This page has been revised and completely rewritten here.

Records from the Irish General Register Office at and elsewhere

John Grenham wrote in The Irish Times on 1 April 2013 that 'there are no ready-made searches for ..., and these are essential.' This is why there were no links from the search results at to after the relaunch of the former site in March 2013. The same column pointed out that 'The main obstacle [to using genealogy as a marketing tool] is no longer the lack of online records (although there remain some shameful exceptions – General Register Office, I'm looking at you).' There is a clear need for a clear guide to using records from the Irish General Register Office at and elsewhere. This page is a first attempt to gather all the relevant information into a single page.

The starting point for those wishing to understand the General Register Office and its records is the CIGO booklet IRISH CIVIL REGISTRATION -WHERE DO I START? However, much has changed since that booklet was published.

The biggest change was on 23 January 2009, when records first became available within the domain; they have been moved around within that domain frequently since that date. The links from this page are valid as of 2 April 2013, but past experience suggests that further changes may be required in the future.

The various bookmarks and tutorials relating to linked to from this website need to be updated in the light of the following announcement, which appeared in August 2011 at

August 23: Last Day for Record Search Pilot! Record Search Pilot will be replaced by Thank you! Record Search Pilot has been a great success. Your feedback led to the first phase of an improved search experience on Look for more of your ideas to be implemented in the coming months. Why is Record Search Pilot ending? The Pilot website was never intended to be permanent - it was a place to gather and test ideas. It was never designed to handle more records, more features, or more visitors. In order to fully implement improvements, we need to end the Pilot and shift resources to our main website.

This change is a cause of great inconvenience to those that have invested considerable time and effort into understanding, documenting and exploiting the original search interface. It appears to remove the facility to search or filter or sort by things like middle initials, etc., etc. The following is a quick summary of the present situation with direct links to the Irish databases:

All the remaining Irish databases at are based primarily on Irish Civil Registration records compiled by the body variously known as the General Register Office or the Civil Registration Service. Due to conflicting information on the website, it is quite unclear what these databases contain and do not contain. These are the best descriptions that I can provide: Irish Civil Registration Indexes
The indexes only to birth, marriage and death records, as microfilmed by the LDS Church in Abt 1959. They cover non-Catholic marriages from 1 Apr 1845 to 1958 and all births, marriages (Catholic and non-Catholic) and deaths from 1 January 1864 to 1958. Up to 1922, they cover all 32 counties of Ireland; thereafter they cover only the 26 counties of what in that year became the Irish Free State (now the Republic of Ireland).

As of 21 Sep 2011, these records are also available to subscribers at via the following links:

Some sample counts for a randomly chosen decade suggest that the transcriptions are probably complete:

1930 63,328
1931 62,130
1932 61,457
1933 58,253
1934 62,664
1935 63,104
1936 63,619
1937 60,149
1938 59,565
1939 60,710
1930 29,656
1931 29,063
1932 28,584
1933 29,184
1934 31,765
1935 31,732
1936 33,309
1937 33,509
1938 33,366
1939 33,285

To find birth, marriage or death records which may have been mis-indexed or are otherwise difficult to locate, advanced searching of the database can be carried out by using the various arguments which can be appended to the base URL,

Multiple arguments are separated by the & character. The following table is an attempt to identify some of the possible arguments.

First name gsfn=
Last name gsln=
Sex sx=
FHL film number f1=
Quarter f3=Dec
Year rg_f6__date=
or Year f6= (does it need a trailing space?)
Interval (+/-) rs_f6__date=0
Poor Law Union/Superintendent Registrar's District f7=
Volume f13=
Page f14=
Database db=fsirelandcivregmarriage
Results per page hc=50
Results to skip fh=200
Pages to skip pgoff=4

For example, to find all the marriages on page 132 in Kilrush in the fourth quarter of 1888:

Ancestry's own link to the other marriages on a page may not work if some of the other fields are omitted from the initial search URL. As of 13 Feb 2013, has added a "Records on Page:" field, containing all the other names from the same page, to the initial search output for a marriage search; it is no longer necessary to "click to see others on page". Ireland Births and Baptisms
Advertised on the same page as "1620-1881" and "1864-1881" but appears to include primarily transcriptions of selected fields from almost all birth certificates from 1864 to 1881, with small numbers of church baptism records also included. There are 5,296,208 records, but many certificates have been transcribed two or three times (system origin: Ireland-EASy, Ireland-ODM and Ireland-VR). The following table shows the number of (not necessarily unique) records by year:
1864 170,581
1865 182,177
1866 224,370
1867 322,177
1868 400,509
1869 401,448
1870 398,031
1871 387,959
1872 378,532
1873 336,962
1874 298,195
1875 276,575
1876 235,062
1877 214,845
1878 211,283
1879 218,084
1880 189,467
1881 28,944
1882 56
1883 60
TOTAL 1864-1883: 4,875,317

The fluctuations from year to year probably reflect variations in the input duplication rate more than variations in the birth rate. Similar tables could be drawn up for individual counties by using both Place and Year field in the search form.

