Registers for parishes along Ireland's western seaboard, in counties such as Leitrim, Mayo, Roscommon and Sligo, do not generally date prior to the 1850s.
Due to hostilities between the Church of Ireland (the official church in Ireland from 1537 to 1870) and the Roman Catholic Church, few registers were recorded or survive prior to the mid-eighteenth century.
The National Library of Ireland has digitized their entire collection of Irish Catholic parish registers dating from 1671-1880, and made the digitized images available online for free.
The collection includes 3500 registers converted to approximately 373,000 digital images.
However, many Irish records are categorized by Civil Registration District, not parish.
To find these records, you will need to cross-reference your family's parish with their Civil Registration District.
Once you have found your Irish family's parish and the associated baptism, marriage and death records, it is time to see what else you can find.
If you know the name of the town or village where your Irish ancestors lived, but do not know the name of the parish, you can use the free tools at to locate the name of the correct Catholic parish.
If you only know the county where your ancestor was from, then Griffith's valuation may be able to help you narrow the surname to certain parishes.
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