Posted by Ancestry Team on March 1, 2016 in Collections

We are pleased to announce 10 million historic Catholic Parish records from Ireland have been indexed and are now available online.

This is the largest collection of its kind available digitally, and means that Ancestry now offers access to more than 55 million Irish records – making it a significant resource for people around the world tracing their Irish roots.

Baptismal record for James Joyce, source:, published under the National Library of Ireland's Terms of Use of Material made available on
Baptismal record for James Joyce, source:, Published under the National Library of Ireland’s Terms of Use of Material made available on

Indexed from digital images created by the National Library of Ireland (NLI), the Ireland, Catholic Parish Registers 1655-1915 collection includes baptism, marriage, burial and confirmation records from more than 1,000 parishes, and over 3,500 registers, in Ireland. This is the first time that the collection has been indexed with the original images linked online.

Written in either English or Latin[i], the records include details such as name, date and place of baptism, marriage and burials, family relationships, elusive maiden names for mothers and wives, names of sponsors (God parents) and witnesses – information that can provide clues to other family relationships. Other notes of relevant information were also recorded by some of the parishes – including going back and recording the marriage of a person alongside their baptismal record as well as notes about emigration and which country the person settled in.

Included in collection are baptism records pertaining to prominent Irish names including:

  • James JoyceNovelist and poet Joyce, best known for his 1922 modernist novel ‘Ulysses’, was born in Terenure, Dublin. His baptismal record is recorded in latin – Jacobus Augustinus Joyce, the 5th of February 1882.
  • Arthur Griffith Politician and Journalist. Griffith founded Sinn Fein in 1905, and went on to be President of Dail Eireann. Baptized Arthur Joseph Griffith on the 12th of April 1871 in Dublin City.
  • James HobanBest known for designing the White House, Hoban was baptized on the 18th of April 1755. Previously his birth year has been merely speculated from his obituary so it is great to uncover the original baptismal record for Hoban.
Baptismal record for James Hoban, source:, published under the National Library of Ireland’s Terms of Use of Material made available on

In providing the collection online, Ancestry indexed 373,000 digital images compiled from 3,500 different parish registers across Ireland. Indexing the images means that the handwritten information from the original records has been transcribed so each name can be easily searched and accessed digitally.


QUOTES from Rhona Murray, Family Historian at Ancestry:

  • “This is the single most important collection for tracing Roman Catholic ancestors in Ireland from the 17th to the early 20th centuries. By 1891, the majority of the country was Catholic, so these records provide key details on most of the population over this time period.”
  • “We are delighted to make this collection available online through Ancestry, and in doing so help anyone with Irish roots – no matter where they are in the world – to discover more about their family history. With the addition of these 10 million records we now provide the largest online collection of Irish Catholic parish records globally, allowing people to save a lot of time researching their family tree from the comfort of their own home.”
  • “Indexing makes the search process so much easier. When researching these parish images previously you would need to browse them image by image which can be akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Now it is possible to search for a name and have the results presented within seconds. The power to dig into your family tree has never been easier.”


[i] For help understanding the Latin entries please see this glossary of common terms:



  1. Joyce

    While I realize TONS of Irish are RC there are a lot who were also COI (church of Ireland) …I WISH someone would start getting THESE records on line…as my ancestors were COI and it is virtually impossible to find info on them.

  2. Chip Kalb

    And let’s not forget the Wesleyan Methodists, too! They had been active in Ireland since the days of John Wesley.

  3. Jim

    I wonder if any Protestant births or marriages show up anywhere. My Irish were Protestant from county Donegal, Ireland. Did the parishes record anything other than catholic “ceremonies”?

  4. Allison W

    Ancestry used to have a limited amount of RC church registers. They had my Murphy’s listed in Donaghmore Parish, Co. Donegal, when it was actually Co. Tyrone. Even though it was labeled incorrectly you could tell where they were from. Those images were color and clear as a bell. Now with this new release they have replaced the clear images with poorly scanned, fuzzy, some unreadable images. Way to go Ancestry!

  5. Toni Huggins

    I am very pleased with the addition of the Irish church registers.
    Is there any possibility of getting RC church registers in England? There is a group in England currently digitizing church registers but they are mostly Non-Catholic.

  6. MaryAnn

    Transcription errors were made when the births in the Kilfian Parish of County Mayo were abstracted. The father’s surname has been abstracted as the mother’s. Example: Parish Register – 1830 Feb 24 Anthony Walsh son to Martin & Mary Gallagher . . . Abstracted: Father’s surname: Gallagher.
    Example: Parish Register – 1833 June 21 Mary Donnelly daughter to Pat & Mary Quinn . . . Abstracted Father’s surname Quinn.

    • Member Services Social Support Team

      @John: Civil Registration of births in Ireland only started in 1864. Prior to this year, we rely on baptismal records to trace our ancestor’s births. As these baptismal records were not certified, unfortunately there is no way of obtaining a certified copy.

  7. Brian John Bunker

    Of course these records are not exclusive to Ancestry. So I search FindMyPast as their searches are much clearer

  8. vedant

    In order to get help and support while using windows 10 so you may switch to this platform remember passwords in egde which is known to be hub of all advantageous information. Try out for once surely you will be having all useful information.

  9. Clara Albert

    The most established Catholic church records hail from the more prosperous and Anglicized eastern portion of the island. Registers for more unfortunate and all the more thickly populated areas in the west and north frequently don’t begin until the mid-nineteenth century.

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