various counties in Ireland. They provide detailed records of who owned what land. Annual revision books were then created in subsequent years to show changes in land ownership. It is these revision books that are going online for the first time. The revision books were created right up until the 1930s, although it is not clear exactly which books will be released on the 27th. The good news is that access to these records will be free. [Griffith Valuation Revision Books]
Ireland – The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) has launched a new website called IrishAncestors. At the moment, the website provides details on all the resources available from IGRS, including a members’ area and the latest news. There is also an interesting free database on early Irish marriages that contains some 21,000 marriages (listed under Resources). [IrishAncestors]
Laois – The Genealogical Society of Ireland has made progress on indexing a large collection of solicitor documents dating back to the 1830s from County Laois (formally Queens County). This collection contains many things of interest to genealogists, such as deeds and estate rentals (which list the tenants of an estate). The index is arranged in a large pdf document. Access is Free. [ County Laois Historic Land Records Background and Index]
Dublin – The Dublin City Library has released the city electoral roll for 1908. This list has some 46,000 registered voters. The requirements to vote in 1908 were minimum age (21 for men, 30 for women) and proof of occupancy (freeholder, leaseholder, occupier or lodger). Electoral rolls can provide a wealth of interesting genealogy information. If you are unfamiliar with electoral rolls, see the article Searching Electoral Rolls for Ancestors. Access to the Dublin electoral rolls is free. [Dublin Electoral Rolls]
National – MilitaryArchives.ie has updated their 1922 Irish Army Census database. It is now searchable by name (first and last), location and age. The database contains 33,210 records. A typical record lists the name of the soldier, where they were stationed, their division, home address, age, marital status, religion, name and address of next of kin (typically a father or mother) and the place and date of attestation (when and where they signed up for the military). The image below shows a typical record. Access is free. [1922 Irish Army Census Records]
Roscommon – FindMyPast Ireland has added the baptismal and marriage registers for the Roman Catholic parish of Kiltullagh, which sits on the Roscommon/Mayo border. Some 11,500 records are in this collection. Access is by subscription. [Kiltullagh Baptism and Marriage Records]
Ireland – FindMyPast Ireland has put online an additional 2.1 million records from Irish Petty Session order books. These are essentially lower court records that cover all but the most serious civil and criminal cases. For example, it could be a court record that covers something such as a trespass charge. Most records are fairly comprehensive and typically list the name of the complainant, the name of the defendant, names of witnesses, cause of complaint, details on the judgement, details of any fines and details of any sentence. This latest addition spans the years 1850 to 1912 and involves records from the counties of Cavan, Clare, Donegal, Dublin, Galway, Kilkenny, Louth, Roscommon, Sligo, Tipperary and Waterford. Access is by subscription. [Irish Petty Session Records]
Ireland – FindMyPast Ireland has launched an index of Irish birth, marriage and death (BMD) records. The collection comes primarily from the Index to the Civil Registration and spans the years from the 1840s to the 1950s. Please note this is an index to the records, it is not the full record itself. Once a name has been found in the index, the volume and page reference number needs to be noted. Then it is possible to order the full record from the General Register Office. This BMD index consists of some 21 million names. Until the end of January 2013, the FindMyPast Ireland website is offering 50 free credits by entering the code “FMPIEBMD” (it usually costs about 5 credits to view one record). Normally access is by subscription/credit. [Irish Birth Marriage Death Index]
Northern Ireland – The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has re-launched their collection of 29 city (or street) directories in a new database. These directories cover the period from 1819 to 1900 and typically list the name, occupation and address of the person. Most of the directories are for Belfast and region. In total, this database covers some 20,000 pages, which represents roughly 1 million names. The new database can be searched by keywords (such as a name), by specific city directory and by year. It is very well done. Access is free. [Historic Belfast City Directories]
2012 October to December
Northern Ireland – Effective 17 December 2012, future deaths in Northern Ireland will now record the names of the parents of the deceased person. Until now, only the date and place of death was recorded. This change is a result of many years of lobby by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organizations (CIGO). The change is not retroactive and does not affect existing death records - it only affects future death records. More details can be found at CIGO’s website [Council of Irish Genealogical Organizations]
National – Jennifer Hearn is a student at Coventry University. As part of a university project, she is collecting family history stories on Barnardo homes in Ireland.
