The Main Sources of Genealogical Information

Church Records

It is essential that you know what area your ancestors came from in order to ascertain what parish/church records to consult.


Roman Catholic:

The National Library of Ireland has microfilmed almost all Roman Catholic registers up to 1880. The Mormon Family History Library has copies of approx. 40% of R.C. registers. The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland has copies for all of Ulster. Also available locally.

Church of Ireland

The Church of Ireland was the Established/State church until 1870 and all its records of births, marriages and deaths were deposited in the Public Records Office which was subsequently destroyed by fire in 1922. Many clergymen held transcripts and approx. 60% have early records of some kind. Now, generally registers are deposited in the Representative Church Body Library with some in the National Archives and some available locally.

1901 & 1911 Census

The 1901 and 1911 census are earliest surviving complete census returns for the entire island. The 1901 returns for Laois are available in the Local Studies Section of the County Library on microfilm and online and the 1911 returns are available online and in the National Archives. The Mormon Family History Library also hold copies.  The National Archives aims to have both census records available online, county by county, by the end of 2009. Again the basic requirement for searching is the locality.

These are an invaluable substitute to the census records prior to 1901.


Griffith’s Valuation

Griffiths valuation

More correctly known as the Primary Valuation of Tenements. This is a survey of property carried out countrywide between 1847-1864. It provides information on: householder’s name, the immediate lessor, a description of the property, the size of the property and the rateable value of the property. It is arranged by barony, parish and townland. Griffith’s Valuation is available on microfiche in the Local Studies section of the library and also online via the Ask About Ireland website.


Tithe Applotments

The Tithe Applotments is a survey carried out between 1823-1838. The aim of the survey was to assess tithes due to the established Church, the Church of Ireland. It is less comprehensive and only shows the names of those liable for tithes. It is available for consultation on microfilm at the Local Studies section of the library and now online

Title Applotment Books


General Register Office Records

State registration of births, marriages and deaths commenced in 1864 for Roman Catholics and in 1845 for Non-Roman Catholics. They are available from the General Register Office, Irish Life Centre, Abbey St. Lower, Dublin 1 and locally from the Health Service Executive, Health Centre, Dublin Rd, Portlaoise.

Online Genealogy