On this page you will find information about the resources that can help you when researching your family history. Please bear in mind that we do not have a dedicated genealogist on staff so we may not be able to advise you on specific research questions.
Digitised Records Available Online
In recent years, many of the records that would have traditionally been accessed on microfilm and microfiche in our Reading Room have been digitised and made available by online genealogy services. Dublin City Library and Archive (DCLA) can provide researchers with access to these subscription sites from the research computers in the Reading Room.
Records that are now available online include Church, Civil and Census records.
- Irish family history records hosted on Find My Past.
- Irish family history records hosted on Ancestry.
- Irish family history records hosted on Family Search.
The DCLA research computers are available during the reading room opening hours and must be reserved in advance by emailing [email protected] or [email protected] or contacting us by telephone on 01 222 4996 or 01 222 4999.
Dublin Street Directories
Street Directories and Almanacs provide a wide variety of information, events, listings and statistics on Ireland, including names, addresses and occupations for individuals residing in Dublin and in some instances, other towns and districts in Ireland.
Where an address or approximate address is known, a street directory can provide the surname and initial of the property’s rate payer. The directories can be used to confirm the address of an ancestor. They can also be used to find out individual occupations/businesses.
An almost complete set of Dublin directories from 1751 to the present is held in hardcopy in the Dublin City Library & Archive:
- Wilson's Dublin Directories, 1751-1753; 1761-1837
- Pettigrew & Oulton's Dublin Directories, 1834-1847
- Thom's Irish Almanac and Official Directories, 1844 - present.
Find out more about the Directories that we hold.
The Register of Electors for Dublin City is a list compiled each year of all persons who are entitled to vote in elections and referendums and who are:
- Resident in Dublin City
- Aged 18 on or before 15 February (when the Register of Electors comes into force)
The Franchise section within Dublin City Council is responsible for the production of the register of electors who reside within the Council's administrative boundaries.
The main unit of organisation within the voters' registration books is the registration unit and this is also known as an electoral ward or a district electoral division. Registration units are divided into polling districts each with its own code and within each polling district street names are recorded alphabetically.
Non-current Registers of Electors have been transferred by Dublin City Council’s Franchise Office and are held by Dublin City Archives. Registers for the years 1936-1984 are available for consultation.
The voters' registers are searchable by street name only. If a researcher wants to trace a particular individual in the registers then they must have that individual's address or approximate address.
Newspapers are valuable contemporary sources about everyday life in Ireland. You may be able to find family birth, engagement, marriage, and death announcements, or articles featuring one of your ancestors.
Dublin City Library and Archive provides free access to a number of subscription newspaper archives. These are fully text searchable and may be a good place to start your search. If you make an appointment to use one of the research computers in our reading room you will have access to:
- Irish Newspaper Archives (including the Radical Newspaper Archive)
- Irish Times Archive
- British Newspaper Archive (via Find My Past)
Dublin City Library and Archive also holds hardcopy and microfilm editions of historical newspapers. Please reach out to us with the date you are looking for and we will be able to advise you on what formats we have.
Jacobs Biscuit Factory Archive – Employee Records
The archives of W & R Jacob and Company were acquired by Dublin City Library and Archive in 2012. Comprising both the business archives donated by Valeo Foods and the Appleyard Collection donated by Douglas Appleyard, the 330 boxes contain a wide range of records, relating to over 150 years of biscuit making in Dublin.
This archive represents a rich and significant contribution to the study of business and commercial life in Dublin in the late 19th and 20th centuries. It also offers valuable information about life in the community of over three thousand Dublin workers, mostly women, who were engaged at any given time during most of the company’s manufacturing period.
Following a major cataloguing project, the collection was opened for public access in the Reading Room of Dublin City Library and Archive in 2016.
If you have a family member who was employed in the Jacobs Biscuit Factory their personnel files may have been preserved as part of this archival collection.
Please see our ‘Procedures for Accessing Employee Records in Jacob’s Biscuit Factory Archive’ (PDF) for more information on how to undertake a search for a family member.
Ancient Freemen of Dublin
The ancient freedom of Dublin was instituted in the 13th century and continued until it was abolished under the Representation of the People Act, 1918. "Freedom" was, in effect, citizenship: freemen had the right to vote, were exempt from many tolls and taxes, were subject to the laws of Dublin and had the duty to take up arms to defend the city when it was under attack.
The Ancient Freemen of Dublin database is a list of all those admitted to the freedom of Dublin by the civic governing body, the Dublin City Assembly. The records cover the period from 1461 to 1491, and 1564 to 1774. Admissions to freedom took place at the quarterly meetings of the City Assembly, held at Christmas, Easter, Midsummer and Michaelmas (29 September). There are 23,257 records digitised from the Thrift Index and 1,914 records digitised from the 'beseeches' in total.
You can search the Ancient Freemen of Dublin database and collection of digitised records to see if your ancestors numbered among the Ancient Freemen of Dublin.
Dublin City Library and Archive holds microfilm copies of the burial records of two of Dublin’s largest cemeteries, Mount Jerome Cemetery and Deansgrange Cemetery. These records will provide you with information about locations of graves, burial dates, personal details about the deceased, and in some cases the names of people maintaining or paying for burial plots.
For Deansgrange Cemetery we hold the following records:
- Register of Graves (1935-1971)
- Register of Care of Graves (1934-1972)
- Register of Interments (1865-1972)
For Mount Jerome Cemetery we hold the following records:
- Index of Burials (1837-1972)
- Register Of Burials (1836-1972)
- Register Of Perpetuities (1836-1972)
Reproductions of Catholic Parish Registers
While the Church of Ireland was the established state church from 1536 to 1870, a very large portion of the Irish population remained Roman Catholic throughout this period. Catholic parish registers contain records of baptisms, marriages and burials that took place in a particular parish. The registers are organised by year and then month, then alphabetically by surname. The details that have been recorded vary with each Parish.
Dublin City Library and Archive holds printed reproductions of registers for the following parishes:
- St John The Evangelist (1619-1699)
- St Patrick’s (1677-1800)
- St Michan’s (1636-1700)
- Provost Winter Trinity College (1650-1660)
- St Catherine’s (1636-1715)
- Union of Monkstown (1669-1800)
- St Eugene’s Cathedral, Derry (1642-1703)
- St Peter’s and St Kevin’s (1669-1761)
- St Nicholas’s (Without) (1694-1739)
- St Andrew’s, St Anne’s, St Audoen’s and St. Bride’s (1632-1800)
- St Marie’s, St Luke’s, St Catherine’s and St Werburgh’s (1627-1800)
All of the parish registers that are available in the DCLA Reading Room are also digitised and available on the website of the National Library of Ireland.
We would also recommend that you consult the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) guide to church records (PDF).
Indices to Irish Civil Birth, Death and Marriage Registers
Civil registration indexes were created for most of Ireland as a common-name repository for records of births, marriages, and deaths between the years of 1864 and 1958. These indexes provide the easiest access to civil registration records. Rather than searching district by district (where names are not in alphabetical order), you can look at a name index.
The Indexes to birth and death registers include the individual's name, registration district, register volume number and page number. The Indexes to marriage registers include the name, registration district, register volume number and page number. Both married people are listed in the index under their own birth name. Association can only be made through contextual information (i.e. date, location).
Dublin City Library and Archive holds indexes on microfilm for the years 1864-1958 (with some gaps). These are also available to consult at irishgenealogy.ie.