By way of background, Barnardo homes were orphanages and children’s homes found throughout the United Kingdom. They were established and run by Thomas John Barnardo from 1870 until his death in 1905. The homes continued to expand and by 1933 there were more than 8,000 children living in 188 Barnardo homes across the UK. It is estimated that at least 100,000 children were taken in and given a better life thanks to Dr. Barnardo. Some of the children from Barnardo homes were sent to Canada as “home children” (up to 1939) and to Australia (up to 1967). The last traditional Barnardo home closed in 1989.
If you have a family history story on Barnardo homes in Ireland that you would like to contribute, please contact Jennifer Hearn through her blog. [Barnardo Homes Ireland Stories]
National – FindMyPast Ireland has added two Irish church directories to its collection. The additions are the 1836 and 1837 editions of the Catholic Registry, Directory and Almanac. These books list all the members of the Catholic clergy for those years. Access is by subscription. [Irish Catholic Clergy Directories]
National – The National Archives of Ireland has created a special website specifically devoted to genealogy. The website contains a wealth of useful records for anyone tracing their Irish ancestors. Included are the 1901 and 1911 census records, tithe applotment books from 1823 to 1837 and soldier’s wills from 1914 to 1917. Eventually, the website is expected to contain all the genealogy records in the custody of the Irish National Archives. Please note there are many incorrect entries, locations, names and spellings in the tithe entries. These are being corrected over time. Access is free. [Irish National Archives Genealogy Website]
Wicklow – The Church of Ireland has put online parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials for the parish of Delgany (Glendalough) and vicinity in North Wicklow. The records (together with an index of names) span the years 1666 to 1900. Access is free. The complete Delgany parish registers can also be conveniently downloaded as a pdf. This is a wonderful resource. [Delgany Parish Records]
Dublin – FindMyPast.ie has put online Byrne’s Irish Times Abstracts (1859 to 1901). This collection is particularly valuable for anyone who had ancestors from Dublin and surrounding areas as it is essentially a collection of extracts from the Irish Times newspaper that would be of interest to genealogists. This would include such things as birth, marriage and death announcements, articles on accidents, social activities and law cases. Also included is some information on various properties (including in some cases the names of occupants). This collection contains about 200,000 records. Access is by subscription. [Byrne’s Irish Times Abstracts]
National – Origins.net has added a substantial number of Irish directories to its website. The latest addition is the complete run of the annual Thom’s Irish Almanac and Official Directory from 1844 to 1870. In the coming months, Origins.net will also be adding the 1871 to 1900 Thom’s directories. This is a substantial collection for anyone with Irish ancestors. Directories are a useful resource for genealogists in any country. In Ireland, they are particularly valuable because of the general lack of genealogy records in the country and the destruction of the Irish Public Records Office in 1922. Access to this collection is by subscription. [Thom’s Irish Almanac and Official Directory]
2012 July to September
National – GenealogyInTime Magazine has added 400 million new records to their two free search engines. The Genealogy Search Engine (which covers ancestral records) now searches an additional 100 million more records, while the Family Tree Search Engine (which covers genealogy forums and online family trees) searches approximately 300 million more records.
In total, the two search engines now cover 5.7 billion records across more than 1,000 different websites (split between the Genealogy Search Engine covering 1.9 billion records and the Family Tree Search Engine covering 3.8 billion records – there is no overlap of records between the two search engines).
GenealogyInTime Magazine now receives over 40,000 queries per month for the two search engines. This makes them one of the most popular alternatives to the FamilySearch website for people wanting to look for free ancestral records. Significant holdings exist for the United States, Canada, England/Wales, Scotland, Ireland, Continental Europe, Australia and New Zealand with minor holdings for the Caribbean, South America and South Africa.
Some of the highlights of the latest addition to the Genealogy Search Engine include:
• 55 million new records for the United States and 6 million new records for Canada. These are primarily ancestral records held in digital archives of public libraries and universities across North America. Many of these new records are historic photographs.
• 23 million new records for England, Ireland and Scotland. These are primarily twentieth century obituaries.
• 14 million new records for Europe. These are primarily birth/marriage/death records from Central and Eastern Europe.
• 2 million more ship passenger records.
In this latest release, the search routines for both search engines have also been strengthened to provide better results. In addition, the number of returned records for a search query has been increased from 8 pages to 10 pages. Finally, results are delivered even faster than before.
Access to both search engines is free and the underlying records are also free. [Genealogy Search Engine] [Family Tree Search Engine] GenealogyInTime Magazine also has a number of genealogy articles to help you become better at online genealogy searches.
