What information is contained in the church records?

The church records preserve details of the baptisms, marriages and burials which took place within a particular parish, church or congregation and were usually compiled by the relevant clergyman.

There is a great degree of variation in the level of detail contained within these records. Indeed over a period of one hundred years or more there can be considerable variation even within a single parish, church or congregation. In general, baptism records record the date of the baptism; the names of the child, the parents and the names of the child’s sponsors or godparents. The family address and the name of the clergyman may also be recorded.

Marriage records generally record the date of the marriage, the names of the spouses and witnesses. Other information such as the names of the spouse’s parents, residences of the spouses, ages, occupations and the name of the clergyman may also be recorded.

Burial records usually contain very limited information, often no more than the date of burial, the name and address and possibly, the age of the deceased. Unlike their counterparts in the Roman Catholic Church, the majority of Church of Ireland clergy tended to record burial details.In relation to burial records the following is a quote taken from the Irish Ancestry section on the Irish Times on-line. “The keeping of (RC) burial records was much less thorough than in the Church of Ireland, with fewer than half the parishes in the country having a register of burials before 1900; even where they do exist, these records are generally intermittent and patchy. For some reason, almost all Catholic burial registers are for the northern half of the island.”

Occasionally the records may also contain further comment such as the names of additional witnesses or details of subsequent events pertaining to one of the parties.