Trace Your Ancestors

Tracing your roots


Northern Ireland

Libraries NI has made an important addition to the Online Library menu that will open the door to a world of information for those who have an interest in family history.

Ancestry Library Edition has access to over 4000 databases and collections and is available free to library members at any public library in Northern Ireland.

Ancestry Library Edition is regarded as the most comprehensive genealogical eResource. Highlights include UK and US census collections, immigration records, shipping lists, military records, photographs and maps.

It is a valuable tool for the family historian and practical help is available by way of sample census forms and family tree charts. You can read and view messages via the Ancestry Message Board and post your research on the Ancestry World Tree.

Ancestry Library Edition enables you to search library census records to discover vital information about your ancestors such as their name, age, birth place, occupation, full street address, etc. This resource is only available from the Libraries NI network, use from external locations, eg home, is not possible.

From time to time Libraries NI hold workshops on Family History. Contact the library for further information.

Republic of Ireland

National Library of Ireland

The National Library of Ireland on Kildare Street in Dublin is situated within a twenty minute walk of the National Archives – just east of Dublin’s main shopping street, Grafton Street. Its staff-run Genealogy Advisory Service room has free access to a wide range of on-line databases. The Library’s holdings include microfilm copies of most Roman Catholic parish registers up to 1880 (and in some cases up to 1900), most Irish national and provincial newspapers, Griffith’s Valuation, microfilm copies of the tithe applotment books, tithe applotment books, many estate papers and printed books and periodicals. In addition, access to the Genealogical Office manuscripts is gained through the Library’s manuscript reading room or its microfilm room, depending on the particular manuscript.

Library Ireland


General information about individuals, including their age, occupation and religion, can be obtained from census records, which are compiled in Northern Ireland every ten years and made available to the public a century later.

Also see and


Churches in Kilkeel

Christ Church (Kilkeel Parish Church), 24 Newry Street, BT34 4ND
Tel: (028) 4176 5994

Mourne Presbyterian, Greencastle Street, BT34 4BH
Tel: (028) 4176 2659

Kilkeel Presbyterian, 28 Newcastle Street, BT34 4AF
Tel: (028) 4176 2321

Kilkeel Baptist Tabernacle, 70 Newcastle Road
Tel: (028) 4176 9035

Massforth RC Church, 152 Newry Road
Tel: (028) 4176 2257

Presbyterian Historical Society

Most Irish Presbyterian congregations were based in or near the province of Ulster and copies of the majority of their registers of baptism and marriage may be found in PRONI. Registers for congregations in the rest of Ireland can only be found in local custody. The Presbyterian Historical Society of Ireland (PHSI) in Belfast holds some original registers, as well as copies of the registers microfilmed by PRONI, some session minutes, presbytery minutes and biographical data on Presbyterian ministers.

Belfast Burial Records

Belfast City Council is responsible for maintaining burial records for the following cemeteries:

  • Balmoral Cemetery
  • Belfast City Cemetery
  • Clifton Street Graveyard
  • Dundonald Cemetery
  • Friar’s Bush Graveyard
  • Knock Burial Ground
  • Roselawn Cemetery
  • Shankill Graveyard

This information is currently held in large registers and burial order books in the Council’s Cemeteries and Crematorium Central Office, located in Belfast City Hall.

You can also look up some records using their online burial records search facility which includes around 360,000 entries relating to burials in Belfast from 1869 onwards for Belfast City, Dundonald and Roselawn Cemeteries.

Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)

2 Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, BT3 9HQ

Available for you to carry out research free of charge.

Opening times: Mon, Tues, Weds, Fri, 9.00am-4.45pm, Thurs 10.00am-8.45pm, closed public holidays.
Tel: (028) 9053 4800 Website:

Representative Church Body Library

The principal repository of archives and manuscripts of the Church of Ireland. It holds the registers of over 600 parishes from counties now in the Republic of Ireland as well as microfilm copies of many others. Note, however, it does not hold all surviving C of I registers. Other sources available at the RCBL include biographical information of C of I clergy, vestry minute books for various parishes and material gathered by genealogists such as Swanzy and Welply.

Families at Sea

An Exhibition by Mourne Maritime Visitor Centre

Kilkeel VIC, Nautilus Centre, Rooney Road, Kilkeel, BT34 4AG Tel: (028) 4176 2525

Background to the Project

After the opening of the Mourne Maritime Visitor Centre in 2009, it was clear one subject would require special attention. There was such feeling among locals to preserve our maritime heritage that a project was created to document the seafaring families of Mourne – Families at Sea.

While attempting to gather together many different strands of maritime, the project will focus on documenting the incredible contribution that the families of Mourne have made to the Maritime Industries before it is lost forever. We hope to discover what life was like for everyone in these families, for the seamen themselves, and their families at home.

We will also unveil the stories and circumstances of Merchant Seamen. Hundreds of men from this area enlisted in the Merchant Navy. We will display CR-10 Identity cards, telling their story which has been an important chapter in the seafaring history of Mourne. We feel all of these elements provide a fascinating insight into Mourne’s unique maritime environment. The most compelling story though, is that of the people who have lived this story. We hope you enjoy our new interactive exhibition, Families at Sea. (Kilkeel Parish)


Historical documents, especially birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificate records in Belfast. The Registrar’s Office, located in Belfast City Hall, computerised registration records from 1997 to the present day. It holds details of marriage certificates from 1 January 2004 onwards. Records from before these dates are held by the General Register Office, based at Oxford House, 49-55 Chichester Street, Belfast, BT1 4HL. They also have a public research room where you can search through computerised records for a particular event.