GenealogyInTime Magazine is the world’s most popular online genealogy magazine. It is also now the fifth largest free genealogy website in the world (according to Alexa, the internet traffic people, the largest free genealogy websites in order are FamilySearch, Find A Grave, Geni, GeneaNet and GenealogyInTime Magazine).
National – FamilySearch.org has added 3.1 million Irish prison register records. These records were produced in cooperation with FindMyPast Ireland and span the years 1790 to 1924 for all 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland. A typical record includes the following information: name, age, place of birth and county. Access is free. [Historic Irish Prison Register Records]
2012 April to June
Belfast – The Belfast city cemetery website continues to add burial records for the city cemeteries. About 350,000 records are now in the database. A typical record lists the name, last place of residence, age, sex, date of death, date of burial, cemetery, grave section and number and the type of burial (cremation or earth burial). It is free to search the records. A modest charge applies to see an image of the actual burial record. [Belfast Burial Records]
National – FindMyPast Ireland has released the third tranche of Irish Petty Session Court records. These are court records for minor offenses such as trespass and drunkenness. This latest addition contains 2 million records and covers the years 1850 to 1910. The counties Limerick, Louth, Mayo, Monaghan, Tipperary and Wexford are included this time. Access is by subscription. [Irish Petty Session Court Records]
National – RootsIreland (the non-profit website created by the Irish Family History Foundation) has recently added 65,000 gravestone inscriptions from the Irish World Heritage Centre for parishes in County Tyrone and County Fermanagh. RootsIreland continues to grow rapidly and now has over 19 million records online. Access is by pay-per-view. [Irish Gravestone Inscriptions]
Armagh – The Lurgan Ancestry Project is a website devoted to genealogy for the town of Lurgan in County Armagh in Northern Ireland. The website contains a great collection of free genealogy records for Lurgan and the surrounding area. Included are birth, marriage, death records, Griffith’s land valuation records, trade directories, gravestones, photographs, old newspaper articles, etc. This website is definitely worth checking out if you have ancestors from County Armagh. Access is free. [Lurgan Genealogy Records]
National – The genealogy website From Ireland has posted an amazing collection of about 14,500 photographs of Irish gravestones, making it one of the largest Irish gravestone photograph collections. The collection is arranged in albums by county. The main counties covered are Kilkenny (4,600 images) and Laois (6,800 images), with additional images from Clare, Cork, Kerry, Kildare, Limerick and Offaly. The images have been transcribed and are searchable. Access is free. Thanks to Dr. Jane Lyon for putting this collection online. [Irish Gravestone Images]
National – The Lensmen Press and Public Relations Photographic Agency has put online their massive archive of 2.6 million pictures of Ireland. In addition to the usual street scenes and photographs of famous events, this collection also contains a number of weddings photos, communions and family portraits, all of which are useful to genealogists. The archive can be searched by keyword, date range and location. Even if you are not looking for specific family images, this is a fun website to browse. It is generally free to search and view the images. There is a charge to make prints. [Irish Photo Archive]
2012 January to March
Dublin – Ancestry.co.uk has created a new collection of Dublin probate records and a Dublin marriage license record index covering the years 1270 to 1858. This collection was built from extracts from wills, letters of administration, acts of probate, marriage licences etc. within the Diocese of Dublin. About 115,000 records are in the collection. Access is by subscription. [Dublin Probate Records]
National - The Council of Irish Genealogical Organizations (CIGO) has informed us that they have been successful in their long campaign for the early release of the 1926 Irish census. Current Irish law requires an embargo holding period of 100 years on census data, meaning the 1926 census would normally be released in 2026. However, the government has agreed in principle to allow the 1926 census to be digitized this year once the enabling legislation has been passed. The new legislation to allow the early release of the 1926 census is expected to be enacted by June or July of this year. Allowing a few months for digitization and the 1926 Irish census should be available in late 2012.
Prior to the 1926 census, the previous available Irish census is from 1911. In the 15 years between the 1911 census and the 1926 census, Ireland underwent a profound change. First there was World War I followed by the 1916 Uprising and the Irish War of Independance. Then in 1922 came formal partition and the creation of the Republic of Ireland. The 1926 census was the first census compiled under the new republic.
The 1926 Irish census provides a wealth of information, as shown in the example below. The key information collected included name, relationship to head of the household, marital status, language, religion, profession, age (in years and months), town of birth, name and address of employer, length of time married (answered by both men and women), number of children in the marriage, list of all children under the age of 16 and a notation if one or both parents are deceased.
This is huge news for anyone with Irish ancestors! For more information, please see the CIGO website.
