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Archives for family and local history

You can use archives to research family history and local history. You can start your research at home as many archives are online, including the 1901 and 1911 censuses, General Register Office records and the Public Record Office files.

The General Register Office family history records will be unavailable online from 8.00 am until 10.00 am on Tuesday 2 December 2014

1901 and 1911 censuses of Ireland

A census gathers statistics about citizens - age, religion, employment status, health and living arrangements.

You can search and view online the 1901 census and 1911 census 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 from 1 January 1864 in what is now Northern Ireland
  • adoptions recorded in the Adopted Children Register Northern Ireland from 1 January 1931
  • deaths registered from 1 January 1864 in what is now Northern Ireland
  • 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
  • Record of Northern Ireland Connections

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)

PRONI is the main archive for Northern Ireland and holds millions of documents, covering a period from 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 (PRONI) is located in Belfast's Titanic Quarter.

When you visit PRONI

When you visit PRONI, staff can help you identify 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 which will 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) however 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 about the Republic of Ireland. The National Archives (TNA) UK also holds information about 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 are only available by subscription or pay-per-view basis. Many 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.

More useful links