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Records not held in PRONI

Selection of guides available in the PRONI search room Volumes in a PRONI strongroom Visitors conducting research in the PRONI reading room
There are some records relating to Northern Ireland which the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) does not hold for a number of reasons.  Some of these records are held elsewhere, whilst others are no longer in existence.  If you are in doubt, contact us and we will confirm whether or not we hold a particular set of records – if not we will try to advise if these can be accessed elsewhere.

Key records not held by PRONI (but available elsewhere)

The following list, although not exhaustive, indicates the most significant records NOT in the custody of PRONI:

Births, Death and Marriage Certificates (Civil Registration)

The General Register Office of Northern Ireland (GRONI) is responsible for birth, marriage and death Registers from 1864, and non-Roman Catholic marriages from 1845, to the present day.  The GRONI website Opens a new browser window. provides details on how to apply for copies of a birth, marriage or death certificate.

1911 Census

The National Archives of Ireland Opens a new browser window. hold the Census Returns for 1911.

Records of the British Armed Forces

The National Archives (UK) Opens a new browser window. in London hold the records of those who served in the British Army, Navy and Air Force, most notably those who fought in the First and Second World Wars.  They also hold militia and yeomanry muster rolls relating to Northern Ireland.  Please note: other militia and police records which ARE in the custody of PRONI include:
  • Royal Irish Constabulary archive
    Available on microfilm in PRONI.
  • Various Militia, Yeomanry lists and Muster Rolls
    Available for each of the six counties, later comprising Northern Ireland.
  • Ulster Home Guard archive
    As this archive is incomplete and un-catalogued it is currently closed to the public, however, it is possible to access information from the archive by making a written request to PRONI.  See a record I want to see is closed for further details.
  • Ulster Special Constabulary archive
    As this archive is incomplete and un-catalogued it is currently closed to the public, however, it is possible to access information from the archive by making a written request to PRONI.  See a record I want to see is closed for further details.

Adoption records

These records are held in the custody of the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service. If you are seeking adoption records, you can contact PRONI and we will provide you with the relevant contact details.  GRONI Opens a new browser window. also holds an adoption register.

Land Registers of Northern Ireland

Details of (registered) property ownership in Northern Ireland may be found at Land Registry Office, Belfast Opens a new browser window..

Records held in other institutions (general)

A wide range of records relating to Northern Ireland can be found at various institutions across the UK, Ireland and further afield.  Our useful links page lists web addresses for many such organisations.  Where else can I research my family history also identifies a variety of useful organisations and institutions, giving a brief overview of their holdings/services.
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Records which have been destroyed/no longer exist

Unfortunately, some important records are no longer in existence mainly due to:

Fire in the Four Courts, Dublin, 1922

The destruction of the Public Record Office of Ireland in the Four Courts, Dublin (as the result of a fire during civil disturbance in 1922) left a considerable gap in the archival heritage of Northern Ireland.  Many important records were lost, including:
  • The census returns from 1821 to 1851
    A small number of volumes survived, covering parts of Co. Fermanagh and Cavan in 1821; parts of Co. Londonderry and for Killeshandra Parish in County Cavan for 1831; and for parts of County Antrim for 1851.  These are available in PRONI under the main reference number MIC/5A.  Extracts from the 1841 and 1851 census returns can be found in the Old Age Pension books – those for Northern Ireland are in PRONI under the main reference number T/550 see Your Family Tree Leaflet 5 - Census Records (19th Century) (27KB) Adobe PDF formatted document Opens a new browser window. for further details.
  • Pre-1858 original wills, administration bonds and marriage licence bonds
    Although the original wills, administration bonds and marriage licence bonds were destroyed, indexes survived in manuscript and printed form.  Those for the dioceses covering Northern Ireland are available in PRONI - it is therefore possible to extract some details about individuals from these indices.  Copies of many destroyed wills can also be found in various privately deposited archives.
  • Church of Ireland parish records
    The records of 1,006 Church of Ireland parishes, originally deposited in the Public Record Office of Ireland in Dublin, were largely destroyed in 1922. However, most of those relating to Northern Ireland (and several from the Republic of Ireland) that survived are available in PRONI either on microfilm or in original form.  Those surviving for the majority of parishes in the Republic of Ireland can be accessed at the National Archives of Ireland Opens a new browser window. in Dublin.

The destruction of census records by Government order

Census returns covering the whole island of Ireland for the years 1861-1891 were destroyed by order of the Government on grounds of confidentiality.
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