National – FindMyPast Ireland has released a collection called the Petty Sessions Order Books 1850 to 1910. Basically, these are transcribed records of low court cases dealing with petty legal acts, both civil and criminal. The top five offenses were drunkenness (33% of cases), tax offences (21% of cases), assault (16% of cases), acts of nuisance (5% of cases) and destruction of property (4% of cases). These records provide an interesting window into Irish society in the 1800s. For example, the rate of conviction for drunkenness was three times greater in Ireland than England at the time and the rate for tax offences was four times greater. In total, this collection spans some 1.2 million court cases. A typical record lists the name of the complainant, name of the defendant, names of witnesses, cause of complaint, the judgement and the details of any fine. This new collection complements the collection of Irish prison records that FindMyPast Ireland released in the fall of 2011. Access is by subscription. [Historic Irish Petty Court Cases]
National – The website for the National Archives of Ireland has been redesigned to make it easier to navigate and more intuitive to understand. The new website also comes with expanded guides for people wanting to trace their Irish ancestors. The big news, however, is that the online search function appears to have been significantly strengthened. Users can perform simple searches, advanced searches and even expert searches. This allows for more precise full-text search for any word in the database. Most of the records on the Irish National Archives website cover records from various Irish government departments from the twentieth century. Therefore, check this website to see if your ancestors had some interaction with the Irish government during this time period. Access is free. [National Archives of Ireland Database Search]
Dublin– FindMyPast Ireland has launched a new record set called the Freemen of Dublin City 1774-1824. It lists 6,000 tradesmen and craftsmen as well as makers of specialty products such as furniture, silver, clocks, etc. The tradesmen list comes from a book that was prepared for publication but was never issued. Each records gives the name of the tradesmen and how they were admitted to the trade (B= birth, passed down from the father; S=service, completed an apprenticeship program; GE= grace especial, by recommendation; Gratis = admitted without paying fees) Access is by subscription. [Historic Dublin Tradesmen Records]
National – Genealogybank has announced that one of their US newspapers called Irish American has a considerable number of announcements regarding Irish marriage and death notices. The newspaper announcements date mainly from 1849 to 1914. Irish American was a New York City newspaper that catered to recent Irish immigrants. Although this newspaper did not capture every marriage and death in Ireland, it apparently did capture an extensive number of them. This lead might be worth following up if you are having trouble finding a marriage or death certificate of an Irish ancestor from 1849 to 1914. Access is by subscription. [Historic Irish Marriage and Death Newspaper Announcements]
National – Ireland’s military archives have gone online for the first time on a new website called Military Archives. The website was launched in conjunction with the National Archives of Ireland. It will be the “place of deposit” for the records of the Irish Department of Defence, the Defence Forces and the Army Pensions Board. The website is planning a phased release of military records. Already online is a collection of maps, plans and drawings of military installations throughout the island of Ireland. Next up will be the Bureau of Military History Collection, which covers the period 1913 to 1921. This collection is expected to be online by March. It is composed of 36,000 pages of witness statements, photographs, letters, legal documents, etc. from the period. Access is free. [Irish Military Archives]
Galway – FindMyPast Ireland has put online the Clonfert diocese collection of wills, administrations and marriage records. It covers the period from 1663 to 1857 for 38 civil parishes in the east of County Galway, parts of County Roscommon and a bit of County Offaly. The original bonds were destroyed in the Public Record Office fire in 1922; all that survives is this index. The wills index lists the name and address of the deceased and the year in which the administration was granted. The marriage license bonds list the name of the intended bride and bridegroom and the year of the bond. Access is by subscription. [Clonfert Wills and Administrations]
2011 October to December
National – Glasnevin Trust has been honoured by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organizations for putting online 1.5 million burial records dating from 1828 to the present day. The records include Ireland’s largest cemetery, Glasnevin (officially known as Prospect Cemetery) plus four other cemeteries (Dardistown, Goldenbridge, Newlands Cross and Palmerston) and two crematoria (Glasnevin and Newlands Cross). The records also include scanned images of the burial registers themselves. Access is by pay-per-record with a free preview. [Glasnevin Burial Records]
National – FindMyPast.ie has put online an interesting collection of Irish prison records. Specifically, these are the Irish Prison Registers covering the period 1790 to 1924. The collection spans some 2.7 million records on 3.5 million people. This is the first time this record set has gone online and it should be particularly valuable for anyone tracing their Irish ancestors. The population of Ireland was about 4 million during this time period. Thus, you have a pretty good chance of finding at least one ancestor in this collection.
