Irish Roman Catholic Parish Records

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I was talking to a friend on New Years Eve and I asked him about the Roman Catholic Parish records that the National Library of Ireland are going to put online in the Summer of 2015.

2 pages of a Roman Catholic parish register

2 pages of a Roman Catholic parish register

“Who is transcribing these records?” I asked,
“Is it going to be anything like the census returns where people who are not Irish are trying to read the records?”

“Ah no, Jane” replies my friend, ‘They are scanning the record microfilms and going to put them online”

“What?” ses I, “You’re joking”

People who are not familiar with Irish Roman Catholic parish records have this notion that all records were maintained methodically, they think we have the full names of the parents listed in baptismal records, that the maiden name of the mother is given, that we have the address of the parents, they think that all this information is given in our parish records – *but* – they are wrong.

I’m going to show you some photographs of parish records as we see them when we are reviewing the microfilms – a picture speaks a thousand words as my supervisor used to say when I was working on my PhD., so these images can speak their own story.

Believe it or not, the image that you see here ‘Parish record 3’ is a copy of am actual page in a microfilm  of parish records.  These images above are what we see when looking at microfilms of parish records. The ink can be very very faded, impossible to read.  Bits can be missing.  Searching through records, finding information is not an easy task.  I go to records now which I have worked on in the past and sometimes I read words differently than the way I did before.  Reading these records can depend on your experience.

These next three images just show you the same as before.  You can see the differences in the script, the way the records are laid out and I guess that’s all I really wanted to show you.  Yes, the flash from my phone is shining on the images but that does not change what we are looking at.  Yes, there are means of making it easier to read the writing on these pages when you are sitting at a microfilm reader but I am not getting in to that here.

There are approximately 1,161 sets of microfilms of Roman Catholic Parish records to go online in the Summer of 2015.  I’ve taken a quick look through the index I have of parish records and picked out the oldest set of records for each county.I’m putting this list on this page.  If you want to see what other records exist for the county you are interested in, then go to that county page on this website and I may have a full list of the Roman Catholic parish records for that county on that page.

Best of luck to you all

The oldest set of Roman Catholic parish records for each county in Ireland run as follows

Antrim: 1821
Armagh : 1796
Carow 1763
Cavan 1752
Clare 1802
Cork South West 1788
Cork East 1748
Cork North west 1803
Derry 1822
Donegal 1773
Down 1785
Dublin 1726
Fermanagh 1836
Galway East 1804
Gawlway West 1690 (9 months only) goes to 1723 then
Kerry 1782
Kildare 1771
Kilkenny 1754
Laois (Queen’s Co) 1765
Leitrm 1820
Limerick East 1745
Limerick West 1776
Longford 1779
Louth 1744
Mayo 1823
Meath 1742
Monaghan 1835
Offaly (King’s Co) 1795
Roscommon 1793
Sligo 1796
Tipperary South 1742
Tipperary North 1792
Tyrone 1783
Waterford 1706
Westmeath 1741
Wexford 1671
Wicklow 1743

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