Libraries & Archives

Northern Ireland

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Libraries & Archives - Republic of Ireland
Religious Archives
  • Representative Church Body Library (RCB) - Dublin - This is the Church of Ireland’s principal repository for its archives and manuscripts. 
  • Presbyterian Records - Presbyterian registers are held in three main locations - held locally, in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland and at the Presbyterian Historical Society in Belfast.
    • Friends’ Historical Library (The Quaker Library) - Dublin Friends Historical Library, Swanbrook House, Bloomfield Ave., Donnybrook, Dublin 4, Ireland


Archives collect and preserve public records and historical documents. Libraries collect mostly published sources, such as books, maps, and microfilm.  Remember the Family History Library may have printed or microfilmed copies of the records you need, so check its holdings before you go abroad.

Ireland has five major types of repositories that contain genealogical information:

·         National archives and libraries,  Public libraries and museums,  Religious archives,  Heritage or genealogical centres an other archives.

National Archives and Libraries

Genealogical Office. The records of the Genealogical Office deal mainly with heraldry. The office's holdings include information extracted from records that were destroyed when the Public Record Office burned.

The records of the Genealogical Office are not available to the public. Some of the records, however, have been microfilmed and these films may be available at other repositories. The office does not do commissioned research. The office does provide a consultation service that gives detailed guidance, for a fee, to people who are doing research on their own families. For more information on the Genealogical Office, see the chapter by that name in John Grenham, Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide . The address is:

Genealogical Office
2 Kildare Street
Dublin 2

Public Libraries and Museums

Each county and most major cities in Ireland have a main library. Many of these libraries have a local and family history collection. These collections may include estate records, newspapers, gravestone inscriptions, minute books of various local and county government agencies, poor law records, family pedigrees, and histories. Some libraries have indexed parts of their collections.

County or specialty museums may also contain genealogical records, including estate, military, tax, church, and business or employment records. For addresses of Irish libraries and museums, see Seamus Helferty and Raymond Refausse, eds., Directory of Irish Archives.

Heritage or Genealogical Centres

Local heritage centres, sometimes called genealogical centres, are a recent development in Ireland. These centres are currently indexing church records, mainly Catholic parish registers. Some centres are also indexing Tithe Applotment books,Griffith's Primary Valuation, the 1901 census, and gravestone inscriptions. The centres are computerizing their indexes.

Centre records are not open to the public. Centre staff, however, will search their indexes and supply information for a fee. For more information about the heritage centres, see:

Directory of Parish Registers Indexed in Ireland. Naas, Ireland: Irish Family History Society, 1992. (FHL book Ref 941.5 K23d; computer number 0660299.) This work provides a county by county list of centres, including addresses, phone numbers, and descriptions of the records each centre has indexed.

Other Archives

Other archives also contain information of genealogical value. Three such archives are described below. Others are discussed in the books listed under General Guides below.

 Valuation Office. The Valuation Office holds the Griffith's Primary Valuationrecords and accompanying maps (see the “Taxation” section of this outline). The office's post-1868 valuation records and maps are of the Republic of Ireland only. The address is:

Valuation Office
6 Ely Place
Dublin 2

General Guides

Guides to archives and libraries in Ireland and Northern Ireland include:

Foster, Janet, and Julia Sheppard. British Archives: A Guide to Archive Resources in the United Kingdom. 3rd ed. New York: Macmillan Publishers, 1995. (FHL book Ref 942 J54f 1995; microfilm number 763911.) This guide lists the addresses, major records, and publications of several repositories in Northern Ireland. The guide is indexed by county and by type of collection.

 English Repositories

Because England ruled Ireland for much of its history, many records pertaining to the Irish are found in English repositories. The major English archives that have Irish records are:

Public Record Office
Ruskin Avenue, Kew
Richmond, Surrey TW9 4DU

British Library, Department of Western Manuscripts
Great Russell Street
London WCIB 3DG

British Library, India Office Library and Records
197 Blackfriars Road
London SEI 8NG

British Library, Newspaper Library
Colindale Avenue
London NW9 5HE

Grenham, John. “Research Services, Societies and Repositories.” In Tracing Your Irish Ancestors: The Complete Guide. (See “For Further Reading.”) This chapter lists the names, addresses, phone numbers, and hours of various repositories in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Helferty, Seamus, and Raymond Refausse, eds. Directory of Irish Archives. 2nd ed. Blackrock, Ireland: Irish Academic Press, 1993, (FHL book Ref 941.5 A34h, 1993; computer number 0705881.) This book alphabetically lists for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland each repository, its address, its major record holdings, and any guides to its collections. The book is indexed by county and by record subject. 

If you plan to visit one of the repositories discussed, write and ask about its collections, hours, services, and fees a few months in advance. Also ask if a reader's ticket(a paper indicating you are a responsible researcher) is required to view the records, and ask how to obtain one.