The odds are further increased by the fact that in Ireland, the number one cause for incarceration was drunkenness, which tends to bridge across families and different socio-economic groups. According to FindMyPast, drunkeness and tax avoidance occurred at three times the rate in Ireland than in Britain and Scotland at that time. As well, some records list the victim as well as the perpetrator, making the record set even more valuable. The breakdown by offense was drunkenness 25%, theft 16%, assault 12%, vagrancy 8% and rioting 4%. Other common offenses were prostitution, obscene language, begging, trespass and workhouse offenses.
Prison record sets generally provide much more detail than most other sources of genealogical information and this record set is no different. A typical record in this collection lists name, address, place of birth, occupation, religion, education, age, physical description and name and address of next of kin as well as details on the crime committed, sentence, date of committal and date of release. This is also a good record source to search if you are in Australia as many Irish convicted of petty crimes were transported from private prisons in Ireland directly to Australia. Access is by subscription. [Historic Irish Prison Registers]
National – The Ireland Genealogy Project has updated its collection to include the 1845 Royal Irish Constabulary records for Derry/Londonderry, Kerry, Kildare, Kilkenny, Limerick, Longford and Offaly. Most Irish families tended to stay in one location for several generations, but men who belonged to the Royal Irish Constabulary were often posted far from home. As a result, this record collection could be a valuable resource for anyone who finds their ancestors suddenly moved to another part of Ireland. Access is free. To get started, simply click on the map of the region of Ireland that you want to research. [1845 Royal Irish Constabulary Records]
Waterford – Roots Ireland has added over 534,000 baptism and birth records for Waterford. This brings the total number of records on the site to over 18 million, making it the largest family records database in Ireland. [Waterford Baptism Records]
National – IrishGenealogy, the Irish government’s genealogy website, has added more Roman Catholic Church records for Carlow, Cork, Dublin and Kerry. This now completes the collection for these regions (some 3 million records). These are primarily baptism, marriage and burial records. As well, the website has been spruced up. We like the scrolling bar at the bottom of the page that directs readers to other websites containing Irish genealogy records. Access is free. [Dublin Baptism Records]
2011 July to September
Dublin – FindMyPast has put online baptism, marriage and death records for St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin. The records span the years 1677 to 1800. Although a small collection at around 12,000 records and composed primarily of burial records, it does list the death records of some of Dublin’s most prominent citizens. According to FindMyPast “the reason burial records far outweigh marriage and baptism records is solely down to the fact that St. Patrick’s Cathedral was situated in an unfashionable area and would not have been seen as the venue of choice for celebrations such as a christening or marriage”. Access is by subscription. [Dublin’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral Burial Records]
National – Ancestry.co.uk has launched a massive new Irish genealogy records collection. With the new additions, they now have over 45 million Irish genealogy records. Ireland is a challenging country to trace ancestors because many of the individual census records were destroyed. For most genealogists, census records are the bedrock of their search for ancestors. However, this new collection from Ancestry should seriously help the cause of anyone looking for Irish ancestors.
There are two main parts to this new collection: Irish Catholic parish records (1742 to 1884) and Irish civil birth marriage death (BMD) records (1845 to 1978). Two things to note:
• According to the 1861 Irish census, about 78% of the population was Catholic. This number had risen to 89% by the 1891 census. Thus, even if you think your ancestors were not Catholic, the Irish Catholic parish records are well worth checking along with the civil BMD registration records.
• Ireland was partitioned into Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland in 1921. According to Chris Paton at the excellent new blog British Genes, the Ancestry civil registration records are incomplete for Northern Ireland after 1921.
Readers might be interested in knowing this Ancestry release has not gone over well with the Irish government. As reported in the Irish Times, the Irish National Library has questioned the release of a small portion of the Ancestry collection as possibly infringing on the library’s rights. Reading between the lines, it would appear the National Library would have liked to be the one to release its parish record collection to the public. However, it seems to lack the financial resources to transcribe and prepare the records for publication on the internet. Finally, please note this collection overlaps to a certain degree with what is already available on FamilySearch.