The office can help to find information about:

  • Births registered in Northern Ireland from 1 January 1864.
  • Adoptions recorded in the Adopted Children Register Northern Ireland from 1 January 1931.
  • Deaths registered in Northern Ireland from 1 January 1864.
  • Non-Roman Catholic marriages from 1 April 1845, and all marriages from 1 January 1864.
  • Civil partnerships registered in Northern Ireland from 5 December 2005.
  • World War II death indexes from 1939 to 1945

For more information, including details of fees and the types of searches available, call the General Register Office on 028 9151 3101 or visit the NI Direct website.

You can also order certificates online from the General Register Office (Northern Ireland) through the NI Direct Website.

Additional records of births, deaths, adoptions and marriages are held by the General Register Office, based in Dublin. These include:

  • Births registered in Ireland between 1 January 1864 and 31 December 1921, and in Ireland (but excluding Northern Ireland) from 1 January 1922.
  • Deaths registered in Ireland between 1 January 1864 and 31 December 1921, and in Ireland (but excluding Northern Ireland) from 1 January 1922.
  • Non-Roman Catholic marriages from 1 April 1845, and all marriages from 1 January 1864.
  • Marriages registered in Ireland between 1 January 1864 and 31 December 1921, and in Ireland (but excluding Northern Ireland) from 1 January 1922.
  • Legal domestic adoptions registered in Ireland from 10 July 1953.

For more information, including details of fees and the types of searches available, call the General Register Office on +353 90 6632900 or visit the General Register Office Website.


2 Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, BT3 9HQ

In Northern Ireland most information is held by the Public Record Office for Northern Ireland (PRONI) which contains archives dating back to around 1600. This includes church and parish registers, landed estates records, court records and wills, all of which could help with your research. Some material can be researched online through the PRONI website.

Opening times: Mon, Tues, Weds, Fri 9.00am-4.45pm, Thurs 10.00am-8.45pm, closed public holidays.

Tel: (028) 9053 4800 Website:


Ulster Historical Foundation

49 Malone Road, Belfast, BT9 6RY

A non-profit making organisation which promotes interest in Irish genealogy and history, offering knowledge on the sources available for tracing Irish and Scots-Irish ancestors.

Tel: (028) 9066 1988

The Irish Historical Foundation

The Irish Family History Foundation has an all-Ireland network of 33 county genealogy centres, providing local genealogy services for over 25 years. Trained researchers/genealogists carry out commissioned research using county genealogical sources and unique local knowledge. Alternatively, users can search the data and pay to view the details of records at, which contains over 19 million Irish records from the 1600s to the 1900s including births, baptisms, marriages and deaths; Griffith’s Valuation; tithe applotment books, the 1901 and 1911 census records, gravestone inscriptions and other sources. A current list of the available sources for each county can be found on the website, which is designed to assist users in locating records relating to a family in a specific county or in a number of counties.

National Archives

Bishop Street, Dublin

The Genealogy Service is provided free of charge to personal callers. Members of APGI offer expert advice to visitors on their specific family history research, explaining where to go and how to use relevant records. Visitors then go about their research in the Archives or in other repositories and they are welcome to return to the Genealogy Service for further guidance as often as they wish.

Among the many collections in the National Archives of interest to genealogists are the 1901 and 1911 census returns (also online), surviving fragments of the 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851 census returns, transportation records – Ireland to Australia 1788-1868, Landed Estates Court rentals, Griffith’s Valuation, tithe applotment books, testamentary records, many estate papers and microfilm copies of some Church of Ireland parish registers.

General Register Office/Research Room

The GRO holds the civil records of marriage, other than Roman Catholic, from 1845, and birth, death and Roman Catholic marriage from 1864 for all Ireland to 1921, as well as civil records of birth, marriage and death from 1922 for the Republic of Ireland. Civil records of birth, death and marriage from 1922 for Northern Ireland are held at the GRO in Belfast.

Valuation Office

Lower Abbey Street, Dublin

The Valuation Office houses manuscript revisions of Griffth’s Valuation, documenting all changes of occupancy of land from the time of the original survey to recent decades. Corresponding maps are also available. The Valuation Office material is extremely valuable to the family historian, as it charts the history of a family’s property. The material for counties now in Northern Ireland are held in PRONI.

Registry of Deeds

Henrietta Street, Dublin

The Registry of Deeds was established in 1708 to regulate property transactions. Registration of deeds was not obligatory but thousands of transactions were registered throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. They relate mainly to the professional and mercantile classes and ‘strong’ farmers, as well as to the aristocracy and gentry and can be a valuable source for more prosperous families. However, you are much less likely to find a registered deed for a small tenant farmer.

Useful Websites:

This is a government run site with a database of church records relating to many locations in Counties Kerry, Dublin, Carlow and Cork. It also includes some church records for the diocese of Cork and Ross. Further records will also be added to this site.

This website is operated by the Library Council of Ireland and comprises a database of the Griffith’s Valuation, a mid 19th century property valuation survey which includes images of the original and accompanying maps.

This website is run on behalf of the county genealogy centres, providing access to a free index of over 19 million church, civil, land, census, gravestone and ships’ passenger records for most Irish counties. There is a fee to view the full details of any record.

This website is run by the Latter Day Saints Church and contains a database of Irish civil records index of births, deaths and marriages from 1845-1958 which is searchable online.

This website includes over 3.5 million crime and legal records, almost 2 million names in directories and almanacs, and exclusive land and estate records, census substitutes, travel and migration records, and details of Irish who fought overseas.

This website is run by Glasnevin Trust (CHY5849) and contains a database of cemetery and crematoria records from Glasnevin, Goldenbridge, Newlands Cross and Dardistown, dating back to 1832.

www.freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry your ancestry (North of Ireland Family History Society)