Top free websites

Online databases for Irish genealogy research. Here are five free Irish genealogy databases.

My selection of free Irish genealogy sites and databases listed here represents my own, impartial selection for family history research. These are the websites and databases which have proved most helpful in my own family tree investigation, which I can confidently endorse as essential resources for Irish genealogical research.

Although genealogy databases are generally straightforward to navigate and use, their navigation or layout becomes easier as more time is spent exploring them. Therefore it’s advisable to familiarise yourself with how a site operates prior to searching it for information.

These websites offer invaluable resources, with some providing free access to data that would otherwise cost.

Not only can these sites offer free Irish genealogy information, they’re completely free and require no personal details from you or registration – making them great resources! Enjoy!

This alphabetized list of free Irish genealogy websites follows in alphabetical order.

Ask About Ireland is among a new wave of free Irish genealogy resources recently made available online, offering indexes, full returns and maps from Richard Griffith’s Primary Valuation of Tenements at no cost.

Griffith’s Valuation is one of the key 19th-century genealogical sources, serving as an essential resource in Irish genealogy research as it records householders in each county at the time this island-wide land survey took place. Learn more here!

Ask About Ireland has improved greatly since its initial launch and now ranks among the most-visited free Irish genealogy resources online. However, some users have experienced technical glitches when viewing maps.

Ellis Island Passenger Database
Between 1892 and 1954, over twelve million immigrants entered the U.S. through Ellis Island – a small island located in New York Harbor – many coming from Ireland.

If your Irish ancestors left Ireland during or shortly after the Great Hunger (1846-1849), you won’t find them on Ellis Island Passenger Database.

But if they embarked in one of the many waves of emigration that followed, you may be lucky enough to discover their details among the passenger manifestos displayed here. Such manifestos display both where an immigrant was headed as well as typically recording where they came from in Ireland.

Family Search
As one of the world’s premier genealogy websites, Family Search from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) consistently tops global polls for Best Genealogy Websites. Offering access to an expansive archive of family history collections for free searching.

There is also the 1880/1881 Census records from the US, UK and Canada which can be extremely helpful when searching for Irish ancestry in these three nations. But perhaps the single greatest free Irish genealogy resource is the searchable civil registration index which covers births, marriages and deaths throughout Ireland between 1864 (1845 for non-Catholic marriages) and 1921 inclusive; from 1922-1958 inclusive only Republic of Ireland records are included in its coverage.

Discover more about indexes, as well as how to use them to obtain birth, marriage and death certificates, on my Irish Civil Registration page.

FamilySearch also provides access to all collections available free from the National Archives of Ireland Genealogy Database, listed below.

A helpful collection is the 1619-1898 Ireland Marriages Index; this database holds nearly half a million entries compiled from various sources and covers much of Ireland. Geographic coverage may be sparse but you could get lucky!

Images from Registry of Deeds memorials and various indexes were made available online in 2016. Although unindexed, these may prove helpful when researching known names or residences., owned and managed by the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht is well known for its free church register and civil records collections on These collections can be found here:

Church records. Unfortunately, this wonderful database only offers limited coverage; specifically it only holds Church of Ireland registers from some parts of counties Kerry, Dublin City and Carlow; Presbyterian records for Dublin City; and Roman Catholic (RC) records from Dublin City as well as Kerry and Cork counties. If your ancestors belong to these denominations consider yourself fortunate!

Civil registration records. This site offers access to the state-approved version – used by staff at General Register Office – of Irish civil registration indexes and registers, used by staff at General Register Office. Unlike other versions found elsewhere, this one includes maiden names of mothers in birth indexes dating from 1900, while post-1870 marriages display both bride and groom names together.

Civil registration sites provide only historical records – births up to 100 years ago, marriages up to 75 years ago and deaths up to 50 years old – thus restricting their use to genealogy research purposes only.