Overall, an excellent collection and worth checking out. Access is by subscription. Just be warned that people have been reporting on the Ancestry blog comment section that some of the parish records are mixed up. [Irish Birth Marriage Death Records]
Kerry – The Kerry County Council has put online the burial records from 140 cemeteries in the district that the council either owns or controls (church and private cemeteries are not included in this collection). In total there are some 70,000 records in the database. The records date back as far as 1898. A typical entry lists the name, age, marital status, occupation and cause of death. At this time, it is not possible to search across the entire database by name. Name searches can only be done on individual cemeteries, meaning that you need to know the name of the cemetery where your ancestor was buried or be prepared to individually search through many different cemeteries. Access is free. [Historic Kerry Ireland Cemetery Records]
National – The National Centre for Geocomputation has created two new atlases that will be of interest to anyone with Irish ancestors. The first interactive atlas looks at how the Irish population has changed from 1841 to 2002 based on returns from various censuses. There is data within all 32 counties right down to the electoral division level (often less than 1,000 people). Simply chose the county and then the electoral division and you can see how the population in each small region has changed over time. Large spikes usually mean a major event (such as a potato famine) has forced a number of people from the region to migrate. This site won’t help you directly find your ancestor, but it will help provide context as to why and when your ancestor migrated. The second interactive atlas looks specifically at the period 1841 to 1851 during the time of the Irish famines. Once again, it can provide helpful context for your ancestral searches. This site can also help you determine the electoral division boundaries for the 3,400+ electoral divisions within Ireland. Access is free. [Interactive Historic Irish Population Atlases]
Northern Ireland – The Belfast Telegraph newspaper has put online a collection of historic images from County Kilkenny. The collection of over 6,000 photographs, political prints and portraits also contain old family photos and landscape images. The collection can be searched by keyword. The images are available for sale. [Historic County Kilkenny Images]
2011 April to June
Northern Ireland – Eddies Extracts continues to add new birth, marriage and death extracts from various newspapers, church records and other sources from Belfast. This excellent website is well worth checking out if you have ancestors from around the Belfast region. Access is free. [Historic Belfast Genealogy Records]
National – A new website called Ireland Genealogy (formerly pensear.org) allows you to search through historic Irish Pension Records by surname. These records predate the 1901 Irish census. Although these records are currently held at the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), many of these records are not indexed by surname. Thus, this website can save you time and effort. There is no cost to search but there is a fee to see the full record [Historic Irish Pension Records]. We should point out that the PRONI website is fully searchable using our free genealogy search engine. Before paying for a record of your ancestor, you might want to run the search through our search engine. Simply append “site: proni.gov.uk” to you search term to limit your search results to the PRONI website. If you need more help on this, please refer to our article A Guide to Performing Genealogy Searches.
National – FindMyPast has teamed up with Eneclann, an Irish research house, to start a new website called FindMyPast Ireland. It is similar to the FindMyPast website except, of course, it has Irish records. Records range from land and estate records, Griffith’s Valuation of Ireland, various directories, military and rebellion records, migration records and wills that go back as far as the 13th century. Although the website does not give an exact number, it appears to have millions of records. This is certainly going to be a popular website for anyone with Irish ancestors. Access is by subscription. [FindMyPast Ireland] Before putting down money for a subscription, you might want to check to see how many of the records on this website are already in the public domain. Our free genealogy search engine can access about 20.5 million free Irish genealogy records.
Northern Ireland – Queen’s University, Belfast has created a virtual library on the history of Irish migration. In addition to many government papers, the website contains two databases of interest to genealogists: the Irish Emigration database and the Voices of Migration and Return database. The Irish Emigration database already contains more than 33,000 records from various sources, including letters, diaries and newspaper adverts. The Voices of Migration and Return database contains 90 life interviews conducted with migrants from the Ulster region. The databases can be searched by keyword and document type. Access is free. [Documenting Ireland: Parliament, People and Migration]
2011 January to March
National – This is a preannouncement. The newly-elected government of Ireland has stated that they intend to allow the early release of the 1926 Irish census. This may take some time to actually happen, however, as the early release of the 1926 census would require amending the Irish Statistics Act 1993, which governs the census process. As it is currently written, section 35 of the Act states that details of the census (i.e. individual records) cannot be released to the public until 100 years after the date of the census. In other words, the new Irish government may move up the normal release date of the 1926 census from 2026 to either this year or next. If this happens, it will be a huge help for anyone with Irish ancestors.
