Irish General Register Office records

Genealogical Usefulness

For genealogy, only the following information is of genuine interest:

the name, the date of birth, the place of birth, the name, surname and dwelling place of the father; the name, surname and dwelling place of the mother; and occasionally, the name, residence and qualification of the informant.

the parish in which the marriage took place; the names, ages, residences and occupations of the persons marrying; the names and occupations of their fathers and, occasionally, the names of the witnesses.

the place of death; the age at death and, occasionally, the name, residence and qualification of the informant.

Of the three categories, the most useful is certainly the marriage entry, both because it provides fathers' names, thus giving a direct link to the preceding generation, and because it is the easiest to identify, with two names to cross-reference. Birth entries are much more difficult to identify correctly from the indexes without precise information about date and place, but there are shortcuts for particular periods and areas. In any case, the fact that all of the GRO birth records are freely imaged online can makes a broad trawl worthwhile.

Unlike in many other countries, death records in Ireland are not usually useful for genealogical purposes because there was no obligation to record family information, and the 'age at death' is often very imprecise. That said, these records can sometimes be of value. The 'person present at death' was often a family member, and the relationship is sometimes specified in the register entry. Even the age recorded may be useful, since it at least gives an idea of how old the person was thought to be by family or neighbours. Since death records up to fifty years ago are now freely available online, they are always worth checking.

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