Archives for family and local history
You can use archives to research family history and local history. As many archives are available online, you can start your research at home.
1901 and 1911 censuses of Ireland
A census gathers statistics about citizens - age, religion, employment status, health and living arrangements.
The 1901 census and 1911 census of Ireland are available to view online free. You can search online for information about your ancestors.
General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI)
GRONI holds civil birth, adoption, death, marriage and civil partnership records. It also maintains a public search room where you can search computerised indexes. The index provides name, date and place of event.
Registration indexes held by GRONI
- births registered in Northern Ireland from 1 January 1864
- adoptions recorded in the Adopted Children Register Northern Ireland from 1 January 1931
- deaths registered in Northern Ireland from 1 January 1864
- registered non-Roman Catholic marriages from 1 April 1845 and all registered marriages from 1 January 1864
- civil partnerships registered in Northern Ireland from 5 December 2005
- World War II death indexes from 1939 to 1945
Book a place in the GRONI public search room
GRONI has a limited number of spaces in the public search room, and only allows one person per place. You are advised to book an appointment to guarantee that a place will be available on a particular day.
Children aged under 16 years are not admitted to the public search room.
To book a place in the search room:
- telephone 0300 200 7890 (+44 28 9151 3101 from outside Northern Ireland)
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On arrival, you will need to show photographic ID, such as a driving licence or passport.
Type of searches available at GRONI
General search of records assisted by members of GRONI staff for any period of years and any number of entries. The cost of this service is £35.00 per hour.
Appointments are available in one hour slots.
Computerised indexes are available to search for £14.00 for up to six hours on the day of the booking. This cost includes two verifications of entries by staff, with the option of further verifications at £4.00 each.
An index search is when you can see the index only, if verification is requested a member of staff will look up the register and read the entry to you.
Copies of certificates available from GRONI
Copies of certificates relating to any entries traced may be purchased for £8.00 each but cannot be provided immediately. The certificates can either be collected from the GRONI or posted to you.
If an application is received before 2.30 pm, and an additional priority fee of £20.00 is paid, the certificate will be provided within one hour of application.
Request a search of the registration indexes
If you are looking for information but are not able to visit the GRO public search room, you can apply for a search of the registration indexes by selecting 'search only' on the certificate application form. The fee for a search is £7.00 for each five year period, or part of each five year period.
A letter containing the results of the search will be sent to the applicant by post. If an entry matching the information given is found, the letter will provide details of the entry, including the name(s) entered in the register, the place where the event took place or Registration District and the date of the event. The name, date and place of event are required to obtain a search.
GRONI search room opening hours
The search room is open between 9.30 am and 4.00 pm (except the first Tuesday every month, when the office opens at 10.00 am). Staff are unavailable for assistance between 12.00 noon and 12.30 pm. There is no public admittance to the search room during this time. Staff are unable to provide verifications of entries after 3.15 pm.
Assistance for deaf and hard of hearing customers at GRONI
A personal induction loop system is available for use in the public search room.
GRONI customers who use wheelchairs
The GRONI public search room is accessible to wheelchair users.
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)
PRONI is the main archive for Northern Ireland and holds millions of documents, covering a period from around 1600 to the present day. These include valuable genealogical sources such as church registers, landed estates records, court records and wills.
The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland's (PRONI) is located in Belfast's Titanic Quarter.
When you visit PRONI
When you visit PRONI, staff can help you get started by identifying which archives might hold the information you want. For more information about PRONI services, to start your research or access online archives, visit the PRONI website.
Family and local history
If you are just beginning your research, PRONI’s information leaflets, family and local history sections and the eCatalogue are a good place to start. These provide information and guides to help you identify the documents you need to search. Some archives and indexes can be searched on the PRONI website (see PRONI’s online records section). You will need to visit PRONI in person to view the contents of most records.
Other sources of family and local history
The National Archives of Ireland and National Library of Ireland hold information mainly relating to the Republic of Ireland. The National Archives (TNA) UK also holds information relating to Irish history and genealogy, including military service records.
Many areas now have local or family history societies which you can join. Websites hosting genealogical information are also available. Some of these can only be accessed on a subscription or pay-per-view basis, however many now offer full or partial access to sources free of charge. Libraries often hold sources for local and family history, particularly those which have a dedicated local studies section.