As of 21 Sep 2011, these records are also available to subscribers at via the following link: Ireland Marriages
Advertised on the same page as "1619-1898" and "1864-1870" but appears to include primarily transcriptions of selected fields from almost all (424,447) marriage certificates from 1 Apr 1845 to Abt 1870 (obviously not including pre-1864 Catholic marriages). Ireland Deaths
Advertised surprisingly consistently as "1864-1870" and appears to include primarily transcriptions of selected fields from a small sample (51,249+) of death certificates from 1864 (12,622), 1865 (6,306), 1866 (22), 1867 (19), 1868 (41), 1869 (289) and 1870 (32,148).

How to find the LDS film number for an Irish birth, marriage or death record:

First use Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes, 1845-1958 to find the quarter, volume and year in which the event was registered.

Then follow the link below to the catalogue page for births, marriages or deaths, as appropriate, and find the film number by scrolling down or searching in your browser until you locate the quarter, volume and year that you are looking for (in the left-hand column). The corresponding film number that you need will be in the right-hand column.

There are both major and minor gaps in the coverage.

Births catalogue page:
Pre-partition indexes are on films 101041 (1864) to 101079 (1921).
Early certificates are on films 101080 (1864 volume 1) to 101219 (1870 volume 20) and 101220 to 101228 (various supplements); films 255810 (1871 volume 1) to 256068 (1880Q4 volume 5); and films 257857 to 257860 (1881Q1).
Certificates for 1881Q2 to 1899 are not available on LDS films.
More certificates are on films 1419540 to 1419541 (1900Q1); and films 257861 (1900Q1) to 258168 (1913Q4).
Certificates for 1914 to 1929 are not available on LDS films.
A final run of certificates are on films 258169 (1930Q1) to 258441 (1955Q1).
Marriages catalogue page:
Pre-partition indexes are on films 101241 (1845-7) to 101264 (1918-21).
Early certificates are on films 101265 (1845) to 101571 (1870) and 101572 to 101574 (various supplements).
Post-1870 certificates are not available on LDS films.
Deaths catalogue page:
Pre-partition indexes are on films 101582 (1864-5) to 101608 (1920-1).
Early certificates are on films 101609 (1864) to 101727 (1870) and 101728 to 101734 (various supplements).
Post-1870 certificates are not available on LDS films.

The films containing the indexes are unlikely to contain any information which is not in the excerpts from these films transcribed on the website. The films containing the certificates contain a great deal of information which is not included in the excerpts from these films transcribed on the website.

John Grenham's Tracing Your Irish Ancestors (4th edition, 2012, p.4) has a nice one-page summary of the above information and the corresponding information for Northern Ireland, but my version does contain a few typographical errors.

Dealing with the GRO:

The organisation which variously calls itself the The General Register Office, An tSeirbhís um Chlárú Sibhialta and The Civil Registration Service has a number of offices.

According to, "The Civil Registration Service is part of the Health Service Executive and was previously known as Births, Deaths and Marriages." According to, services of the Department of Social Protection include "administration by the General Register Office (GRO) of the Civil Registration Service (for the registration of births, adoptions, marriages, civil partnerships and deaths in the State)."

The main public office for research is in the Irish Life Centre in Abbey Street in Dublin. This office holds microfilms of all the transcripts sent in by the local offices each quarter.

Reports from customers using its local offices around the country suggest that the service provided varies from county to county. The appropriate local office's advantage over the Dublin office is that it has the original records with the original signatures for the local area, not the transcripts sent to Dublin at the end of each quarter. Some local offices have access to a nationwide computer database containing images of all births, marriages from 1920 to date, and deaths from 1924 to date. There is a list of local offices at but it does not make clear which of the old Superintendent Registrar's Districts (Poor Law Unions) now come under the jurisdiction of which office.

The head office is in Roscommon.

The genealogist should obtain for 4 euro (cash only) at the Irish Life Centre an image of the handwritten record. There is no need to pay any more than this for records up to 1958.

Some offices may charge an additional 2 euro search fee even if the customer knows the full reference details from; it was announced in January 2013 that in certain circumstances this search fee will no longer be charged.

In January 2013, the price of a certified copy was increased from 10 euro to 20 euro. These are necessary only for those applying for citizenship or proving their right to an inheritance.

There are a number of reasons why the modern transcripts often supplied, whether typed or handwritten, are not appropriate for genealogical purposes:

There are several related web domains:

Paddy Waldron

Last update: 7 Apr 2013