Early Irish Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes Reach a Quarter of a Million Names

Have Irish ancestry? If so, you might want to know about a very popular set of online indexes. The following announcement was written by the Irish Genealogical Research Society:

Major Irish Genealogy Database Reaches Quarter of a Million Names

irish-genealogical-research-societyGreat news for anyone seeking their elusive Irish ancestors! The online Early Irish Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes have collectively smashed through to a quarter of a million names.

The three indexes are compiled and hosted online by the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS). The marriage database was the first established, in 2014, with an initial 40,000 names. Since then the Society has launched two corresponding additional databases, one for births and another for deaths. All three have been regularly updated, with the latest bringing the total record count, collectively, to a quarter of a million names.

With so much of the paper trail of Irish family history destroyed in the 1922 Public Record Office fire, the aim of the three databases is to play a not-insignificant role in signposting the extraordinary number of surviving lesser known and underused sources for Irish genealogy. It covers records dating prior to 1864; that being the year from which general civil registration began in Ireland.

The sources are drawn from a wide variety of records providing substitute evidence of birth, death or marriage. These encompass: family bibles, army and navy records, wills, letters, newspapers, gravestone inscriptions, court records, deeds, leases, diaries, published works, archives of religious orders, census abstracts, guild records, pension records…the list is endless and continually being added to.

For instance, a significant portion of the latest update was culled from the British Civil Service Evidence of Age Index. Evidence of just over 2,600 Irish births, deaths and marriages were gleaned from this resource. In applying for a civil service job, in the absence of formal written records, friends and neighbours often provided a sworn statement as to their knowledge of the applicant’s age.  In the case of James Carey, born in Clonoulty, Co Tipperary, in 1844, his neighbour, Patrick Tierney, writing some 22 years later, confirmed James’ date of birth as 7th January 1844, commenting: “I can declare to same from the fact that my father died on said day.”

Another source drawn upon for this latest update is Church of Ireland Marriage Licence Bonds. Roz McCutcheon, the Society’s coordinator for the project, said: “Although generally only the indexes remain to Marriage Licence Bonds, they are nevertheless a primary source, and include a surprising number of Catholic marriages.  I have recently come across some papers, while cataloguing at the Society of Genealogists in London, which include full abstracts of some early marriages in the Dioceses of Ferns & Derry. Thus, whereas the previous entry for the Ferns marriage of Henry Haughton showed him marrying Catherine Cavanagh in or after 1682, the new additional information from the abstracts notes the exact date of the bond was 10th June 1682, and that the couple were both from Co Wexford, that Catherine was a spinster, living at Polemounly, while Henry was from Ballyane.”

Finally, the death index has been boosted too by 3,260 records noted from newspapers. “It is surprising that newspapers are still a much underutilised source for biographical information said Steven Smyrl, Chairman of the IGRS. “In particular, notices of death become more common from the 1830s onwards as the middle classes begin to grow in strength and numbers”, he said, adding “as the months roll on, it is hoped to add many more entries to the database culled from newspapers, proving that despite the great loss of 1922, there still remain many untapped sources for Irish genealogists to explore”.

Access to the Early Irish Marriage Index is completely free. The Early Irish Birth and Death Indexes are IGRS members-only resources, although everyone is able to access the corresponding free surnames indexes:

See here for: Birth Index, Death Index, and Marriage Index


From the numbers you list- it sounds like VERY few. In addition what exactly is “very early”?


I was wandering if my name comes from an early Irish names or and occupation, its Farmer but the Name says in the history book that it was first a French tax collector that took up rent who own land on their property, you would give me the rent money for the land you own that’s what I’m saying, we as Farmer became rich in our own right by the way we collect the taxes from people owning their land. Then it says its also its in England the name Farmer in 10 different county and it maybe rare over in Ireland our name Farmer, but the job you do to make a living on your own land like crops and the food you produce your a farmer and you raise cattle, please let me know what you think OK 😀


    Hi Matthew, I have done DNA testing and have the surname Farmer in my matches and it connects with Royal Lines! Just though I’d let you know.


    Im a Farmer also and have only been able to trace back to my 2× greatgrandfather born in south carolina about 1835. I read the same on our surmame that you related to in your post. Its driving me crazy because i cant find any record of his father and mother or siblings or where in south Carolina he was born. He died a prisoner of the civil war of small pox in camp chase ohio in 1864 and is buried there. His wife is buried in clermont,Ga. I will have to try to go on this site and see what if can find anything there. I dont know if my Farmer name came from occupation of tax collector or field farmers. I would love to find out .


My DNA says I’m 26% Irish. I know my Great Grandparents came from Ireland, Co. Mayo.
Their name was Roach.


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