Research in Northern Ireland
GRONI holds the civil registers of births, marriages and deaths for Northern Ireland.
In Ireland, all non-Roman Catholic marriages were subject to registration from 1845 onwards. All births, deaths and marriages were subject to registration from 1864 onwards.
Family Tree Leaflet 25 - General Register Office of Northern Ireland (113KB) also provides details on GRONI.
The Presbyterian Historical SocietyThe Presbyterian Historical Society holds printed and manuscript material relating to Presbyterian ministers and families. These include the records of some Presbyterian churches throughout Ireland which have not been copied by PRONI.
The Wesley Historical SocietyThe Wesley Historical Society maintains an extensive archive relating to Methodism in Ireland. It not only holds original records of some individual churches but has excellent runs of Methodist journals and periodicals with indexes to names and places. If you are looking for information on Methodist ministers and preachers then the biographical information collected by the Society will be extremely useful.
Family History CentresThe Family History Centres in Northern Ireland are part of a worldwide network that provides access to the microfilm holdings of the Family History Library of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints based at Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. There are centres in Belfast, Londonderry and Coleraine.
The most important set of records held on microfilm are the early civil registers of births, marriages and deaths, along with their indexes. The originals are held by the General Register Office (Republic of Ireland).
Extensive indexing of microfilms has been carried out to form the International Genealogical Index (IGI), available online. This can be searched by name or county. The Irish section is available in microfiche form in PRONI (main PRONI Reference MF/1/6C -1992 edition only).
Assistance in to using the facilities is provided at the Family History Centres , but they will not undertake research on your behalf nor can they handle mail enquiries.
Access is free. See General Information Leaflet - Indexes to the Civil Registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths held at the Family History Centre, Holywood Road, Belfast (22KB) for further details.
Irish Genealogy Project CentresThe four Irish Genealogy Project Centres in Northern Ireland are part of a network of county based family history research centres under the auspices of the Irish Family History Foundation .
The centres are:
- Derry Genealogy Centre based in Londonderry City
for County Londonderry
- Irish World based in Coalisland, County Tyrone
for Counties Fermanagh and Tyrone
- Armagh Ancestry based in Armagh City
for County Armagh
- Ulster Historical Foundation based in Belfast
for Counties Antrim and Down, including Belfast
Each centre has developed computerised indexes to a range of records for their particular county or counties - church records, civil registers of births, marriages and deaths, census records, tithe records, valuation records and gravestone inscriptions etc.
You can either visit a centre in person to request a search, or email the appropriate centre who will carry out a search in their databases for a fee.
See the Irish Family History Foundation website for details of the Irish Genealogy Centres and the Irish Genealogy Ltd. website, where you can search the Central Signposting Index .
The North of Ireland Family History Society LibraryThe North of Ireland Family History Society library stocks books, journals and periodicals of interest to the family historian. These include street directories, gravestone inscriptions and published indexes.
The library is for branch and associate members only, but the Society now has 11 branches if you wish to join.
You can also access indexes to church records compiled by the Society - indexes to the civil registers of births, 1922-71, and deaths, 1956-71, for Northern Ireland.
The North of Ireland Family History Society website includes an index to ‘census strays’ – people who were born in Ireland but who are recorded in English census returns. However, the entries rarely record the exact address in Ireland.
The Linen Hall Library, BelfastThe Linen Hall Library is the last subscribing library in Ireland and the oldest in Belfast. Its collections comprise over 350,000 books, periodicals, pamphlets and newspapers. The Irish and local studies collections and printed material relating to genealogy and heraldry are particularly noteworthy. Of special interest to the family historian are:
- the histories of individual families
- copies of Hart’s army lists, 1843-75 with gaps
- the Greeves pedigrees
- indexes to births, marriages and deaths in the Belfast Newsletter, 1738-1864 and 1945-60
Only members can borrow books, but non-members are free to consult the collections.
The Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk ParkThe Centre for Migration Studies is the leading institution for the study of Irish migration. It is not primarily a genealogical centre but its extensive specialist library of periodicals and books may be of assistance to the family historian. It also holds copies of Griffith’s printed Valuation lists for Northern Ireland on microfiche.
The most important resource that the Centre has created is its Irish Emigration Database - a computerised collection of primary source documents on Irish Emigration to North America (USA and Canada) in the 18th and 19th centuries that is fully searchable. It contains transcripts or digital images of almost all the emigrant letters in PRONI (as well as others not in PRONI), emigrant advertisements and articles in newspapers, passenger lists, government reports, etc. The database can only be accessed at the Centre itself, Northern Ireland’s public libraries and PRONI.