Preparing for GRONI's Public Search Room
Before making an appointment to visit the 'General Register Office Northern Ireland' (GRONI) Public Search Room in Belfast to research family history, take a look at the guidelines below.
The General Register Office for Northern Ireland (GRONI) public search room is open with an limited service.
You must book an appointment before you visit – appointments will be between 9.30 am and 12.30 pm or 1.00 pm and 4.00 pm.
Access will be limited to one person per booking.
You will not be allowed to enter the building without an appointment.
Some changes to GRONI services will be in place to make sure of the health and safety of staff and the public.
You must agree to follow the guidance in the public search room protocol document that you will receive when you book.
Appointments may be changed or cancelled at short notice due to the current COVID-19 situation.
Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org to book an appointment.
The public counter remains closed - you can apply for life event certificates by phone on: 0300 200 7890 or online Ordering life event certificates.
Before your visit
Before you visit GRONI's Public Search Room (PSR), follow these steps to avoid unnecessary delays on the day of your visit:
- you should set up a GRONI account from home before your first visit - you can do so at the following link Register for a GRONI account
- before any visit to GRONI's PSR make sure that your GRONI account has been activated and that you have the right password
- also make sure that you've bought enough credits on your GRONI account to cover any planned searches on your visit
To buy credits, find out the price of credits or check the number of credits you have, you must be logged in to your GRONI account. Login via the link below:
On arrival at GRONI, a member of the front desk reception team will hand you a pass and ask you to wait at reception for a member of staff to take you to the public search room:
- do not enter the public search room without a member of staff
- to use the service you must be aged 16 and over
- you may need photographic ID, such as a driving licence or passport to use the public search room
- if you bring children with you they must be supervised at all times
- basic computer skills are helpful but not essential because you can bring someone with you that is computer literate
While in the public search room
- a public search room member of staff will show you to a free station and give a short introduction if needed - you'll also be advised of health and safety procedures for Colby House
- this member of staff will be available during your visit to answer any further queries you may have
- the public search room is a quiet room so visitors may be asked to leave if noise levels affect other users
- mobile phones are not allowed
- photographs are not allowed
- laptops and tablets can only be used in a specific area
- users may not sit in the staffing area
- staff will not carry out any searches on your behalf
Health and safety
- if you're going out for lunch or for a short while, you must leave your pass at reception - your pass will be given back to you when you return
- you must wear your pass inside the building at all times during your visit
- bottled water is allowed although be careful not to spill any water around the computers
- no food or hot drinks are allowed in the public search room
- toilets are on the left hand side of the reception desk
- testing of the alarms are carried out on Wednesdays and you're not required to do anything unless advised by public search room staff and/ or the fire warden
- Should you hear the real alarm, you'll be asked to leave the building immediately by the public search room staff and/ or the fire warden
- you'll be allowed to re-enter as soon as it's safe and clear to do so
Book a place
GRONI has a limited number of spaces in the public search room. To book a place, contact GRONI.
Records you can access
Find out about the type of records you'll find in GRONI's Public Search Room at the link below:
- Introduction to GRONI and its records - once you're on this page, scroll down to the section called: GRONI Public Search Room