Archives for family and local history
You can use archives to research a variety of topics, including family history and local history. Many archives are now available online so you can start your research at home.
1901 and 1911 Census of Ireland
A census gathers statistics about citizens - age, religion, employment status, health and living arrangements. Census data is compiled in Northern Ireland every 10 years.
The 1901 census and 1911 census of Ireland are now available to view online. You can look and see if you can find details of any of 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 can only permit one person per terminal. You are advised to book an appointment as we cannot guarantee that a place will be available on a particular day if you have not made a prior reservation.
Please note that children under 16 years of age cannot be admitted to the room.
To book the above services please telephone 0300 200 7890 (or 028 9151 3101 if calling from outside Northern Ireland) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
On arrival, you will be asked to produce some form of ID, preferably photographic, 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 1 hour slots.
Computerised indexes are available for searching at a cost of £14.00 for up to 6 hours on the day of the booking. This cost includes 2 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 at a cost of £8.00 each but cannot be provided immediately. The certificates can either be collected from the GRONI or posted to the applicant.
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 1 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 5 year period, or part of each 5 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 on the first Tuesday of every month, when the office opens at 10.00 am to facilitate staff training). Staff are unavailable for assistance between 12.00 noon and 12.30 pm and members of the public reporting for a search will not be admitted 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, most 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) new headquarters is located in Belfast's Titanic Quarter.
The new record office provides greater space, more modern facilities and web-based resources.
When you visit PRONI
When you visit PRONI, staff are on hand to help you get started by identifying which archives might hold the information you want. For more information on the services PRONI provides and starting your research, as well as access to our 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 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 and/or family history societies which you can join. Numerous 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.