With new resources now available for researching Irish ancestors, using the Foundation’s own databases can help you make best use of online records and save you a considerable amount of time.
This is particularly true if you do not know which Church your family attended or even which county they came from.
The best place to start your research is with the transcriptions of Church baptisms, marriages and burials which are available on Roots Ireland for 30 of the 32 counties in Ireland and on Our Website for Counties Antrim and Down, including Belfast.
Using these indexed records, you can identify relevant records using our search function. This is of particular use when you wish to search an entire county or even the whole island of Ireland. Even when you do know the Church or parish, using our searchable databases will save you much time when looking for those ancestors for whom you do not have exact dates of baptism, marriage or death. Once you have identified the relevant records, you can then view a digital image of the microfilmed register at the National Library of Ireland (note: these microfilm records only cover the period up to 1880/81).
The Ulster Historical Foundation has been transcribing registers of Roman Catholic, Church of Ireland and Presbyterian Churches since 1990 and has over 2 million birth, marriage and death records on its website.
We have almost all pre-1900 Roman Catholic records for Counties Antrim and Down and are currently adding records up to 1930. We recently added baptismal records from 1900 to 1930 for Sacred Heart, St Mary’s and St Vincent de Paul, all in Belfast and will be adding post-1900 records for a number of other Churches in the near future.
As indicated above, it is important to remember that the registers available at the National Library of Ireland only cover the period up to c.1880, whilst the church record datasets on Roots Ireland (including those of UHF) generally cover the period up to 1900 (or in the case of civil records, up to 1921).
In addition, given that the Foundation has been working with the Diocese of Down and Connor to continue the transcription of records for parishes up to 1930, it means that in a growing number of instances, our databases offer an additional 50 years of records beyond 1880, compared to those available from the microfilms.
Thus if you are searching for the period post-1880 these entries are only available online on Our Website for Counties Antrim and Down and on Roots Ireland for the majority of other counties in Ireland.
In addition Our Website has almost all civil marriage records for Counties Antrim and Down from 1845 to 1921 as well as over 50,000 gravestone inscriptions for the six counties of Northern Ireland.
Also, why not watch our free Online Tutorials on getting the most out of our online birth, marriage and death databases?