Explore more than 7 million baptism records indexed and digitised NLI collection of Ireland’s Roman Catholic baptisms from 1000 parishes. Discover your ancestor’s birth place and parents’ name. Among the many name found in this collection we have uncovered the baptism records for revolutionaries Joseph Plunkett and Terence MacSwiney; the father of Australia’s legendary Ned Kelly, John ‘Red’ Kelly; and Patrick Henry Jones, the first lieutenant of the United States’ army’s 37th New York Irish Rifles during the American Civil War.
In each result, you will find a transcript of all the vital information found in the parish register. Most records, will also display an image of the original record created from the National Library of Ireland’s microfilm collection. The detail found in each record will vary depending on age and condition of the parish register. You may discover the following information about your ancestor.
Parish and diocese
Earlier church records were written freehand in register books, but in later years they were recorded formally in printed registers. Many of the labels of these registers are in Latin. Until the 1960s, Latin was the official language of the Catholic Church. Therefore, until that time, many official church records were recorded in Latin. Even the names of individuals were Latinized.
Common Latin words or phrases found on Irish Roman Catholic baptism records
A me Infrascripto Parocho vel Vicario -- I the undersigned pastor or vicar
Baptizandi Nomen -- baptized with the name
Cognomen -- surname
Die -- day
Domicilium -- residence
Ex parentibus legitimo Matrimonio junctis -- from the parents of a legitimate marriage
Filium legitimum -- legitimate son (or child)
Habitantibus in -- living in
Mensis -- month
Natus -- birth
Nomina Parentum -- name of parents
Patrinis adstantibus et e -- sponsors are standing up
Sponsoribus -- sponsors
From 1537 until 1870, the Church of Ireland was the official church in Ireland, this meant that recording keeping in the Catholic Church was difficult because of the hostilities between the state church and the Roman Catholic Church. Few registers have survived or were recorded before the latter half of the eighteenth century. The earliest baptism records appear from Waterford, Wexford, Tipperary and Galway. Many of the records are dated from the 1850s onwards. Civil registration in Ireland began in 1864, which means that parish registers are the best source for finding the majority of the population before that time.
The images have been digitised from the National Library of Ireland’s microfilms collection of parish records. In the 1950s and 1960s, the library embarked on a large scale project to microfilm all the surviving Catholic parish registers. A second phase of this project took place in the 1990s. Access to the parish registers is available for free in the National Library of Ireland. You can view the registers in their newly digitised form on computers and no longer need to use the microfilms.
According to John Grenham’s Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, known parishes not covered include Rathlin Island, Co, Antrim; Killorglin, Co. Kerry; Rathocore and Rathmolyon, Co. Meath; Dublin city and county parishes of Clontarf, Naul and Santry; and Kilmeena, Co. Mayo.
Use the wildcard function to help with your name search. This function will help you to search for English and Latin variations of your ancestor’s name. For example, searching for Pat* will return Patricius, the Latin for Patrick.