“The Online Release Of Irish Civil Registration Records” By Joe Grandinetti In The December 2016/January 2017 “Internet Genealogy” Magazine

Hi Everyone!

Schaumburg Township District Library

Schaumburg Township District Library

I have just been perusing through our library’s recently received December 2016/January 2017 issue of Internet Genealogy .  In this issue is a very good article titled  “The Online Release of Irish Civil Registration Records”.  The author of the article is Joe Grandinetti.  Joe’s article highlights another major release of Irish genealogy records, in this case the Civil Registration records for births, marriages and deaths from Ireland.  About a year ago Roman Catholic Church records were also released making it that much easier for Irish researchers to dig into their past.

I have actually created a summary of the article that I am planning to include in our February 2017 Schaumburg Township District Library Genealogy Newsletter.  However, I think this kind of data being released by Ireland affects so many researchers interested in Irish genealogy, that I thought I would also share my summary in this blog post before it will appear in the February Genealogy Newsletter of the Library.

My summary starts below after the separator line in Italics:


 irishgenealogy-logoI thought that another very good article in this December 2016/January 2017 issue of Internet Genealogy is one titled “The Online Release of Irish Civil Registration Records”.  The author of the article is Joe Grandinetti.

For those of you doing Irish research, it is important to really check out the site for this newly released material.  Previously, Roman Catholic Church records from Ireland had been released about a year ago.  This site also has a link for you to get to these records.  When you get to the site, you will see a series of tabs at the top of the page.  It is here that you will be able to see a tab for the Civil Records as well as the tab for the Church records.

You can get to this site at www.irishgenealogy.ie.  The data actually started becoming available back in September 2016.   The article in this journal can give researchers a very good overall view of what the data is all about.  Here in a nutshell is the high level view of what the data consists of:

  • Newly released Civil Registration records contain 2.5 million browseable images.
  • Newly released Civil Registration records contain 12.5 individual searchable records.
  • Records are freely accessible.
  • Birth records cover 1864-1915 (only births 100 years or older allowed).
  • Marriage records cover 1882-1940 (only marriages 75 years or older allowed).
  • Death records cover 1891-1965 (only deaths 50 years or older allowed).
  • There are submission guidelines at the site to have data redacted for those who are alive today and are over 100 years old or for anyone alive today who’s marriage record is over 75 years old. They can submit the request to make the data unavailable for viewing for their records.
  • You can request copies of the records that are outside the years of what is provided at welfare.ie/en/Pages/Apply-for-Certificates.aspx.

The author suggests the following methods to best find the information you seek at the site for your Irish ancestors in the Civil Registration records:

  • Navigation and Jurisdiction
    • Access the tab at the top of the page for the Civil Records and just work your way through the clicks to get to the records.
    • It would be very helpful to know the Registration Districts of your ancestors because registration districts can cut across county lines.
    • Civil Registration District is the smallest district level to search.
    • Both parents names are required to enter into the search.
    • You do not need to always search the records if your initial results are not productive. You can browse the records by Registration District. 
    • Take advantage of wildcard searching using asterisks (*) and question marks (?) in place of letters. Asterisks for more than one letter, question marks for one letter.  The author noted that his searches were often formed this way for the surname “McGill” e.g. “m*gill”, would allow him to find “McGill”, “Mc Gill” and “Magill”.
    • If you know the Townland of your ancestor’s birth, there are some good resources to determine the Registration District. Use resources at John Grenham’s website at johngrenham.com/places/plu_index.php.  Also check out another resource at www.swilson.info/explorerb.php to find Registration Districts.
  • Dates in the Records – Take Them with a Grain of Salt
    • Estimated that 10-15% of people did not bother to register vital events for the first couple of decades after the requirement.
    • Compliance improved by the 1880s.
    • Dates in the records for events may actually not be accurate because there are fines associated for late filings. Hence, registrations often showed dates that were within the guidelines but did not reflect actual date of the event.  You can often determine this by looking at the Church records for the same events showing different (actual) dates of the event versus the date for the event in the civil records that would not include a date causing a fine.
  • The Separation of Church and State
    • A child’s birthdate in the equivalent baptism record for Catholics often is more accurate than the date registered in the civil records. The accuracy would reflect the religious belief of having a child baptized very soon after birth and thus recorded accurately so in case of death of the child, the child would be able to enter Heaven having been baptized.
    • The author did a study of his own ancestor’s birth/baptism record dates and noted that there are variances of anywhere from 24 days to 159 days between what baptism records showed for the “birthdate” versus what the civil registration records showed for the birth date. Be aware of these variances and don’t always put 100% accuracy in your own ancestors’ dates.
  • Other Information in the Civil Records
    • Births
      • Place of Birth
      • Maiden name of mother
      • Occupation of father
      • Informant’s Name and Residence
    • Marriages
      • Place of Marriage
      • Ages and Residences of couple
      • Names of the Couple’s fathers
      • Witnesses
    • Deaths
      • Place of Death
      • Age
      • Occupation
      • Cause of Death
      • Informant’s Residence
      • Informant’s relationship to deceased
    • Summary
      • Visit irishgenealogy.ie to start accessing the newly release Civil Registration data.
      • Consult the Civil Registration indexes as needed.
      • Access the tools at John Grenham’s website or at swilson.info/explorerb.php to locate the Civil Registration District.
      • Compare your Civil Registration finds to church baptisms/christening, marriage and death records using resources such as http://registers.nli.ie and rootsireland.ie.
      • Review all of the information in the civil registration data, not just the event dates.


For those doing Irish research, this is another goldmine of information to tap into.  Always consider browsing records in a geographic area you believe equates to that of an ancestor when you are not finding the information by searching.

Tony Kierna
Genealogy Coordinator
Schaumburg Township District Library

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