Catholic Parish Records
Cork County is divided between three Catholic Dioceses: Principally Cork & Ross, Cloyne with some areas of the north-west and west of the county in the diocese of Kerry (Millstreet, Castletownbere)
The Catholic Parish Records for Cork and Ross and Kerry are available online via www.irishgenealogy.ie
The parish records for Cloyne are available on the subscription website: www.rootsireland.ie
The National Library of Ireland has digitised parish registers. It is not searchable by name, so it is necessary to know the parish of your ancestor and scroll through the individual pages. These can be viewed on the following website: registers.nli.ie
Other websites such as www.findmypast.ie and www.ancestry.com have used the images from the National Library of Ireland website in order to index the records, making the indexes searchable for most parishes in Ireland up to approximately 1880.
For information on parish records relating to the deanery of Cork (which includes Watergrasshill, Glanmire, Glounthaune, Passage West, Douglas, Ballincollig, St. Mary’s and St. Anne’s (North Cathedral) and St. Patrick’s and Blackrock and you have not located them on the above websites, please contact us: email@example.com
Church of Ireland Parish Records
Approximately two thirds of Church of Ireland parish records were destroyed by fire in the Irish Civil War. If you are looking for ancestors in North and East Cork, it may be worth looking at the list of parishes on www.rootsireland.ie.
In addition, the Cobh Genealogical Project has computerised a large number of records that survived 1922.
Pat Mahony of the Cobh Genealogical Project can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org to commission a search.
The Representative Church Body (RCB) Library based in Dublin can be contacted at email@example.com. Many Church of Ireland microfilm copies as well as some original registers are held at the RCB library.
This link https://www.ireland.anglican.org/cmsfiles/pdf/AboutUs/library/registers/ParishRegisters/PARISHREGISTERS.pdf provides a list of all the Church of Ireland parishes in Ireland, along with a list of dates of baptisms, marriages and burials. The RCB is not in a position to undertake research and therefore it is necessary to visit the library in person to investigate the records.
The civil registration of births deaths and marriages began in Ireland in 1864, with non-Catholic marriage records from 1845.
Records are available until the following years:
Births to 1923
Marriages: to 1948
Deaths to 1973
Searching the civil records
Detailed civil records for County Cork are not available online. However, civil indexes are available to search on a number of free websites such as www.irishgenealogy.ie and www.familysearch.org, as well as subscription websites www.findmypast.ie and www.ancestry.com
As it’s only possible to search the indexes under the Superintendent Registrar’s District (formerly Poor Law Union) rather than the smaller area of the Registrar’s District, townland etc. sometimes results can be quite ambiguous. The success rate of obtaining the correct index and subsequent correct certificate is very much dependent on the frequency of the name (both first and surname), the amount of information available to the researcher and the timeframe.
You can send for a photocopy of the birth/marriage/death certificate from the GRO (General Register Office, based in Roscommon) by following the link on the website www.irishgenealogy.ie
See the following map of the Superintendent Registrar’s Districts in County Cork:
It is important to remember that individuals may have not know their exact age or date of birth, so you may find age discrepancies between records. It is useful to broaden out the search years in the search field when researching records.
Marriage records are also useful as they include the name and occupation of the father of the bride and father of the groom. The bride and groom’s mother’s name was only added to civil marriage certificates in 1956.
There are few surviving census records before 1901 and there are currently no census records to view after 1911.
The 1901 and 1911 are available to search for free online:
It is possible to search under occupation and if your ancestor was born in a different county in the ‘more search options’.
The 1911 Census also includes the number of years a couple was married for, as well as the number of children living at the time of the census.
The Census also includes the Enumerator’s Extract (Form N) House and Buildings Return (Form B1) and the Out-offices and Farm-Steadings Return (Form B2). This information is useful to see the number of rooms in the house, number of windows in the front and if the roof was of thatch or slate.
It is important to know the DED/electoral division. This information is available in the Townlands index in the library or via www.townlands.ie.
