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Irish Civil Records

Civil Records began in Ireland in 1845, when non-Catholic marriages were required by law to be entered into registries. Since 1864, all births, deaths and marriages have been registered in Ireland. The registry of civil records was, in fact, an offshoot of the Victorian public health system, in turn based on the Poor Law, an attempt to provide some measure of relief for the most destitute. Between 1838 and 1852 some 163 workhouse were built throughout Ireland and each one was at the centre of an area known as a Poor Law Union. The workhouses were normally built in large market towns and the Poor Law Union comprised of the town and its catchment area, with the result that the unions in many cases ignored the existing boundaries of parish and county.

In the 1850's a public health system was created based on areas covered by the Poor Law Unions. Each Union was divided into Dispensary Districts, with an average of six to seven districts per union. When the registration of all births, deaths and marriages began in 1864, these dispensary districts also became registrar's districts, with the registrar responsible for collecting the registrations within their particular district.

Information Given in Irish Civil Records

One of the peculiarities of the system of civil registration is that. although the local registrar was responsible for the registers themselves, the legal obligation ro register births, deaths and marriages actually rested with the public, and was enforced with hefty fines. The classes of people required to carry out registration in each of the three categories is given in what follows, along with a detailed account og the Information they were required to supply. It should be remembered that not all of this information is relevant to genealogical research.

Irish Civil Records: Births

Persons required to register births were: The parent or parents, or in a case of death or inability of the parent or parents, the occupier of the house or tenement in which the child was born, or the nurse, or any person present at the birth of the child.

The information required was:

  • The date and place of birth
  • The child's name
  • The sex
  • The name, surname and dwelling place of the father;
  • The name, surname, maiden surname, and dwelling place of the mother;
  • The rank, profession or occupation of the father
  • Irish Civil Records: Deaths

    Persons required to register deaths were: A person present at death or sone person in attendance during the last illness of the deceased or the occupier of the house or tenement where the death took place ot someone else residing in the house or tenement where the death too place or any person present at, or having knowledge of the circumstances of the death.

    The information required was:

    • The date and place of death
    • The name and surname of the deceased
    • The sex of the deceased
    • The condition of the deceased as to marriage;
    • The age of the deceased at last birthday;
    • The rank, profession or occupation of the deceased
    • The certified cause of death, and the duration of the final illness

    Irish Civil Records: Marriages

    From 1864, any person whose marriage was to be celebrated by a Catholic clergyman was required to have the clergyman fill out a certificate containing the information that is detailed in the bullet points below, and forward it within three days of the marriage to the registrar. In practice, as had already been the case for non-Catholic marriages from 1845, the clergyman simply kept blank copies of these certificates, filled them in after the ceremony, and forwarded then to the registrar.

    The information required was:

    • The date when married
    • The names and surnames of each of the parties marrying
    • Their ages
    • Their condition (i.e. bachelor, spinster, widow, widower)
    • Their rank, profession or occupation;
    • Their residences at the time of marriage;
    • The name and surname of the fathers of each of the parties;
    • The rank, profession or occupation of the fathers of each of the parties.
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    Genealogical Research of the Irish Civil Records

    From a genealogical point of view, only the following information can be deemed of genuine interest;

    • Irish Civil Births: the name, date of birth, place of birth, the name, surname and dwelling place of the father, the name, surname and dwelling place of the mother, and occasionally, the name, residence and qualification of the informant.
    • Irish Civil Deaths : place of death, age at death and occasionally, the name, residence and qualification of the informant.
    • Irish Civil Marriages : parish in which the marriage took place, names and surnames of the bride, groom, witnesses, and fathers, ages, residences and occupations of the persons marrying, occupations of fathers and and occasionally, the name, residence and qualification of the informant.

    Of the three categories, the most useful is probably the civil marriage entry, both because it provide fathers' names, thus giving a direct link to the preceding generation, and because it's the easiest to identify correctly from the indexes without precise information abut date place.

    Major Sources of Irish Ancestry

    Church Records Land Records Directories
    Registry of Deeds Wills Emigration Records
    Newspapers

    Genealogy Sources for each Irish County

    Antrim Armagh Carlow Cavan
    Clare Cork Derry (Londonderry) Donegal
    Down Dublin Fermanagh Galway
    Kerry Kildare Kilkenny Laois
    Leitrim Limerick Longford Louth
    Mayo Meath Monaghan Offaly
    Roscommon Sligo Tipperary Tyrone
    Waterford Westmeath Wexford Wicklow

     

    PRELIMINARY IRISH GENEALOGY RESEARCH NOW REDUCED

    Our Preliminary Research has been reduced by 65%

    Was £130 Now £49.99

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