Ireland Research Guidance: Birth 1619-1863

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For births 1864-present, click here.

Search Strategy[edit | edit source]

The following records may help you find a record of your Irish ancestor's birth between 1619 and 1863.  Search them in the order given.

1. Church Records: Church records[edit | edit source]

Church records are the prime source of vital information in this time period. Church records include the christenings or baptisms, marriages and burials recorded in registers by church officials at the time of an event. Christening records may state the name of the child, christening date, names of parents, place of residence of the family, and the occupation of the father. Sometimes the child's birth date and mother's maiden name are recorded. Church officials also kept minutes of their meetings which sometimes record birth information for a child.

When researching church records in Ireland, it is helpful to know the religion of your ancestral family. 

Read more about Ireland Church Records.

2. Census Substitutes: Census[edit | edit source]

Census substitutes are lists of individuals in a specific place at a given time. When ages are included in the record, they can provide a calculated year of birth. Various lists have been compiled by church and civil authorities to determine such things as the religious makeup of the population, an assessment of military readiness, the number and identity of eligible voters, or those persons receiving charity from the church or government. Due to the loss of many government census records, census substitutes are especially valuable.

Read more about Ireland Census Substitutes.

3. Census: Census[edit | edit source]

A census is a count and description of the population. Government census records are especially valuable because they list the majority of the population and are available at many repositories. In these records you may find names of the members of a household, gender, and each person's religion, marital status, relationship to the head of the household, age, address, occupation, and county of birth. Though many Irish census records have been destroyed, those that survive can provide clues that may lead you to other records.

Read more about Ireland Census.

4. Newspapers: Births, Marriages, & Deaths[edit | edit source]

Records of births are included in newspapers for more prominent families, particularly members of the clergy. Unusual occurrences regarding births such as multiple births or unusual locations that are deemed newsworthy may be included. Search the British Newspaper Archives $

Read more about Ireland Newspapers.

5. Monumental Inscriptions: Cemeteries[edit | edit source]

Gravestone or monumental inscriptions can be a useful source of family history information. Sometimes, multiple family members are buried in the same vault or burial plot and the inscription will give information on all that are buried there. Inscriptions may give birth, marriage, and death information. They may also give clues about military service and occupation, or family members buried in the same area. Sometimes they give more information than the parish burial register or civil certificate of death. Monumental inscriptions are especially helpful for identifying ancestors who are not recorded in other existing records, and may give a birth date that cannot be found elsewhere.

Read more about Ireland Cemeteries.