The process of tracing your family history can be expensive with many websites offering paid subscription-only services. Sites offering free access are always a good place to start tracing your family. The free online website https://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en is a great way to access Irish Civil Records.
It covers the official state records of
- Births 1864 to 1919 (only births more than 100 years old can be published online)
- Protestant marriages 1845 till 1944 (due to the 75 year rule)
- Catholic marriages 1864 till 1944 (due to the 75 year rule).
- Deaths 1878 till 1969 (50 year rule)
This is a great free resource but unfortunately, due to Partition, the site does not cover Northern Ireland records post 1921.
The birth record will show
- The date and location of the birth.
- The first name(s) of the infant.
- The father’s name, address and occupation. Also if he has since died, the mother’s name and her maiden name.
- The name and address (if different) of the person who registered the birth.
- Births taking place in the Lying-In Hospital or Workhouse will be registered by the current Occupier at the time.
These will show a copy of the church or civil marriage record.
- the date and location of the service
- the name, address and occupation of the groom.
- the father of the groom’s name and occupation and often if he is living or deceased.
- the name, address and occupation of the bride.
- the bride’s fathers name and occupation and often if living or dead.
- ages (the record can list ages, but this column is often marked F, as in Full Age i.e. 21 or over).
- the Condition of the participants will be noted e.g. Bachelor, Widower, Spinster or Widow.
- the two witnesses to the wedding
- the signatures of the bride and groom, though this is often their ‘mark’.
- the priest, minister or registrar who officiated at the ceremony.
- Non Catholic marriages are available from 1845.
Death records list:
- The date and location the death occurred.
- The name, sex and condition of the deceased.
- Age and occupation.
- Cause of death.
- The name, address and signature of the person who registered the death.
- In the case of an unusual death, the name of the coroner and the date of the inquest will also be recorded.
For Belfast deaths, it is also sometimes useful to check the Lisburn Registration District, as this was the location of the Fever Hospital.
Deaths occurring in the Workhouse, Hospital or Asylum will be registered by the current Occupier at the time.
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Hannahstown & it’s Church on the Hill – A Turbulent History
Old Belfast Castles – What lies beneath our streets?
Barney Hughes – The baker “beloved by the working classes”
Vere Foster – One of the greatest men you’ve never heard of
Pottinger’s Entry – One of Belfast’s oldest streets
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