In my previous post, I referred to obtaining the death record for my ancestor, Thomas Kenny. In this post I will share how Irish civil registration records can be obtained. Civil registration of non-Catholic marriages began in 1845 and registration of all births, marriages and deaths began in 1864. Church records are the best source of records of these events prior to the beginning of civil registration. Also, keep in mind that in the early years of civil registration, many births, marriages and deaths were never registered.
Today, there are two Irelands, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. Prior to 1922, there was only one Ireland, so all the records prior to 1922 are in the same indices. These indices are searchable for free at www.familysearch.org under Record Collections. The searchable indices were created by transcribing the digital images of microfilm copies of the original records. The following is the death record I found for Thomas Kenny
name: Thomas Kenny
registration district: Boyle
event type: DEATHS
registration quarter and year: 1871
estimated birth year: 1800
age (at death): 71
mother’s maiden name:
film number: 101585
volume number: 14
page number: 45
digital folder number: 4200217
image number: 00404
Collection: “Ireland, Civil Registration Indexes, 1845-1958,” Thomas Kenny, 1800 citing vol. 14, p. 45, General Registry, Custom House, Dublin, Ireland; FHL microfilm 101585
This record is one of seven records that all list Thomas Kenny who died in 1871 in various locations in Ireland. The registration districts for birth, marriages and deaths were the same as the Poor Law Unions. Since Skeanavart is in the Poor Law Union of Boyle, I was fairly sure the above record was the one I was looking for. There is an excellent book for making sense of the various political jurisdictions within Ireland. It is called, A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland by Brian Mitchell published by Genealogical Publishing Co., Inc. Mitchell’s book does not include the townlands, so another source is needed to determine which civil parish contains the townland. A townland is the smallest Irish land division. I have found the website http://www.leitrim-roscommon.com/index.shtml very helpful for locating townlands within the counties of Leitrim and Roscommon
Since microfilm 101585 is an index film and not a film of certificates, it doesn’t contain anymore information than the above transcription, so looking at the film itself wouldn’t provide any additional information. The Family History Library in Salt Lake City has microfilms of Irish death certificates but they only include the years of 1864 to 1870. This transcription does contain all the information needed to get a copy of the death record from The General Registration Office in Roscommon, Ireland. Go to their website: http://www.groireland.ie where application to obtain certificates can be downloaded. There is not a place on the applications for certificates to include the volume number and page number that you find in the index but be sure to include them. There are several copy options but the best and least expensive is a photocopy. All the other options are transcriptions. Whenever anything is transcribed, there is a risk that it will not be copied correctly.
The Family History Library microfilms include images of marriage certificates for the years 1845 to 1870 and birth certificates between the years 1864 to 1955 except for the years 1881-1900, the first quarter of 1909 and 1914-1929.
Another source of transcribed Irish civil and church records is the website for the Irish Family History Foundation http://www.rootsireland.ie/. This site requires payment but fees are reasonable and there are some records for which they are the best source. This website gives examples of records you are purchasing.