Essential Resource No. 1

Searching for Civil Registrations of Births, Deaths & Marriages in Ireland

Compulsory Civil Registration for all Births, Marriages and Deaths in Ireland began in 1864, although registration of Non-Catholic Marriages commenced slightly earlier, in 1845. The General Register Office, Dublin (the “GRO”), holds copies of all Civil Records for the whole of Ireland, from the commencement of Registration, up to and including the year 1921.

If you are searching for a Registration after 1921, then depending on the location of your Ancestors, ie. whether in the Republic of Ireland or in any of the six Counties of Northern Ireland, you would have recourse to either the GRO or to the General Register Office, (Northern Ireland), known as “GRONI” for short, which holds records for the latter.

Remember that prior to 1864, with the exception of non-Catholic Marriages, there was no compulsory registration, and so your only line of recourse would be to local Parish Registers (Church Registers). Unfortunately the accuracy and consistency of Church Registers varies from one Parish to another. However, generally most Catholic Parish Registers began in the early-mid 1800s, whilst non-Catholic Registers can date back much further.

Details from the Civil Registration of Births, Marriage and Death Certificates are an invaluable resource to all those undertaking their Irish Family History. The location of a particular entry not only serves to confirm that the information we have accumulated about our Ancestors is right, but also can provide us with a treasure trove of additional information, in some cases, enabling us to pursue our Research even further. Below is a list of the information likely to be included in such Registrations:

Birth Registrations:

  • Full Names. Often we may only know that our Ancestors by their pet names. However birth Certificates will almost certainly provide you with all their given names, irrespective of whether they chose to use them in later life. Additionally, a second name may provide you with an additional source of research.

  • Date of Birth, and Date of Actual Registration. If you do not know the date of birth, GRONI will undertake a 5 year search for the nominal sum of £5 and will write to you with details of all records found corresponding to the names searched. You can then decide whether you wish to purchase a copy of the Actual Certificate which costs a further £10. For Civil Registrations in the Republic of Ireland, you would need to get in contact with the GRO to ascertain their Fees and whether they are able to undertake a search (their Policy is different to that of GRONI) – Contact details are listed below.

  • Gender of the child – male/female.

  • Names and Address of Parents, together with details of the Father’s Occupation.

  • Informant. Again an excellent source of information. The Informant could be any member of the family or even a neighbour, and will usually record the Informant’s name, address and often, details of the relationship to the family.

  • From 1903 onwards, the Registration of Births, included details of the Mother’s Maiden Name.

  • Remember that Births and Deaths at Sea were also registered from 1864-1921

    Marriage Registrations

  • Names of the Bride & Groom and Date of Marriage

  • Place of Marriage. Details of the Parish Church and the Parish Priest who performed the Marriage will be recorded.

  • Age of the Bride and Groom. Usually will state “Full Age” if over 21

  • Occupation of the Groom.

  • Marital Status of the Bride & Groom.

  • Addresses of both the Bride & Groom at the time of Marriage.

  • Witnesses to the Marriage – Maid of Honor & Best Man.

  • Details of any Dispensation in Banns.

    Death Registrations

  • Name of the Deceased and Date of Death & Registration

  • Address of the Deceased

  • Age of the Deceased

  • Gender – male/female

  • Marital Status – ie, Batchelor, Widow, Married etc.

  • The Cause of Death may also be provided.


    If your Ancestors were born in Northern Ireland, then you should visit The General Register Office’s very comprehensive Website at: where you can even apply for a Search Online.

    GRONI is located at:   Oxford House,   49/55 Chichester Street, Belfast, BT1 4HL

    Telephone No:- 028 90 252000

    Generally, you will need to be able to provide the following information before a Search can be undertaken:


  • Full name of person whose birth certificate is required.

  • Date and place of birth.

  • Names of parents (including mother's maiden name, where known.)

  • Mother's residence at time of birth.


  • Full name of deceased.

  • Date and place of death.

  • The Usual address of the deceased if different from his place of death. (Please note that GRONI cannot trace Deaths pre-1922 if the District where the death was registered is not known).


  • Full names of the married couple (Bride's maiden name).

  • Date and place of marriage (Note that for marriages before 1922 Searches are not possible without the district and place of marriage being known)


  • Full name of person whose birth certificate is required.

  • Date and place of birth.

  • Names of adoptive parents.

  • Name of Court which made the order and date of order.

    For Civil Registrations in the Republic of Ireland, please visit the General Register Office, Dublin’s Website

    The Postal Address is:

    Joyce House, 

    8-11 Lombard St East, Dublin 2 

    Telephone 00 353 6354000 

    Please visit their site for details regarding Fees Charged and the application process (which differs to that of GRONI)

    If you have any queries relating to this Site, please e-mail us at: