Starting Irish research


England and Wales

Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths: Registration began in 1837 and records the same details as those given in Irish records (see here). See for the registration indexes and for full certificates. The GRO is currently (August 2018) running a 'pilot' providing online PDF copies of historical birth and death records at a cost of £6.
Census records: Eight sets of census returns are available between 1841 and 1911. All are are online at various locations, and most allow a search on place of birth. Again it is rare to find a precise place of birth in Ireland recorded, though the county is sometimes given. Investigation of the local Irish immigrant populace can yield circumstantial evidence.
Church records: Marriage records for recent immigrants may give the place of origin in Ireland.


Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths: Registration began in 1855 and recorded substantially more detail than in Ireland or England. In particular, birth records show a place and date of marriage, and death records supply parents' names.
Census records: Census returns are similar to those for England and Wales. A computerised index to the 1891 census is available at Civil and census records are available at the General Register Office (New Register House), Princes Street, Edinburgh EH1 3YT. The Scottish Record Office is next door and holds a vast array of relevant archive material. Ian Maxwell's Tracing Your Scottish Ancestors: A Guide for Family Historians (Barnesley: 2012) is a good guide. Almost all relevant records are searchable online at

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