Journal Volume 3 2000
Searching For Your Ancestors (continued/1)
General Register Office
The General Register Office in Lombard Street is probably your first stop. Civil registration of births, marriages and deaths started in Ireland in 1864 (Protestant marriages from 1845). In the early days of registration there were omissions, perhaps as many as 10%. Upstairs in the Research Room you may consult the indexes for a modest fee. After the first few years, the volumes are divided into four quarters. so be sure that you have checked all sections. When you have identified an entry in the index, complete a form, pay your fee of IR£ 1.50, and wait for a photocopy of the full certificate. This office is sometimes busy, space is limited, and it becomes very hot. Be prepared to strip off, and have patience: your turn will come.
From the certificates obtained in the General Register Office, much useful information can be gained. A birth certificate gives the mother's maiden name, and the address, among other details. A marriage certificate provides the names of groom and bride, as well as addresses and occupations. A death certificate gives age at death (not always accurate), as well as cause, and place.
A large Marine Register gives the details of those who died at sea in Irish waters, and makes sad reading when boatloads were drowned. A common cause of death years ago was "falling from aloft".
Parish Records may well be your next source when you think you have found all available details in the G.P.O.
There is a plan afoot to index and computerise all church records for the whole of Ireland - the Irish Genealogical Project. Heritage Centres in each county, with the help of FAS students, are working their way through the records, and may be able to help if you know the relevant parish. The centre for Co. Wicklow is situated in the Court House in Wicklow town, and will be a valuable asset. Claire Crowther in Bray has indexed all the Bray records, and for a small fee, she will look up entries for you.
In the mean time, you can look up Catholic parish records on microfilm in the National Library, once you have armed yourself with a Reader's Ticket, available during office hours. Some dioceses are `Closed’; i.e. you must first obtain written permission from the parish priest or the bishop, before you can consult the microfilm. These baptismal and marriage records provide the minimum of information, and can be very hard to decipher - but persist, and you will grow accustomed to the vagaries of each different set of records. The Church of Ireland records are in various different centres. The National Archives have some of them on microfilm. Some parish records are with the Representative Church Body in the library in Braemor Park. Unfortunately some Church of Ireland registers have been lost forever, blown up in 1922 by the explosion in the Four Courts, where they had been lodged for safe keeping.
Christ Church, Delgany, is fortunate in having registers that are among the earliest in the whole country, from 1666, and of course these early records cover Greystones parish that was carved out of the Delgany parish in the middle of the last century.