Images of BMD Registers Are Now Available to Download All Births Since 1864 to the 100-Year Cutoff; Catholic marriages from 1845-1863 and all marriages since 1864 up until the 75-year Cut-Off; as well as all deaths since 1870 are all included here.

Marriage register images dating 1864-1870 should be added to the database in 2021.

National Archives of Ireland For many researchers, the National Archives of Ireland’s Genealogy site ranks as one of the premier free Irish genealogy databases. Among its most sought-after resources are fully digitised 1901 and 1911 census returns; you can search this index as well as download images of them directly. An 18-month project to review and apply user corrections was recently completed successfully as well.

Although other websites provide access to the NAI census collection, its corrections can only be found here on Genealogy site of NAI.

(For details of what information each return contained, see my pages: 1901 census and 1911 census.).

Other freely accessible resources include Tithe Applotment Books (TABs; currently only for counties now within the Republic of Ireland). Dating back to 1820s, these volumes can provide records that date back generations; though not everyone may find their ancestor here; click here for more information about these books before searching them!

This site hosts a collection of World War One Soldier Wills, calendars of Wills and Administration 1858-1922, Census Search Forms from 1821-1851 (‘Census Fragments’) as well as more.

National Library of Ireland
In August 2015, the National Library of Ireland unveiled a database featuring images from their Roman Catholic parish register microfilm collection.

Irish family history research will never be the same! Unfortunately, however, it cannot help every genealogist with Irish Catholic ancestry.

Initially, Ancestry and FindMyPast images have been released without an index, making research difficult without knowing which parishes to research first. But almost immediately after going online, these services pooled their digitisation resources to produce one single index accessible both through Ancestry (subscription required) and FindMyPast (with no fee or subscription necessary – just register an account).

At first glance, everything looks promising, but some researchers may be disappointed by the limited surviving records. While all records go back to 1880/2* and some parishes started keeping them during 1740 or later; others began much later than this date.

So, for instance, the Library holds baptism and marriage records dating back to 1804 for Killian parish in Co. Galway while for Clarenbridge in Co Galway baptism records begin only in 1854 while marriage records start as far back as 1837.

Researchers searching for Catholic ancestors born between 1810 and 1814 who lived in Killian should find a baptism record; however, if that same ancestor was from Clarenbridge there may not be any record left behind of such events.

Discover Roman Catholic baptism, marriage and burial records.

Established following the partition of Ireland into Republic and Northern Ireland in 1923, PRONI serves as the official repository for public records from six counties: Antrim, Armagh, Derry-Londonderry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone.

Irish Genealogy & History website for researchers who seek information about their ancestors from Northern Ireland. It provides multiple online databases including records from pre-1840 freeholders, will calendars, Griffith’s Valuation Revision Books and details about those who signed the 1912 Ulster Covenant.

Recent additions to PRONI’s offering are digital copies of Tithe Applotment Books for each county in Northern Ireland (you can learn more about them and PRONI’s database catalogue on this page of Toolkit), and school records.

As well as databases, you can also download various very helpful advice guides specific to Northern Ireland research.

Townlands Database
This Townlands database is an updated version of Sean Ruad IreAtlas database, featuring over 60K townlands as listed in 1851 census index of Townlands Index of Townlands; each record provides details about County, Barony, Civil Parish Poor Law Unions and Province for every location listed.

Shane Wilson hosts his Townlands Database on his site, an important and free Irish genealogy resource with numerous helpful finding aids and databases such as this Townlands Database which will assist with finding where any given townland in Ireland lies across various jurisdictions; each jurisdiction holds different kinds of records that could prove invaluable when studying your ancestor’s birthplace or homeplace.

An alternative Townlands database to consult is found at, the website of the Irish Genealogical Research Society. Their Townland database is based on the Index of Townlands used for the 1901 census, providing Province, County, Barony, Poor Law Union and Civil Parish information as well as DED – District Electoral Division details that make searching both censuses even easier.