8 Days of Irish Research: RC Church Records

This is the second post in the series 8 Days of Irish Research.

John O'Connell_Baptismal Register_closeup
National Library of Ireland, Roman Catholic Parish Registers, Dromtarriffe

The National Library of Ireland released the Roman Catholic Church Records (or registers) in July of 2015. It is a wonderful database that has helped many with their family research. In order to use these records on the NLI website, you have to know the parish your family came from. (Remember yesterday’s post about Defining the Land).

It is important to know that the NLI does not house an index for these records! Do not fear, an index is available through Ancestry and FindMyPast! Both of these websites have benefits to their users, feel free to use the one that works best for you.

FindMyPast (FMP)

Some tips for using the FMP index:

  • The index is not linked to the images on the NLI website.
  • You will need to take the information you find here to the NLI website and use the filters to find the image for your ancestor.
  • It is important to note the date you are looking for because some of the registers are hard to read and looking at the dates can help you find the record you are looking for.
  • This transcription only gives you the parents names and not those of the sponsors.
  • You can not search by family groups, only for a single person.


Some tips for using the Ancestry index:

  • The index is linked to images.
  • You can search by family.
  • The sponsors are indexed too.Roman Catholic Records

Other Things to Note

  1. The Catholic church records are in Latin, if you do not know Latin I would recommend using google translate to assist you with finding the latin version of your ancestors first name. Once you have that, you will have an easier time reading the church registers. FamilySearch has a Latin Genealogical Word List that can be helpful to you and your research.
  2. Take note of who the sponsors are in each church event your family is listed in. It is very possible that these sponsors are family members. Though I have not been able to verify the sponsors are siblings to my 3x great grandparents, yet, I have been able to verify that a woman who was not married into the family did end up marrying the brother that she was a sponsor with. This is your FAN club, if it is possible to research these people, do it!
  3. If one index is not working for you, move to the other one. Sometimes we need to use multiple indexes to find what we are looking for.
  4. Surname spelling is not exact. Keep in mind that the priests were spelling names as they heard them, not necessarily how we would be spelling them today. For example, I have a family name that is indexed as Teahan, Fehine, Feehan, and many other variations, according to the original index (on film) this name is actually Fagan. Look for all variations, and keep track of all the ways you find each name.

Good luck in your searching the Roman Catholic Registers!



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