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In a split developed between the Primitive Wesleyan Methodists, who retained their links with the Established Church, and the Wesleyan Methodists, who allowed their ministers to administer baptisms. Although incomplete, it contains baptisms from to that often pre-date the existing baptismal registers of Methodist churches. Baptismal registers The basic information provided in a baptismal register is the name of the child, the name of the father and the date of baptism.

The occupation of the father and the date of birth of the child may also be provided. Roman Catholic registers will normally give the names of the sponsors of the child. The Catholic baptism records for the diocese of Down and Connor, and to some extent the diocese of Dromore, contain valuable annotaions to baptismal records, which often give details of the marriage of the indvidual concerned.

Such records are an invaluable source for tracing Catholic ancestors. Researchers can maximise the research benefits of these records by using the Foundation's online pay-to-view baptisms and marriages search facility: www.

Marriage registers Prior to the standardisation of marriage registers after for non-Catholics and for Catholics, these will give in their simplest form the date of the marriage and the names of the bride and groom. The residence and the name of the father of each party are often provided.

The names of the witnesses may also be given. Burial registers Burial registers can be fairly uninformative, with the name of the deceased, the date of burial and occasionally the occupation and age at death given.

Genealogy Research

Vestry minute books Vestry minute books record the deliberations of the parish vestry and will be found, where they survive, with the Church of Ireland records for a particular parish. The role of the vestry included the upkeep of the Church of Ireland church, the maintenance of roads in the parish and the care of the destitute and abandoned children.

The money to pay for these things was raised through a cess or tax on the land in the parish. Vestry minute books are a rich source of information on life in a parish in bygone times. Occasionally they will include a list of the names of the parishioners drawn up for taxation purposes. The first census was held in Ireland in and thereafter every ten years until Unfortunately, the earliest census that survives in its entirety for the whole of Ireland is the census. Census returns were almost entirely lost in in the destruction of the Public Record Office in Dublin. Census returns were completely destroyed by government order, many during the First World War.

The first census after the partition of Ireland was held in in both Northern Ireland and what was then known as the Irish Free State. It now appears that the census for Northern Ireland has been destroyed. The original returns of the and censuses are deposited at the National Archives in Dublin and are now available online at www.

The information in the census is listed under the following headings: name; relationship to the head of the household; religion; literacy; occupation; age; marital status; county of birth or country if born outside Ireland ; and ability to speak English or Irish. The census additionally includes the number of years a wife was married, the number of children born and the number still living.

This provides a detailed guide to records from the 17th and 18th centuries. Hearth money rolls, s In the s the government introduced a tax on hearths as a means of raising revenue. The returns, arranged by parish and usually with townland locations, list the names of all householders paying this tax survive for half the counties in Ireland with coverage most complete in Ulster in full or in part for all counties except Down. Some parishes are also divided into townlands.

Some of the more diligent rectors listed every townland and every household, but many drew up only numerical totals of the population. Petition of Protestant Dissenters, The Petition of Protestant Dissenters is a list of names of Dissenters on either a parish or a congregational basis which were submitted to the government in October and November Until relatively recently Ireland was an overwhelmingly rural society and even today the influence of the countryside is much stronger than in most western European countries.

Until the early part of the twentieth century, most of the land in Ireland, was split between a large number of landed estates. Nearly everyone who farmed in Ireland was a tenant on one of these estates, leasing their holding, if not from the landlord himself, then from a middleman or subtenant of the landlord. The records generated by the management of landed estates are a major source of genealogical information.

For several of the larger estates there are excellent records. For many of the smaller estates, however, there are relatively few records available for inspection in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. Some categories of estate papers are more useful to genealogists than others. Title deeds are concerned with the legal ownership of an estate, and are generally of limited value to genealogists.


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The same can be said of mortgages. However, rentals, leases, lease books, maps and correspondence can all be extremely useful to those searching for their ancestors within landed estate records. Many of those who occupied smallholdings will not appear in estate collections because they did not lease their ground directly from the landlord.

