Civil Registration Information & Districts

In The Republic of Ireland, The General Register Office (Oifig An Ard-Chláraitheora) is the central civil repository for records relating to births, stillbirths, deaths, marriages, civil partnerships and adoptions.

1845 was the first year in which marriages (i.e. non-Roman Catholic marriages) were registered in Ireland. Registration officially began 1 April 1845. During the period from April to December 1845, 6,114 marriages were registered. Of these marriages, 4,118 were sanctified by the rites of the Established Church,  that is The Church of Ireland, 1,586 couples were wed in Presbyterian Meeting Houses and 348 marriage vows were made before Registrars of Marriages.

In 1863, legislation known as the ‘Registration of Births and Deaths Act of 1863’ established the legal requirement that the births and deaths of all Irish born persons be registered with the government. The act was amended on 28 July 1863, via a private member's bill in Parliament, to include all marriages as well. The civil registration of these life events officially began 1 January 1864.

All Irish were legally compelled to register these life events, and were subject to fines if they failed to do so; however, this does not mean that everyone followed the law. Sometimes registrations were late, with dates of events changed to avoid fines, and some people simply did not register the births, marriages and deaths of their family members.

In 1864 — the first year for the all encompassing registration of births, marriages and deaths — there were 136,643 births, 27,373 marriages and 94,095 deaths registered.

From the General Register Office research room in Werburg Street, Dublin, at the end of this post is a complete listing of the civil registration districts covered in the registers of the GRO.

For the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland you can order copies of civil registration records online via the website Certificates.ie at http://www.hse.ie/eng/services/list/1/bdm/Certificates/. This site does not offer a search option, so you must have in hand the details of the record you want. See this link for details about the information required, and this link for full details with respect to exactly which records can be applied for online. Online certificates will cost you €20

If you don’t want to pay €20 for a copy of a civil registration, then you can apply by post for a research copy. Research copies cannot be ordered online. Obviously it will take longer, but a ‘research copy’ of a civil registration will cost you only €4. You will need to fill out an application form for certificates by post, including all details from the index reference: registration district, applicable quarter or year, volume number, page number  (See this page: http://www.welfare.ie/en/Pages/Apply-for-Certificates.aspx )

In addition to the lower cost, another advantage of choosing the ‘by post’ route is that you can apply for certificates for the full time period covered by civil registration. As you will notice in clicking the details link for online ordering, there are limitations on the dates of certificates that can be ordered online.

For the 6 counties of Northern Ireland, you can search for and order copies of civil registration records online via the website of GRONI, the General Registration Office of Northern Ireland at https://geni.nidirect.gov.uk.

Indexes for Irish civil registration are available on irishgenealogy.ie at http://civilrecords.irishgenealogy.ie.

Civil registration indexes are also available on FamilySearch.org at https://familysearch.org/search/collection/1408347.



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