Guide to National Archives of Ireland

Finding Aids and Reference Material


Finding Aids

The principal finding aids to records in the National Archives fall into five groups:

(a) Lists of particular records, for example, lists of census records, lists of Valuation Office records.

(b) Indexes of records by person, family, place or subject, for example, card indexes to testamentary records, card index to National Schools records.

(c) Registers and indexes prepared by the bodies which accumulated the records, for example, registers and indexes to the Registered Papers of the Chief Secretary's Office.

(d) Location lists and indexes which indicate the locations of particular records, for example, the Miscellaneous Index.

(e) Shelf lists describing records kept at particular locations, for example, the 1A shelf list.

Most finding aids of types (a)-(c) are on open access in the Reading Room, although some such as the Testamentary Index must be sought at the desk. Finding aids of types (d)-(e) are generally reserved for staff use. Call dockets should include the title of a record, or an accepted abbreviation, with other particulars and reference number where appropriate. Staff will confirm that sufficient details have been entered on dockets, and will add a location reference where necessary. When citing records, particularly in publications, it is advisable to specify reference number, with prefix and other information where relevant, for example, CEN 1901, Co Kerry, 38/2/5. If a record has no reference number, its title only should be given, for example, Lodge's Records of the Rolls, Volume 3. Location references, for example, 1A/48/72, need not be cited, as they are subject to change if material is moved from one location to another. In order to avoid confusion with counterpart institutions internationally, it is recommended that the title National Archives should be abbreviated NAI in citations, the 'I' standing for 'Ireland'.

Reports and Guides

Descriptions, lists, abstracts and some full copies of records lost in 1922 will be found in the following official publications:

1st-19th Reports of the Irish Record Commission, London 1811-30.

1st-55th Reports of the Deputy Keeper of Public Records in Ireland, Dublin 1869-1928.

Herbert Wood, A Guide to the Records Deposited in the Public Record Office of Ireland, Dublin 1919.

Summaries of records saved in 1922 and details of records acquired from that date onwards will be found in the following publications:

55th-59th Reports of the Deputy Keeper of the Public Records in Ireland, Dublin 1928-62.

Margaret C Griffith, A Short Guide to the Public Record Office of Ireland, 1964.

A Short Guide to the National Archives, undated (incomplete typescript draft).

1st-4th Reports of the National Archives Advisory Council, Dublin 1990-4 (brief reports not detailing accessions); see also Strategic Plan for the National Archives, Dublin 1996.

Miscellaneous Publications

The following are some useful publications issued by the former Public Record Office of Ireland and State Paper Office, now unfortunately out of print:

The Famine: Ireland 1845-51, Facsimile Documents, 1982.

The Rebellion of 1798: Facsimile Documents, 1979.

The Public Record: Sources for Local Studies in the Public Record Office of Ireland, 1982.

Transportation: Ireland-Australia 1798-1848, 1983.

Other publications throwing light on the holdings of the National Archives include the following:

R J Hayes Editor, Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation, 11 Volumes, Boston 1965; First Supplement, 3 Volumes, Boston 1979.

Margaret D Falley, Irish and Scotch-Irish Ancestral Research, 2 Volumes, Strasburg, Virginia, 1962.

R Dudley Edwards and Mary O'Dowd, Sources for Early Modern Irish History, 1534-1641, Cambridge 1985.

Deirdre Lindsay and David Fitzpatrick, Records of the Irish Famine: A Guide to Local Archives 1840-55, Dublin 1993.

Andrés Eiríksson and Cormac Ó Gráda, Estate Records of the Irish Famine: A Second Guide to Famine Archives 1840-55, Dublin 1995.

Donal F Begley Editor, Irish Genealogy: A Record Finder, Dublin 1981.

John Grenham, Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, Dublin 1992.

James G Ryan, Irish Records: Sources for Family and Local History, Salt Lake City 1997 Edition.

Directories and Reference Works

A useful selection of trade and street directories relating to Dublin and major cities and towns is held in the Reading Room, and all except the earlier pre-1840 volumes are on open access. Titles include the following:

Gentleman's and Citizen's Almanack, 1733-1830s.

Wilson's Dublin Directory 1752-1830s.

Pettigrew & Oulton's Dublin Almanac 1841-7.

Thom's Directory 1848-date.

Pigot's Directory 1824.

Slater's Directory, 1846, 1894.

Other useful printed reference works on the open shelves in the Reading Room include the following:

A selection of publications of the Irish Manuscripts Commission, including its journal Analecta Hibernica 1930-, Registry of Deeds Abstracts of Wills, Convert Rolls, and volumes of the Civil Survey and Books of Survey and Distribution for some counties.

Census Reports 1821-1911, containing population statistics only.

Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland, 2 volumes, London 1837.

A E Casey Editor, O'Kief, Coshe Mang, 16 volumes, Birmingham, Alabama, 1959-69, containing indexed genealogical sources relating mainly to north-west Cork and north-east Kerry.

Parish Register Society of Dublin, Registers of SS Michan, John, Peter & Kevin.

Cantwell's Memorials of the Dead, Counties Wicklow and Wexford, Egan's Memorials of the Dead, Dublin City and County, and a single volume Memorial Inscriptions from St James's Graveyard, Dublin (all typescript).

Calendars of Patent Rolls, Statute Rolls, Justiciary Rolls.

Henry Cotton, Fasti Ecclesiae Hiberniae, 4 volumes and supplement, Dublin 1851-78 (succession lists of Church of Ireland bishops and senior clergy).

Ordnance Survey, One-Inch Scale Maps, 4 volumes.

Public Record Offices of Northern Ireland and England

For details of records, some of southern relevance, held in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, see the following:

Guide to the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast 1991.

Guide to Landed Estate Records, 2 volumes, Belfast 1994.

Ian Maxwell, Tracing Your Ancestors in Northern Ireland, Edinburgh 1997.

Reports of the Deputy Keeper of the Records, 1960-in progress.

For details of records of Irish relevance in the Public Record Office in London, see the following:

Jane Cox and Timothy Padfield, Tracing Your Ancestors in the Public Record Office, London 1985.

Guide to the Contents of the Public Record Office, London 1968.

Alice Prochaska, Irish History from 1700: a Guide to Sources in the Public Record Office, London 1986.