Vital records

This guide was last updated in 2009

Traditionally the address given on one birth or marriage certificate is enough to locate the ancestral family home, which can then be traced back through several generations.  Researching a tenement family in Dublin city requires a bit more work. 

Tenement families frequently changed address, sometimes moving every six months, usually trying to stay one step ahead of the debt collector.

Obtaining all of the birth, marriage and death certificates for your Dublin ancestors will document more than one address. These can be researched in Thoms Dublin Directory, a street and trade directory found in all major Irish repositories. Although the directory doesn't record the occupants of a building, it will illustrate whether the houses on the street were tenements. 

It will become clear from your research that families living on a street made up of tenements were probably living in very poor conditions. 

Use the directories to locate the various family addresses. Although a family moved house frequently, they often remained in the same parish or area of the city, close to other family members and within their community. This will make searching for them in the census a much easier task.


Poor Dublin ancestors
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Census returns
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