How To Approach The Records

Again, every family history is different, but the most common sequence is:

1. General Register Office records
First, use these state records of births, deaths and marriages to verify what you have learned from your family. Get certificates and extract all the information on them – marriage records are particularly useful.

2. 1901 and 1911 census returns.
These provide extremely helpful snapshots of an entire household, with ages, occupations, counties of birth and, in the case of 1911, number of years married.

3. General Register Office records again.
With the information gleaned from the census returns, you can now search GRO records for earlier generations.

4. Property records.
Griffith’s Valuation (1847-64) is the only comprehensive mid-nineteenth century census substitute. Information from the GRO should now allow you to pinpoint relevant entries. For the early decades of the 19th century the only near-comprehensive resource is the Tithe Applotment Survey of c. 1823-1938. The records for the 26 counties of the Republic are online at

5. Parish records.
Before the start of civil registration for all in 1864, these are virtually the only direct sources of family information. No site has complete coverage. The major resources are this site, and

6. Everything else.
A plethora of potentially relevant sources exists for particular localities or circumstances – directories, occupational records, tenants’ lists, gravestones …