Dublin – The Guinness Brewery at St. James Gate in Dublin has put online historical employee records from the brewery spanning the period from 1759 to the present. Some 20,000 individual employee files have gone online, which represents about 80% of all employees who worked at the historic brewery. A typical file lists the employee’s name, date of birth, date of death, employee ID number, date joined the brewery, date left, occupation and department that the employee worked. Access is free. [Historic Guinness Brewery Employee Records]
Belfast – Belfast City Council has put online 360,000 burial records from three city cemeteries. The records are from Belfast City Cemetery (from 1869 onwards), Roselawn Cemetery (from 1954 onwards) and Dundonald Cemetery (from 1905 onwards). Each record contains the following information: full name, age, sex, last place of residence, date of death, date of burial, grave section and number and type of burial (in ground or cremation). Access is free. [Historic Belfast Cemetery Records]
National – The Heritage Council of Ireland has just funded and launched a major new web portal called the Irish Archives Resource. It enables researchers to locate archival collections in Ireland that are relevant to their research. The intent of the site is to essentially act like a giant card catalogue for anyone doing ancestral work on Ireland. A search function allows users to pull up the relevant collections. A detailed listing is provided for each collection along with instructions on how to access the collection either online (if available) or physically at a public location in Ireland. Many of the major city and county archives in Ireland have already contributed to the website and much of it would be of interest to anyone with ancestors from Ireland. For example, try searching using terms such as ‘deeds’ ‘wills’, etc. This site looks like it will quickly become a must-stop for genealogists. Access is free. [Irish Archives Portal]
Northern Ireland – The Public Records of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has begun to put historic photographs online through Flickr, the free photo-sharing website. The first batch of images is 15,000 pictures taken by a photographic studio in Armagh from 1900 to 1952. The pictures will be uploaded to Flickr in stages over the next couple of weeks. Many of the images are wedding and family group photos. The collection can be searched by family name. This is a good resource to check if you have ancestors from County Armagh. Access is free. [Historic Armagh Photographs]
Northern Ireland – The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has just released another batch of new genealogy records online. The latest batch includes probate registries (mainly wills) for the district of Armagh, Belfast and Londonderry. Access is free. [Northern Ireland Historic Probate Records] The records from this site can also be searched using our free Genealogy Search Engine.
National – The website Irish Genealogy continues to add more Catholic church records to their website. The most recent update includes church records for Dublin City, Carlow, Cork and Kerry. Access is free. [Historic Irish Church Records] This is a wonderful site that can also be searched using our free Genealogy Search Engine.
2010 October to December
Dublin – Glasnevin Cemetery in Dublin has put online burial records that go back as far as 1828, which predates the official opening of the cemetery in 1832. Officially known as Prospect Cemetery, it is the largest nondenominational cemetery in Ireland and contains an estimated 1.2 million burials. Both Protestant and Catholics are buried in this cemetery and this record set is an excellent place to look if you have ancestors from Dublin. There is a cost to look at records on this site. [Glasnevin Cemetery Burial Records]. Alternatively, Internment.net has some of the same burial records for free and these records can be searched using the free Genealogy Search Engine.
National – The Irish Newspaper Archives, which maintains the world’s largest online database of Irish newspapers, has expanded their list of newspapers that can now be searched for free, although it still requires a subscription to read the underlying article. Included in the 21 free newspapers is the Irish Independent (1905-2001), Anglo-Celt (1846-2010), Freemans Journal (1763-1924) and the Southern Star (1892-2010). [free Historic Irish Newspapers]
Dublin – The Dublin City Library & Archive has updated their graveyards directory. Although the site does not contain individual burial records, it does cover all the graveyards in the Dublin area and lists locations (with maps), hours of operation, location of cemetery records and links to various transcripts. Access is free. [Dublin Graveyard Directory]
Ulster – Thousands of eyewitness accounts from the bloody Catholic uprising of 1641 have been transcribed and put online for the first time. Up to 12,000 Protestant settlers are thought to have died in the uprising, which eventually led to Oliver Cromwell`s brutal conquest of Ireland in 1649. The uprising (mainly centered around Ulster) ultimately resulted in half the land owned by Irish Catholics being confiscated and given to Protestants from Britain. The land redistribution was based on the 5,000 sworn statements given by the eyewitnesses in this collection, making it a valuable resource for genealogists. Access is free. [1641 Irish Depositions]
2010 July to September
National – The website Ask About Ireland has put online the records from the Primary Valuation of Ireland, also known as the Griffith’s Valuation (after Sir Richard Griffith who directed the survey effort). These records are country-wide surveys of property owners and households taken between 1848 to 1864 (each county was surveyed at a different time).
