Births, Marriages & Deaths: Civil Records

The Office of the Registrar General (GRO) holds records for births, marriages and deaths from 1864 onwards, which is when registration was introduced.

Registration of non-Roman Catholic marriages began earlier, in 1845, and these records are here too.

The Office have a research room in Dublin (see map below), where you can search the indices of birth, marriage, death and adoptions entries yourself.

The GRO does not have an online database, but many individuals and organisations have published partial information from their records which are available.

None of these resources are exhaustive, and are not a replacement for searching the official civil records. But they are at least available online and you may be lucky enough to find some useful information at one or other of them. There are some links to get you started below.

Main image: Irish graveyard by quinnums

There is no way to pre-book time in the the research room, it is very small, and space is allocated a first come, first served basis. It’s not uncommon to have a long wait or even be turned away due to lack of space – so arrive at the office early (map below), especially in peak seasons.

When planning to search for records in the Office of the Registrar General, bear the following points in mind:

  • The place of birth will be the Registration District, which will correspond to a Poor Law Union.
  • There is a daily search fee of €20.00 for searching at the Registrar’s office, which is reduced to €2 if you know to within 5 years the records you need to search – so it pays to do some prior reseach.
  • Only the indexes to the register are available to the public. If you find what you want, a full record must be requested and an additional fee of €10 per record is payable.

The original copies of the records in the Office of the Registrar General are still held in local registrars offices and can also be searched there, though not all registrars allow access. If they do, and you know the region you need and can get there, it will almost invariably be much quicker than searching in the main office.

Civil Records: Northern Ireland

In Northern Ireland records are held in the Public Records Office, which relocated in 2011 to a new building in the Titanic Quarter (see map below). You must register and be issued with a pass before you can search the records. This is free, but you will need to bring photographic proof of identity – a passport or drivers license.

The office holds indexes of records from areas that are now part of Northern Ireland, some of which are available online.

Civil Records Online

The number one link is the Irish Family History Foundation website, which has an extensive database of births, marriages and deaths. Free registration is required.

The following may also be useful:

Marriage Records

  • Connaught:
    Counties Galway, Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon, and Sligo.
  • Leinster:
    Counties Carlow, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Longford, Louth, Meath, Offaly, Westmeath, Wexford, and Wicklow.
  • Munster
    Counties Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick, Tipperary, and Waterford.
  • Ulster
    Counties Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Derry (Londonderry), Donegal, Down, Fermanagh, Monaghan, and Tyrone.

Death Records

Map and Directions to Research Rooms

Click map markers for walking or driving directions.

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Article updated: March 31, 2017

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