Civil Records

Printer-friendly version

Freedom Records 1225 - 1918

The ancient Freedom of Dublin was instituted at the time of the Norman Invasion. The inhabitants of Dublin in the Middle Ages were either free or non-free. Holders of the freedom of the city were known as 'Free Citizens' and were entitled to special trading privileges and the right to vote in parliamentary and municipal elections. In order to qualify for the freedom it was usually necessary to have been born within the city boundaries or 'franchises' and to be a member of one of the trade guilds of Dublin. Members of 'the Irish nation' were excluded, but in practice many people with Irish surnames succeeded in obtaining the freedom. Under the Penal Laws, Roman Catholics were excluded from the Freedom of Dublin from 1691 until 1793. Under the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1918, the ancient Freedom of Dublin was abolished to make way for a more democratic franchise. Nowadays all inhabitants of the city of Dublin who have reached the age of 18 are entitled to vote in municipal elections.

Search the Ancient Freemen of Dublin database on

Census Returns

Due to the great loss of records sustained when the Public Records Office was destroyed it was decided by government to make the Census returns of 1901 and 1911 available to the public before the 100-year period was up. The 1901 and 1911 returns have been microfilmed and the library holds a full set for Dublin city and county.

Indexes to civil records of births, marriages and deaths

Indexes to civil records from the General Register Office, Dublin, filmed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, are available to consult on microfilm for the following years:

Indexes to the civil records of Northern Ireland, on microfilm, for the following years:

  • Births 1941 - 1959
  • Marriages 1930 - 1950
  • Deaths 1934 - 1939 

Electoral Registers from 1937 to Present

The Electoral Registers list the names and addresses of people eligible to vote in Dáil elections, local elections and, from the 1970s, in European Elections. The Franchise section within Dublin City Council is responsible for the production of annual registers of electors within the City Council's administrative boundaries. The registers are searchable by address only, and there are gaps within the series.

Dublin City Archives has produced a database of the Electoral Registers from 1937 to 1955. This is searchable by name and/or address, and may be accessed in the Reading Room.

The Dublin City Electoral Lists 1937-64 have been taken down from  For more information, please e-mail

Dublin City Electoral Lists 1898-1916

The Electoral Lists record the names of people resident in Dublin City or who owned property there and who were registered to vote in local elections and parliamentary elections.

Dublin City Electoral Lists 1908-1915 can be searched online at

Indexes to Wills

Published indexes to wills, compiled before the destruction of the Public Record Office, give a valuable insight into wills which were once held, but which have not survived, an important resource for family history.

Telephone Directories

Telephone Directories from 1915 to the present, with gaps before 1971.

Calendar of Ancient Records of the Corporation of Dublin

This is useful for family research as it lists names of persons contracted to carry out work for the city, given pensions, having disputes, demanding rights and privileges, etc.