Parish registers

This guide was last updated in 2012

Once you have established the county your ancestor was living in prior to emigration, you can start searching the parish registers for evidence of baptisms and marriages.

Indexed parish registers can be found online at and They cover nearly all counties in Ireland (with the significant exceptions of Monaghan, Carlow, Waterford, Wexford and a large portion of Cork).

If you locate baptism or marriage records in these indexes, you will have identified the parish in which the family were residing. (Note: these online indexes are not comprehensive).

It is also entirely possible that the registers for the parish your ancestors originated from no longer survive. For example, the majority of parish registers for County Mayo, one of the counties worst hit by the famine, mostly date from the 1860s, too late to contain records of families residing there prior to the famine.

All surviving Roman Catholic parish registers for Ireland are available on microfilm in the National Library of Ireland.

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