By Jayne McGarvey
Civil Registration of non-Catholic Marriages commenced across the entire island of Ireland in 1845 with all Births, Marriages and Deaths commencing in 1864.
The Superintendent Registrar’s Districts were not set up using the system of Civil Parishes or any other traditional land divisions but instead used the system of Poor Law Unions (PLUs). These were established in Ireland following the 1838 Irish Poor Law Act and were centred on market towns where the workhouses were also built.
Following the split of Ireland in 1921 responsibility for the registers and related indexes occurring in Northern Ireland became the responsibility for the General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI) 49-55 Chichester Street, Belfast BT1 4HL.
The registers of births, marriages and deaths and the related indexes for the Republic of Ireland are maintained by the Registrar General in the General Register Office (GRO). The Index books can be viewed at the General Register Office, Werburgh Street, Dublin 2 and Government Offices, Convent Road, Roscommon.
Events relating to Northern Ireland for dates occurring before the split for records pertaining to Northern Ireland are held by both the GRO and by GRONI. Events occurring in the Republic of Ireland before the split are only held by GRO.
Events occurring post 1921 are held by only the General Register Office of the country in which they occurred.
The indexes for births over 100 years old, marriages over 75 years old and deaths over 50 years old can be viewed for free on-line at:
Republic of Ireland (often simply known as Ireland) http://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/
Northern Ireland* https://geni.nidirect.gov.uk/
* Account Required
The information that is available on the indexes is limited and is slightly different between the two countries’ systems.
Once you have located a potential index for your ancestor you may wish or need to find out more information.
Republic of Ireland (Ireland)
Certificates held by GRO cannot be viewed on-line.
A photocopy of an entry in any register can be purchased from the General Register Office by downloading the form here and submitting it by fax or post as outlined on the form. The fee for a photocopy is €4.00 (four Euros)
The General Register Office also operates a research facility at Werburgh Street, Dublin 2 where members of the public may search the indexes to the registers held by General Register Office and purchase photocopies of entries in the registers. here.
Two types of searches may be undertaken at the genealogical/family history research facility:
- A specific search covering a maximum of 5 years for a fee of €2.00
- A general search covering any number of years for a fee of €20.00 per day
A photocopy of an entry in the records can be purchased for €4.00.
Options to purchase an official certificate
A certificate can be purchased online on the official Civil Registration Service website at www.certificates.ie (Death records before 1924 and marriage records before 1903 are not currently available online).
A certificate of an entry in any register, regardless of the year involved, can be purchased from the General Register Office by fax or post by completing the relevant application form which can be downloaded at Apply for Certificates. Click here for link to Apply for Certificates page.
You do not need to register or log in to use the free name search. If you use the free name search it will return the number of matches in each registration type. You may search a five year range e.g. 1868 to 1872. However if you wish to view the indexes you will need to register an account and deposit some funds. Viewing the indexes themselves is free. Each credit currently costs £0.40 (forty pence sterling).
Once you have identified a specific event you may choose to view further information on-line.
An Enhanced view costs 1 credit
A full view costs 5 credits (this will permit you to view the actual certificate)
To order a Certificate costs £14.00 stg
Photocopies are not available. You are not permitted to print or save the full view of the certificate. You may transcribe the information only.
Information for more recent events, currently not available on-line may only be obtained either by visiting GRONI (search fees apply) or by ordering a full certificate from Belfast. Click here
Click here to read the other posts in this series on Genealogy in Ireland:
Click here to receive help from an expert with your Irish genealogy research.