The third and final installment of our posts on genealogical resources.
If you are researching the period before civil registration started, your only source is the Parish registers. You do need to know in what County and Parish your ancestor(s) lived. If you don’t know, a good starting point is to look at where your family lived in the Census, as a lot of families would continue to live in a Parish for many generations.
Most Parish Registers only started round 1830, and for many counties even decades later. Also, over time, many have been lost. You should also consider that errors – both in the original entry and in transcription – are not uncommon. Names were also often misspelled: priests would write down what they thought the name was and many of the parishioners could not check it as many could not read or write.
The three main sources for the Parish records are:
- Irish Genealogy which is a free Irish government website. You should always check which registers are available before you start your search, as for some areas none are.
- Roots Ireland. This is a paid site. You should always check which registers are available before you start your search, as for some areas none are. This database contains also some Church of Ireland registers. Not many of these survived as most were destroyed in 1922.
- National Library Ireland. This is a free site, that provides digitised copies of the Parish registers. Baptismal registers are also available at Ancestry and Find My Past.
For Northern Ireland, you should check their guide first. You can then head to PRONI for their catalogue.