The Joy of Baptism

I was asked by one of my Facebook followers if I could write a blog about baptism records, so here it is.  Rather than starting this blog from scratch, it’s an extract from sections of my course ‘Making Sense of Birth Records’ which covers civil records, church records and other great sources.

Church records or parish records are the most tricky and frustrating resources that you will come across when searching for Your Irish Family History.  Civil registrations for births, marriages and deaths came into effect in 1864.  Prior to this date, us family historian have to rely on church records.  The Church of Ireland was the state church until 1870.  After dis-establishment, any church records before 1870 were regarded as public records. As a result, a large number of registers were moved centrally to the Public Record Office and were unfortunately destroyed by the fire in 1922.

Also, the dates at which the Catholic parish registers start at varies considerably.  As an example, the baptism records for the Parish of Glanmire in Cork began in 1818, St Finbarr’s Parish in Cork City in 1756 and the Parish of Newmarket in Cork in 1833.  In addition to the quality, or lack thereof of information in some of these records, not all the registers survived.  You will also find that a lot of the early registers are written in latin so you will have to brush up on your latin skills.

So, where can you find the records that did survive.

Baptism records are available on the following free sites;

Baptism records on this site cover the following areas and are indexed;

Irish Church Records

NLI Parish Registers – click here

This site has an extensive range of parish registers but they are not indexed.  So, unless you know the parish and the approximate year, you will end up having to perform a long manual search page by page.

RCBI Library – click here

The Representative Church Body of Ireland has the largest range of original registers in their library.  They also have a great index to which registers survived so can save you a lot of time by not searching for records that just don’t exist.

The normal fee-paying sites of Ancestry and Findmypast have various ranges dates of Irish church baptismal registers.  The most extensive range of indexed church registers is on Roots Ireland and they have baptismal records up to 1925.

Looking for your ancestor’s baptismal record can be a tricky adventure.  If you have a civil birth record, it can definitely help point you in the right direction.  Patience is definiately a viture when is comes to church records.

If you would like to learn more about Irish family history research but are unsure where an online course is for you, you can try out my FREE course ‘An Introduction to Birth Records’ which will give you a flavour of what you can expect from our courses.  People find the step-by-step guides and video tutorials particularly helpful as they can be replayed over and over again.  You can check out our full range of courses HERE

As always, any questions, just ask !


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