Explore over 300,000 images from the National Library of Ireland’s extensive microfilm collection of parish registers. Search the collection by parish, county, or event type. In the registers, you will find baptisms, marriages, burials, confirmations, and even a small number of parish census records.
The Catholic parish registers were recorded in either English or Latin. Latin was the official language of the Catholic Church until the 1960s. Individuals’ names were often Latinized, for example, the name Patrick will appear as Patricius. Below we have provided some Latin translations to help you read the parish records.
The type of record will determine what you can discover about your ancestor.
The baptism records will provide you with the name of the person who was baptised, the date of the baptism, where the baptism took place, and the name of the individual’s parents. Each register will also show the individual’s address, the parish, and the diocese.
Marriage registers recorded the names of the bride and grooms, the names of the couple’s fathers, marriage date and place, as well as, their residence. For some, the records will reveal the names of the witnesses present. Many of the records will also give you your ancestor’s mother’s maiden name, which will open a new maternal line of family history.
In the burial registers, you will find the individual’s burial date, address, the parish, and the diocese. Many of the burial records will also show an amount of money listed next to the deceased’s name. This money was for the cost of digging a grave and/or a donation to the church. However, not all parish churches had a graveyard, in these cases the monetary amount listed would be a donation.
Congregational records are the smallest record set of the Irish parish registers collection but the most unique. These are records that do not belong with the baptisms, marriages or burials. They feature lists of parishioners, lists of those who have donated to the church and confirmation records. In some parishes, the local priest created small censuses of the local residences across all religions. There are also five parish census records available from Drumconrath, Meath; Eglish, Offaly; Enniscorthy, Wexford; Granard, Longford; and Marshalstown, Wexford.
Findmypast is excited to bring the National Library of Ireland’s (NLI) full Catholic parish registers collection online in this browse format. Since the 1950s, the NLI set forth to capture all the Catholic parish records in Ireland through microfilm. More than 3,500 registers were filmed. Since then, the microfilms have been digitised and are available to view on the library’s website. On Findmypast, we have further indexed the records, which means that they are available for search by name through the individual event record sets. Links to these can be found in the Useful links and resources section.
Over 1,000 parishes have been captured, across Ireland’s 32 counties. Baptism registers account for the largest percentage of the collection, recorded from 1589 to 1916. Less than half the parishes have burial records from before 1900.
Within the records, we find the names of famous Irish men and women, from Arthur Griffith and Joseph Plunkett and Kate Tyrrell. As well as, Irish made famous around the world; such as Australia’s Ned Kelly’s father, John ‘The Red’ Kelly or John Morrissey, known as Old Smoke, the leader of the Dead Rabbits, one of the famous Gangs of New York of the 1850s.
The registers were recorded in either English or Latin. Until the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, Latin was the language of the Catholic Church. Many of the registers recorded events in Latin. The names of individuals were Latinised; therefore, the name Mary may appear in its Latin form as Maria. Below are some Latin phrases or words you may come across in the registers.
A me Infrascripto Parocho vel Vicario - I the undersigned pastor or vicar
Anno Domino – year of Our Lord
Baptizandi Nomen - baptized with the name
Cognomen - surname
Cognomina – surnames
Eorum residentia – their residency
Die - day
Die mensis – day of month
Denuntiationes – denunciations (refers to if there are any impediments to a marriage)
Domicilium - residence
Ex parentibus legitimo Matrimonio junctis - from the parents of a legitimate marriage
Filium legitimum - legitimate son (or child)
Habitantibus in - living in
Impedimentum – hindrance or impediment to the marriage; such as a blood relation
Matrimonium – the sacrament of Holy Matrimony or marriage
Mensis - month
Natus - birth
Nomina parentum – the names of parents
Nomen parochi vel Vicarii – the name of the priest
Nomina sponsorum – the names of the parties
Observanda – observations or notes
Patrinis adstantibus et e - sponsors are standing up
Sponsoribus - sponsors
Testes adfuerunt – witnesses present
In some marriages, special dispensation would have been needed to allow the marriage of two related people. In these cases, their relation will be recorded as consanguinati, blood relations such as cousins, or affinitatus, related by marriage. The degree of relation will also be explained, for example the record may state consanguinati in tertio grado, which means the couple are second cousins.