Skip to Main Content

Topic: Irish Genealogy Resources: Find the Irish in Ireland

Cememteries and Gravestones

Wandering through Irish cemeteries looking for gravestones of long-dead ancestors is a fruitful source of genealogical data. Fortunately for genealogists, local historical societies in Ireland sometimes publish transcriptions of gravestones in their localities. 

Census Data

Most modern (pre-1901) Irish census records were destroyed in the Public Records Office (Dublin) fire during the Irish Civil War.  Fragments of early censuses survive and some of them have been published, including the volumes listed here.

Griffith's Valuation

The Department owns an incomplete microfiche edition of the Surname Index to the …Griffith's Valuation … of Ireland, the property survey of Ireland undertaken from 1850-1862, which constitutes the closest thing to a census now extant for mid-19th-century Ireland.  The Department owns the index for the following cities and counties:  Belfast, Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Fermanagh, Limerick, Longford, Monaghan, Tipperary, and Waterford. 

Surname Index to the …Griffith's Valuation of Ireland 
Special – Micro HD629 .S9 W3 1988  

Irish Localities

Irish geographic names (for villages, parishes, poor-law unions, towns, counties, etc.) sometimes are difficult to "place."  An excellent descriptive source for place-names as they existed in the 19th-century is: A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, by Samuel Lewis. Lewis is best used in conjunction with A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland, by Brian Mitchell, which includes maps of Irish counties, dioceses, probate districts, parishes, baronies, and poor-law unions. 

Special – Oversize DA979 .L48
A Topographical Dictionary of Ireland 2 vol. plus atlas 

Special - Ref G1830 M5 2000   
A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland  

Irish Newspapers and Magazines

The Biographical Notices… and Index to Biographical Notices… are indexes of personal names extracted from selected newspapers in the southern half of the island.  They note births, deaths, marriages, confirmations, etc. and are useful for linking names with localities.
While its coverage focuses on Ulster, the Belfast Newsletter covers events in (and includes biographical notices from) the entire island.  The name and ship indexes included are of particular interest to family historians.     

Special – Micro DA916.8 .F4 1969          
Biographical Notices (Primarily Relating to Counties Cork and Kerry) Collected From Newspapers, 1756-1827; With a Few References 1749-1755  

Special – Micro DA916.8 .F4 I45 1985        
Index to Biographical Notices in the Newspapers of Limerick, Ennis,Clomel and Waterford, 1758-1821  

Special – Micro PN5149 .B43 B45 1992      
The Belfast Newsletter, 1737-1800  

Special – Micro PN5149 .B43 B453 1993   
Belfast Newsletter Index, 1738 – 1800 

Manuscripts and Personal Papers

Richard J. Hayes, for many years the director of the National Library of Ireland, undertook (over several decades) a monumental survey of Irish manuscripts in Irish, British, and continental archives.  

The records created from this project were published as Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation and Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation: Articles in Irish Periodicals.   This content has now been digitized and encoded in a free database from the National Library of Ireland named Sources.

Spinning Wheel Entitlement Lists

A survey was undertaken in 1796 of those planting flax and producing linen cloth at home.  While the cloth industry was concentrated in Ulster, spinners could be found throughout Ireland and surviving survey entries exist for thirty of Ireland's thirty-two counties.  The "Spinning Wheel Survey" serves as a partial census of the "respectable" working poor and the lower-to-middle middle-class, i.e. those people who could afford a spinning wheel or wheels and the related accoutrements of the trade. 

Surname Index for the 1796 Spinning Wheel Premium Entitlement Lists of Ireland  
Special - Micro CS480 .A458 1986   


Given the dearth of Irish census records, wills have become an important source of Irish genealogical information.  Listed below are the published guides to Irish wills available in the Department