Researching your ancestors from Great Britain and Ireland

A guide to researching your ancestors in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands, using resources at State Library Victoria.


The following resources will help you identify the names of parishes and their boundaries.

Parish records - access from home

Catholic parish registers

The Roman Catholic registers mainly consist of baptism and marriage records, with records of burials being fairly uncommon. Many of the records are still held in the relevant parish. Copies of most of the pre 1880 registers are held on microfilm at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) and at the National Library of Ireland (NLI).

In June 2015 the  National Library of Ireland (NLI) launched their Catholic Parish Register, which contains digital images of 3,500 registers from over 1,000 parishes, covering 97% of both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.This register can be searched by parish and by browsing through each relevant register.
Alternatively you can search the transcriptions and images, by name, year and place. on the Ancestry and FindMyPast Ireland databases in the State Library (see below for further details).

The Irish website also has copies of records for counties Kerry, Dublin, Carlow and Cork. Further county records are regularly being added to this site.

Church of Ireland (Anglican) parish records

It's estimated that only a third of the parochial records of the Church of Ireland still survive. Some records remain with the relevant parishes, some are with the National Archives of Ireland and some are held in the Representative Church Body Library (a small number have been digitised and can be accessed here). Copies of registers can also be found at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). Information on accessing PRONI records can be found here.

A list of all Church of Ireland parish registers which indicate whether they have survived and where they are held is available in the following publication:
A table of Church of Ireland parochial records and copies edited by Noel Reid. G 941.5 T114R

Jewish records
A large collection of Jewish records can be found on the Irish Jewish Roots website (pay-per-view access).

Search the following FamilySearch indexes for microfilm copies of Irish parish records, which can be ordered for viewing at any LDS Family History Centre.

Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI)

Many of the parochial registers for the northern counties of Ireland are available on microfilm in the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI). The PRONI Guide to Church Records contains an alphabetical list of civil parishes with the parish churches being arranged alphabetically by denomination. The guide also lists the date range of the records kept as well as a PRONI reference number.

The denominations included are Church of Ireland, Roman Catholic, Presbyterian, Non-Subscribing Presbyterian, Reformed Presbyterian, Methodist, Moravian, Congregational, Baptist and the Religious Society of Friends' (Quakers').  

On the PRONI website you can also find:

  • Parishes in Northern Ireland - alphabetical list
  • Parishes in Northern Ireland - by county

PRONI provides a limited research service for specific `known information' only. This is a chargable service. Or you may prefer to employ an independent commercial researcher. Go to the PRONI website for further information on possible research options.

Parish records - access in the Library

Further Information

How to trace family history in Irish parish registers: General resources

- See more at:

State Library Victoria


In line with the stage 3 restrictions announced by the Premier, State Library Victoria closed on Thursday 9 July.

We will advise when there is any update to this situation.

Our Ask A Librarian  reference service is still available to assist with your research inquiries.