Ireland Record Loss

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There was a great deal of destruction of the major Irish genealogical record sources typically used for research. An explosion and fire in the Public Record Office in Dublin in 1922 destroyed many records. Additional records were destroyed by the government.

The following records have been destroyed:

  • Two-thirds of The Church of Ireland original parish registers of baptisms, marriages and burials.
  • Most pre-1858 and many post-1858 to 1922 Ireland probate records of wills and administrations. Indexes survive.
  • Marriage bonds and allegation. Indexes survive.
  • Census returns for 1813, 1821, 1831/4, 1841, 1851, 1861, 1871, 1881, and 1891. Fragments survive.
  • Coupled with government oppression of the Roman Catholic Church record keeping practices, this loss has resulted in only one in seven, 14%, pre-1800 churches with extant parish registers.


Substitute Records[edit | edit source]

Although many records were lost in the 1922 fire, other records can be used to supplement the information lost. Prior to the destruction of the records, many noted antiquarians and researchers made copies and abstracts of the records. Staff at the Public Records Office, Dublin made a wide appeal to these antiquarians and legal officers to acquire copies of the records. These efforts resulted in a collection of over 20,000 copies of wills deposited in the record office.

  • Betham Genealogical Abstracts - abstracts of genealogical records collected by Sir William Betham. Useful substitute to records lost in the 1922 Public Record Office fire in Dublin.
  • Crossle Genealogical Abstracts - abstracts of genealogical records collected by Dr. Francis Crossle
  • Thrift Genealogical Abstracts - abstracts of genealogical records collected by Gertrude Thrift. Records include wills, parish registers, freeman lists, and pedigree charts. Records date as far back as the 16th century.