Finding Your Irish - Church Records
May 11, 2013
If your ancestor was born in Ireland before 1864, Irish church records should be searched. In most cases, you will need to know the name of the civil parish and the ecclesiastical parish. See A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland by Brian Mitchell for more on this.
Ecclesiastical parishes in Ireland include Church of Ireland, Roman Catholic, and Presbyterian. They are organized as follows:
- Existing Catholic Church records typically start with the mid-19th century. In most cases, you would need to know the name of the Roman Catholic Parish.
- Church of Ireland records start earlier; however, approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of these records were destroyed in the 1922 bombing of the Public Records Office in Dublin. The Church of Ireland was the state church of Ireland and the basic unit for most record keeping.
- If you are tracing a Presbyterian family, follow the congregation name, which may be different from the parish names. However, many of our Presbyterian ancestors came to the United States in the 1700s, which is before existing Irish Presbyterian Church records.
The Family History Library has microfilmed about 30 percent of Catholic Church records, all Quaker, only a few Presbyterian, and Church of Ireland. (You must search a specific civil parish name in the Family History catalog to see if they have filmed the church records for that area).
The Irish Family History Foundation, a pay as you go site, has most church and civil records (See their map for specific counties available).
Irish Genealogy has church records for Kerry, Cork, Carlow, and Dublin City (See complete set of available records on their site).
Still stuck? Call the Midwest Genealogy Center at 816.252.7228 to make an appointment with an Irish expert for help with these records, sites, and more.
Go n-eiri an t-adh leat! (Good Luck!)
Midwest Genealogy Center