The following was gleaned from a lecture at Who Do You Think You Are? at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham on 6 April 2017.
I have reinforced the notes with the location of the records – ie I have added the appropriate links.
Ireland City and Regional Directories 1847 – 1946
About Ireland, City and Regional Directories, 1847-1946
Alexander Thom published the first Thom’s Irish Almanac and Official Directory in 1844. Over the next one hundred years, it grew to include a Dublin street directory, volumes listing the names, addresses, and occupations for residents of other towns and districts in the country, and a wide variety of happenings, institutions, businesses, and departments for Ireland and the UK, including the following:
- County fairs and markets in Ireland
- Parliamentarian directories
- Civil service and law directories for Great Britain
- Navy, army, and militia directories
- Colonial directories
- Universities, colleges, schools
- Churches and ecclesiastical directories
- County and borough directories
- Postal directory
Within the collection, you will be able to find names, places and dates of residence and often an occupation is given as well.
Source Ancestry.com. Ireland, City and Regional Directories, 1847-1946 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2017.
I made a note about Rogerson’s quay. I know not why – I have researched Sir John Rogerson’s Quay 1756 (http://www.dublincity.ie/image/libraries/dcr006-sir-john-rogerson%E2%80%99s-quay-1756) but I know not what relevance this has to useful Irish records.)
Ireland, The Royal Irish Constabulary 1816-1921
The Royal Irish Constabulary (RIC) was created in 1816, and initially staffed mainly by Irish-born men. However, toward the 1900s, and especially afterwards, the RIC recruited men from countries such as England, Scotland, Wales, and the United States. The records of the RIC were only indexed annually by the date of enlistment. Until this database was created, the only way to identify whether an ancestor joined the forces was an extremely time-consuming search. Some people joined for a few days or weeks, others stayed for years, and quite a few migrated. There are mentions in the index on whether a person emigrated, died, or married.
The original records go into greater details, showing where each man was stationed, where he had relatives, whether he got married, and if so the date, illnesses, conduct, promotions, cause of death if died in the force; pensioned or retired; as well as a physical description. The index shows the name of each man, a year or birth or an age on enlistment; a county of birth or a country; whether single or married, comments such as died, emigrated, etc., and the reference film number and page for fuller details. This index is an important source for Irish research, even if your ancestor didn’t appear to have been in the RIC. He may have enlisted for a few days or weeks and signed out. His details are still on record. This index is a work in progress. This latest update adds another 11,074 records to the previous 58,433 records.
Reakes, J., comp.. Ireland, The Royal Irish Constabulary 1816-1921 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.
Original data: An Index To The Royal Irish Constabulary, 1816-1921. 1816-1921. Microfilm LDS Family History Centre, 0852088-97-0856057-2069.
Ireland, Royal Irish Constabulary Pensions, 1873-1925
The Royal Irish Constabulary was an eighty-percent Irish Catholic police force which, between 1814 and 1922, employed some eighty-five thousand men. This collection comprises the records of pension payments to retired officers, their widows and children.
For each record, details given include, where available:
- Full names of officers
- Date of authority
- Date of commencement
- Pension per annum
- Where paid
For deceased officers it provides the names of their widows and children, and how much they each received in allowances each month or a quarter. Some volumes contain records of five offices’ payment details for three consecutive years on a single page. Other volumes record widows’ and children’s payment details for a year, with three families on each page. It also records the officer’s date of death in his/her yearly payment details section.
Ireland, Royal Hospital Kilmainham Pensioner Discharge Documents, 1724-1924
The Royal Hospital Kilmainham, located near Dublin, Ireland, dates back to 1680 and provided a home for retired soldiers for the around 250 years. While some pensioners surrendered their pension to the hospital and lived there (“in-pensioners”), many more lived outside the confines and received their pensions elsewhere (“out-pensioners”). Pensions from the Royal Hospital Kilmainham were administered to soldiers who had served for at least 12 years in the British Army and were discharged from Irish regiments, as well as from some English, Scottish and Welsh units. Most pensions for non-Irish regiments were administered by the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London.
This collection is made up of discharge documents for pensioners who served between 1724 and 1924. For each record, details may include a brief description of the pensioner together with age, place of birth, particulars of service and the reason for discharge.
Note: This collection contains an index to records transcribed from the discharge documents. To view images of the documents on Fold3.com, you will need an Ancestry All Access subscription.
Ancestry.com. Ireland, Royal Hospital Kilmainham Pensioner Discharge Documents, 1724-1924 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.
Original data: Royal Hospital, Kilmainham: Pensioners’ Discharge Documents WO 119. The National Archives of the UK, Kew, Surrey, England.
Ireland, Police Gazettes, 1861-1893
This collection contains printed publications used for communication among members of the police force in Ireland between 1861 and 1893. It contains information on wanted criminals, crimes committed, criminals who had been apprehended, and missing persons.
The collection can be searched by:
- Birth year
- Publication year
- Event year
- Event location
- Event Type
- Role in Crime
- Conviction Place
Ancestry.com. Ireland, Police Gazettes, 1861-1893 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016. This collection was indexed by Ancestry World Archives Project contributors.
Original data: Luminary Trading Ltd.
Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915
The Ireland Catholic Parish Registers is the single most important collection needed to trace your Roman Catholic ancestors in Ireland in the 1800’s. According to the 1861 census, almost 78 percent of the population was Catholic; by 1891, this had risen to 89 percent. This collection is made up of baptism, marriage and death records from over 1,000 Catholic parishes across the whole of the island of Ireland – both in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as it is known as today. While baptism and marriage records make up the majority of the collection, death records can be found primarily for parishes in the northern regions.Approximately 94 percent of Catholic parishes are included in this collection, though not all registers from these parishes are available. For more information, visit the National Library of Ireland website at registers.nli.ie.
It is worth noting that, while the Church of Ireland was the established state church from 1536 to 1870, an overwhelming amount of the Irish population remained Roman Catholic throughout this period. Irish Catholic Emancipation was secured under the Roman Catholic Relief Act in 1829, lifting legal restrictions that were previously in place against all Catholics. By this time, Penal Laws were also lifted, which had forbidden the Catholic Church to maintain parish registers.
Catholic Emancipation brought more freedom to record vital events within the Catholic Church. As such, the bulk of the records in this collection date from the late 1820’s onwards. Where some earlier registers exist back to the 1650’s, they are known to cover the more prosperous and anglicised eastern counties of Ireland.
The records are written in either English or Latin. For help understanding the Latin entries please see our helpful glossary of common terms.
Tips for Using Irish Parish Records
It’s helpful to know family structure and important to know at least a county of origin in Ireland to correctly identify your ancestors in this collection. See our guide on finding ethnic origins here.
Try searching for just a last name and parents’ names to see all of the children born to a couple.
Ancestry.com. Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers, 1655-1915 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2016.