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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)



( Taking the first steps in tracing your Irish Ancestors )

Starting Genealogy

Society of Genealogists Information Leaflet No. 9

This is a very good in depth document that all researchers should read when starting out for the first time researching their Family History .


If you are new to Irish Genealogy or even if you have been at it awhile, there are online articles written by certified genealogists that can give you some ideas on Irish research. So, if you have not done some reading on the topic and feel you need to get some more background, I would suggest you try looking at the "Learn" section of Ancestry". You can't beat it for the money (it is free).

In the search box type in IRELAND (or whatever you are interested in). Then if you find articles by certain authors that you like and want to read more about by that person, just type in their last name. You will then pull up what they have written. Sherry Irvine has written about Irish and English research for instance, so you could put her name in. I like the general research articles done by Patricia Law Hatcher so I put Hatcher in to see what she has written.

If you wish to print out any articles there is a button on the left that says "Printer Friendly" so you don't have to print out the extraneous Ancestry "stuff".

The above is courtesy of Christina Hunt


Probably the most important book for anyone researching their Irish Ancestors is the Second Edition of John Grenham's highly acclaimed book called 'Tracing Your Irish Ancestors'.  This has to be the most comprehensive book on the subject of Irish Research on the market at this time and one which should be on all researchers bookshelves.



The Irish Census for 1861,1871,1881,1891 were destroyed by order of the (then British) government. The census returns for 1813,1821,1831,1841 and 1851 were destroyed in the explosion and fire of 1922. As the census of 1841 and 1851 were used to prove ones age when old age pension was introduced in 1908 there are about 80,000 odd records from those censuses remaining. Bits and pieces of all census remain but are just a drop in the ocean.

Events prior to 1864 would require a search of church records.

Ireland has a long history in losing records by fire or other ramp.

1300's - a fire broke out in the begin of 1300's in the abbey were the records were stored.

1500's - the records were been sold or stolen from Dublin castle.

1750's - part of Dublin Castle burned down, the part containing the records.

1867 - they built a Public Record Office. This consisted of 2 buildings. One contained a public reading room and a search room. The other was one large room of 140 feet long, 50 feet high and 80 feet wide. For nearly 55 years they filled the record treasury.

1st April 1922 - it was handed over to the Provisional Government. Just over a week later it was taken over by Irish Irregular Forces. They used the record treasury as a bomb making factory. In June the Provisional Government decided to retake the PRO with borrowed British cannon. Shortly after noon on a fine June day during an attack, 2 large mines exploded in the record treasury and that was the end of 7 centuries records.

I am sure that there are many that will agree and others will disagree but this is the story as we know it.

(Supplied by Liam from Northern Ireland on 20 Oct 2000)

Someone once asked the following question: "Does some kind soul have the time/energy/inclination to explain how I could start looking for my Irish great-grandfather?"

We hope that the following information will answer this question and help you get started in the search for your long lost Irish ancestors.

The following information was supplied courtesy of Ellen Naliboff who very kindly allowed me to reprint her work.

"Registration of non-Catholic marriages began in 1845 in Ireland. Registration of births, marriages and deaths, regardless of religion, began January 1, 1864. Certificates for births, marriages and deaths for all of Ireland until 1922 and for the Republic since 1922 are housed in Dublin. Belfast has the records for Northern Ireland from 1922 to present in addition to the all Ireland records from 1864-1922.

Civil registration of births, deaths and marriages in Ireland names the townland that is the address in rural Ireland. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Mormons, has copies of almost all of the General Register Office indices and some registers, making direct access to both registers and indices possible through the local Family History Centres.

You can do-it-yourself at the local Family History Centres because the FHL has acquired Irish civil registration records.

Visit the LDS FAMILY HISTORY CENTRE page (or what to do before you visit your local LDS)

There are Family History Centres scattered throughout the world, located in the LDS meeting-houses. The FHCs are generally listed in the local phonebook under Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints with its own phone number. Or, go to  In some communities, Family Search is in the local public library. No charge is made for using the resources at the local FHC except for a rental fee for microfilm from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. Birth certificates include the date and place of birth; the name; the sex; the name, surname and residence of the father; the name, surname, maiden surname of the mother; the rank, profession or occupation of the father; and the name and qualifications of the informant, usually a family member. A given name was not obligatory, so some entries are Kelly, Male or Clarke, Female.

