Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths Registered in Ireland


Civil registration of all births, marriages and deaths began on 1st January 1864, but registration of non-Catholic marriages began earlier in 1845. The period within which the event needed to be registered depended upon the nature of the event. Births needed to be notified within three weeks and registered within three months; marriages needed to be registered within three days; and deaths needed to be notified within one week and registered within three weeks. Although registration was a legal obligation imposed on the general public, and enforced by fines, it is important to bear in mind that not all births, marriages and deaths were registered. This deficiency was particularly acute in the poorer remote rural areas where the social emphasis was on traditional and religious observance of lifeís events, and continued into the twentieth century

The political administrative divisions of County and Civil Parish were augmented in the early nineteenth century by new territorial divisions designed to effectively administer the emerging system of health and social welfare, and these new divisions were subsequently adapted for civil registration. 163 Poor Law Unions were established by the Poor Law Relief Act of 1838 to provide relief for the most destitute citizens in the locality, and comprised the catchment area around a large market town in which a Work House was built. Each Poor Law Union was named after the town at its centre, and all landowners were obliged to pay a land-based tax to help support the local paupers. The territory described by each Poor Law Union was defined by the area around the town and tended to ignore existing territorial boundaries, so they often included portions of two or more neighbouring counties. The Poor Law Unions were each further subdivided into about half a dozen Dispensary Districts by the Medical Charities Act of 1851. These smaller areas each provided a medical officer responsible for public health in the district.

Civil registration of the entire country was administered by the Registrar General, who compiled the national records from the regional records forwarded quarterly by each of the 163 Superintendent Registrars. Each Superintendent Registrar administered a Superintendent Registrarís District (later known simply as Registration District) which corresponded to the local Poor Law Union. Similarly, each Superintendent Registrar received quarterly returns from Registrars who recorded the local births and deaths in each Dispensary District and received records of local marriages from the priests in the district. The civil registration system has survived largely unchanged to the present day, and is administered by the Department of Health by virtue of its origination in the Victorian health system

In the period 1845 to 1863, there are scant (typically one or two per year; sometimes none at all) registered marriages for Flannerys / Flannellys because non-Catholics were a very small minority. The number of recorded marriages increased significantly in 1864 with the inclusion of Catholic marriages (typically around two dozen per year). The recorded number of marriages remained fairly steady over the years because the natural population increase was held in check by emigration. From 1878, the annual returns were subdivided by quarter, and from 1882 they were augmented by records pertaining to Irish citizens living abroad whilst serving in the Army. From 1903, the birth records included the motherís maiden name, and from 1922 the records for Counties Derry, Antrim, Down, Armagh, Fermanagh and Tyrone were kept solely in Northern Ireland.

This index was published in 2006 for the period 1845/64 to 1901, and has been extended online to 1935 to take advantage of the recent digitisation of the 1901 and 1911 census returns by the Irish National Archives. Our transcripts have stopped at 1935 in accordance with the "75 Years Rule" for privacy of living persons. We intend to publish the 1901 - 1935 supplement at the Clan Gathering in Ennis on 25th July 2010.


Births (1864 - 1935) | Marriages (1845 - 1935) | Deaths (1864 - 1935)

These Index transcripts are intended to be a Finding Aid for researchers. In due course, it is hoped that the actual register entries might be transcribed, but there are no plans to undertake this mammoth task in the near future. The Index of Births, Marriages and Deaths has now been completed and is now available online (click links above). Click here to view a summary table listing the relevant Registration Districts and the Counties to which they pertain, complete with an analysis of the distribution of Flannerys and Flannellys throughout Ireland in the periods 1845/65 to 1901 and 1901 to 1935.