Getting Started with Genealogy – Everything You Need to Know

Instead their few acres were sublet to them by another farmer. While landlords were firmly opposed to the practice of subletting they found it very difficult to stamp out. It does, however, make it almost impossible to identify such people in the historical record. Occasionally they will turn up in correspondence if a landlord was trying to do something about subletting on his estate. Another useful source is the Tithe Valuation of —38 which was a complete valuation of all tithable land in Ireland.

General Notes

The results of this valuation are arranged by parish in the Tithe Applotment Books. Those recorded in the Tithe Applotment Books were generally occupiers of land, i. Landless labourers and those who lived in towns were excluded. Tithes were used to support the Church of Ireland, but were paid by all occupiers of land regardless of denomination. Once the date of death of an ancestor has been discovered, it is worth finding out whether they left a will. Wills contain not only the name, address and occupation of the testator, but can also include details of the larger family network.

Many wills also include the addresses and occupations of the beneficiaries, witnesses and executors. It must be borne in mind, however, that the vast majority of people did not make a will. Pre wills Prior to the Church of Ireland was responsible for administering all testamentary affairs. Ecclesiastical or Consistorial Courts in each diocese were responsible for granting probate and conferring on the executors the power to administer the estate. Each court was responsible for wills and administrations in its own diocese.

Unfortunately, nearly all original wills probated before were destroyed in Dublin in The indexes list the name and residence of the testator and the date that the will was either made or probated. The indexes are arranged by diocese, not by county. Despite the loss of virtually all pre wills, in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland there are over 13, abstracts, extracts and duplicate copies of the originals.

Genealogy FAQ: Ancestral Research Guide - Ulster Historical Foundation

Another useful source for pre wills is the Registry of Deeds in Dublin. A will was usually registered if there were concerns that it was going to be contested. Abstracts of over 2, wills registered between and were published in three volumes by the Irish Manuscripts Commission P. Ellis eds , Abstracts of Wills at the Registry of Deeds — Wills — The testamentary authority of the Church of Ireland was abolished by the Probate Act of Testamentary matters were brought under civil jurisdiction and exercised through District Probate Registries and a Principal Registry in Dublin.

The wills of wealthier members of society tended to be probated at the Principal Registry. The district registries retained transcripts of the wills that they proved and of the administrations intestate that they granted. Thus, while original wills were destroyed in Dublin in , the transcript copies in will books survived.

These calendars are of value to genealogists since they provide the name, address, occupation and date of death of the testator as well as the names, addresses and occupations of the individual or individuals to whom probate was granted, the value of estate and the place and date of probate. Each calendar covers a single year and the entries are in alphabetical order. Even if you have only an approximate date for the death of an ancestor it is worth looking through a number of volumes in the hope of spotting an entry giving details of their will.

Wills from PRONI has in its custody all wills for the districts of Belfast and Londonderry from to, at present, the mids, and Armagh from until it closed in After the original wills and their associated papers are available filed in a separate envelope for each testator. If the person did not make a will there may be letters of administration that give the name, residence and occupation of the deceased as well as the name and address of the person or persons appointed to administer the estate.

Indexes to wills from to can be found on www. A state-run system of education was established in Ireland in Prior to this and for some time after it there were several different organisations and institutions providing education in Ireland. From National Schools were built with the aid of the Commissioners of National Education and local trustees. Some school records remain in local custody, while others have been lost.


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The National Archives in Dublin also has a large collection of school registers for the Republic of Ireland. The most important records as far as schools are concerned are the registers of attendance. A space is also provided in the registers for general comments, which might tell where the children went to work after leaving school or if they emigrated.

Some registers have an index at the front that can greatly ease searching. Some commercial organisations such as: www. All these sites will give the reference needed to obtain a birth, marriage or death, certificate. Prices to view the indexes vary.


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Some of these sites can be viewed free of charge at the Society of Genealogists. Certificates can also be ordered by post and by telephone.