The FHLC holds  microfilm copies of the Birth Index 1864-1955;

Records 1864-1881 and 1900-1955 (note the gaps 1882-1899 and 1913-1930 in the FHLC). Some pages are missing from 1869: p. 49-50 (gap between Carroll, John, of Dungannon  and Carvill, James Richard, of Limerick; and all pages following Thompson, Elenor Jane, of Belfast).

If you search the Index and can identify your target, note the name, district, volume and page. Then, determine the appropriate FHLC microfilm number. You may then complete the "Request to Photocopy" following the instructions to the letter and mail it with a cheque for $2.00. In addition, some parts of the early years of birth registrations appear to be included in the International Genealogical Index".

Foreign applications: Fees are payable in Irish Punt currency, Draft I.E.P. or Euro cheque or bank drafts drawn on an Irish Bank, made payable to the "Registrar General". Sterling cheques, Postal Orders, US$ cheques are accepted. The minimum amount for a cheque drawn on a non-Irish bank is 12.70 Euro.  I bundle my requests so that I meet the minimum fee.

Births, Death and Roman Catholic marriages certificates are available from:

Apply for Certificates

Fees for Certificates

(Check here for:) Postage RATES from Ireland

This link will get the Currency Exchange Rate for the day as it is changing weekly:

How to Order Birth, Marriage & Death Certificates

The Irish Genealogical Research Society

The Irish Genealogical Research Society ( ) a learned society and was founded in 1936 in the Office of the York Herald, London. It aims to promote and encourage the study of Irish genealogy and to collect books and manuscripts of genealogical value.

International Genealogical Index (IGI)

A worldwide index of over 200 million names created by the Church of Jesus Christ Latter Day Saints (Mormons), it is available on microfiche (1982, 1988 and 1992 editions) and CD-Rom (Family Search). The British Isles is divided into England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, and then by county. Most British entries are baptism and marriages from parish registers from the 1530s to the late 19th century.

It is now also available as a very popular website, Family Search.

The IGI records the names and relationships of dead people who have either been extracted from official records or have been submitted by a church (LDS) member for Temple Ordinances. You need to check the "Source" to determine which type of submitter. If it is an individual it is NOT verified. If it is extracted from official records, you can look at the microfilm yourself as the FHLC number is included. The early Civil Register of Births in Ireland has been included in the IGI.


The National Library of Scotland offers photocopies of old OS (Ordnance Survey) maps of places in Ireland.

They are 6" = 1 mile scale on A2  size sheets for 1.15 each. <> Contact them:

(Please note this information has yet to be verified)

General Register Office (Northern Ireland)
Births and Deaths for 6 counties of NI since 1864
Marriages for Northern Ireland since 1922


  • 1820s/30s Tithe books

  • 1832-37 Belfast Poll Book, PRONI D.2472

  • 1833-39 Emigrants from Co. Antrim. Brian Mitchell, Irish Emigration Lists

  • 1833-39, Baltimore, 1989

  • Irish Emigrants in North America (Parts I, II, & III) by David Dobson 941.5 W2dd

  • Ulster Genealogical & Historical Guild's Subscribers' Interest Lists, 941.6 D25wL and supplements

  • Ireland: 1841 / 1851 Census Abstracts (Northern Ireland), Josephine Masterson

Suppliers of the above information: Ellen Naliboff, Christina Hunt Jim McNamara & Liam from Northern Ireland


Here are a few books you may want to consider having on your book shelf:

 by David Hey (A complete guide to uncovering your past).  CN3785 1996 Edition.
By David Hey ISBN 0-19-869177-7  Published in 1993.
 Fifth revised edition by Amanda Bevan ISBN 1 873162 61 8 Reprinted in 1999.

(These books can be purchased from )

There is also a very good magazine called 'Family Tree Magazine'  Well worth a look. You can subscribe on line.  This magazine specialises in tracing ancestors in England Wales and Scotland.

(The above info is Copyright 2000 Ellen Naliboff. All rights reserved).

The information contained in these pages is provided solely for  the purpose of sharing with others researching their ancestors in Ireland.
2001 County Carlow Genealogy IGP