The purpose of the survey was to assess the rental value of privately held land to determine the amount of tax each household should pay to support the poor as part of the Poor Law Union legislation. Griffith’s Valuation serves as a useful census proxy in the absence of Irish census records that were destroyed prior to 1901. Access is free. This will be a very valuable record set for anyone with Irish ancestors. [Griffith’s Valuation, also known as the Primary Valuation of Ireland]
National – Ordinance Survey Ireland has updated and expanded their online map collection. The maps range from 1830 to the present and the new site is designed to assist people in finding their Irish ancestor. The website was rebuilt following the recent online launch of the 1901 Irish census. The interactive maps on this website help genealogists focus on specific regions of the country. There is a cost to purchase maps of local areas. This site, however, has the most extensive collection of online Irish maps. [Historic Irish Maps 1830 to Present]
2010 April to June
National – Irish Genealogy has added many new records to its site. The new records include pre-1900 birth, marriage and death (burial) records from the Church of Ireland for the city of Dublin and dioceses of Ardfert and Leighlin as well as Cork and Ross. The site has a total of 1.3 million records available to view free of charge, with about 700,000 records from Dublin City and 600,000 records from Kerry. The site can be searched by person, location and date. Wildcards can be used. For O’Surname enter as O Surname. [Church of Ireland Parish Records]
National – Here is some big news for people with Irish ancestry. The National Archives of Ireland has announced that they will be launching the 1901 Ireland census sometime in the next two weeks (before 3 June 2010) . All 32 counties will be available at once, unlike the 1911 Ireland census, which was rolled out in phases. Access is expected to be free. [1901 Ireland Census]
2010 January to March
National – The National Library of Ireland has expanded its photographic archive with an additional 12,000 images. This brings the total size of its historical photos collection to about 34,000 images. The pictures cover all aspects of Irish life from 1860 to 1954. Access is free. [Historic Irish Photo Archive]
Ulster – Witness statements taken after the Irish rebellion and massacres of 1641 have now been put online. The 31 handwritten volumes on 19,000 pages have alternately been viewed as the world’s first war crimes investigation or a blatant attempt at political propaganda. What is known is that the 350-year event poisoned Anglo-Irish relations for centuries. Even as late as the 1930’s the Irish government attempted to block publication of the depositions.
This website is very well laid out and the depositions are fully indexed. The witness statements can be searched by first name, last name and county. Access is free. This website is worth looking at even if you have no Irish ancestry just because it should serve as a model of how a really good genealogy record website should be laid out. It is even more impressive given that the records are 350-years old. [1641 Irish Rebellion Witness Statements]
Ireland – Ancestry is offering free access to the Ireland Famine Relief Commission Papers 1845-1847. This was a difficult period in Ireland’s history marked by starvation, death and mass emigration. The cause was the failure of the potato crops. The Ancestry collection is made up of 60,000 images of original documents, letters and studies. It will be of interest to anyone who has Irish ancestry. Access is free but you have to register by giving your email address. [Ireland Famine Relief Commission Papers 1845-1847]
2009 October to December
National: The Irish National Archives has launched a new collection of 70 historic Irish maps dating from 1558 to 1610. This spans the period of time when the English were colonizing Ireland. These colorful and fascinating maps were often used as a tool by English colonists who were claiming land ownership from native Irish residents. The maps were also used by the English government to inform and influence government policy. The time period also coincides with the rise of mapmaking as a profession and many of the maps show amazing and colorful details such as rabbits and other woodland creatures. For anyone with Irish ancestry, these maps are definitely worth looking at. Access is free. [Historic Irish Maps 1558-1610]
2009 July to September
National: The National Archives in Dublin has put online the 1911 Ireland census. We think these genealogy records are the most important to go online this year. This is the last all-Ireland census before partition and one of only two surviving all-Ireland censuses (the other is the 1901 census, which is not yet online). The first national Ireland census was taken in 1821 with additional censuses every 10 years afterwards. Unfortunately, the 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851 Ireland censues were destroyed during the Civil War. The 1861, 1871, 1881 and 1891 censuses were ordered destroyed by the government during the First World War. It is generally though these censuses were pulped to feed a severe paper shortage caused by the war. All that remain are the 1901 and 1911 Ireland censuses, making these genealogy records extremely valuable. As well, the Irish government has gone out of their way to create a website that is well thought out, fully searchable and totally free. Each person in the 1911 census is listed by Christian name, surname, relation to head of the family, education, age, occupation, marital status and the person's ability to speak Irish. Access is free. [Ireland 1911 Census Records]
National: Library and Archives Canada and the National Archives of Ireland have begun to put the 1901 and 1911 censuses of Ireland online. More records from these two censuses will become available throughout 2009. Access is free. [Free Ireland 1901 and 1911 Census Records]