Griffith’s Valuation was the first comprehensive survey of practically all those who held property-landlord or tenant. It was carried out for the purposes of determining the amount of tax property holders were liable to pay. It includes the head of the household (not other family members), the immediate lessor or landlord and the number of acres within the holding. Surveys of urbans areas such as towns and villages were also carried out.
It was completed for the County of Cork between approximately 1851 and 1853.
The Primary (Griffith’s) Valuation with maps can be viewed online via www.askaboutireland.ie/griffith-valuation.
Although not vital it is useful to know the civil parish of the townland of your ancestor in order to view the correct record.
It is also possible to view the valuation office books (the preparatory books that led to the final survey) via genealogy.nationalarchives.ie.
The Tithe Applotment Books
The Tithe Applotment Books were compiled between 1823 and 1837 in order to establish how much occupiers of land of more than one acre should pay in taxes to the Church of Ireland.
Like Griffith’s Valuation it only lists the head of the household and not other family members, but it is useful in pinpointing a surname to a particular townland.
The tithe records are divided according to civil parish. If you think that your ancestor was a farmer in the 1820s/1830s it may be worth searching the TABs on www.titheapplotmentbooks.nationalarchives.ie or in the library on our microfilm machines.
A large amount of wills were destroyed in the fire in the Public Record Office in 1922, however copies of wills proved in District Registries survive in Will Registers from 1858-1900 which are accessible on the National Archives website: genealogy.nationalarchives.ie. Will Calendars, Diocesan and Prerogative Wills and Soldiers’ wills are also available to view on this website.
Burial Records/Gravestones Inscriptions/Death notices
The area of burial records and gravestone inscriptions can be confusing, not least because many are not computerised and secondly there is no central database or repository in which to find all these records.
Many graveyards in the southern half of Ireland do not have records beginning before the start of the 20th century. Secondly one needs to bear in mind that graveyards (i.e. a burial ground with a church attached) are usually under the jurisdiction of the Church, while a cemetery (generally without a church) is by and large under the control of the local authority such as Cork County Council or Cork City Council.
While a small quantity of original registers are available for consultation at Cork City and County Archives, it is necessary to book in advance to view these collections. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
- A number of 20th century burial registers for parts of West Cork have been computerised by Skibbereen Heritage Centre: www.graveyards.skibbheritage.com. Also on the website is the West Cork Graveyard Survey which comprises inscriptions details and photographs of headstones.
- For many other cemeteries it may be necessary to contact the registrar for the particular burial ground for further details. Contact email@example.com
- Headstone inscriptions have been indexed for various cemeteries in Co. Cork. Examples of collections and journals in which to locate possible inscriptions include O’Kief Coshe Mang, which covers north-west Cork and the Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society. Both of these resources are available to view in the Local Studies Library.
- The website www.historicgraves.com can be of particular use if the burial ground you are looking for has been indexed here. Photographs of headstones of many burial grounds are available to view. The ability to zoom in on the headstone images on the website is hugely advantageous. As the information has been transcribed, it is possible to search under name, graveyard etc.
Death notices did not become commonplace in Ireland until their publication was made mandatory in the 1940s. Consequently, prior to this the social class of the individual frequently determines the probability of locating a death notice for them today. Newspapers such as the Cork Examiner (now known as the Irish Examiner) and the Evening Echo are available on microfilm or to search on the subscription website www.irishnewsarchive.com which is available in the Local Studies Library.
Other miscellaneous records
Irish Petty Court Sessions, some British Army Service records and more available on the subscription website www.findmypast.ie which is available to search in the library.
We have compiled a comprehensive booklet on family history called ‘Walking in the Footsteps of your Ancestors’. This provides a useful beginner’s guide to family history research in Cork and the nature of the records that are available. Copies are available in the Local Studies Library. To view an online version of the booklet, please click on the following link:
Walking in the Footsteps of your Ancestors Booklet