Posted By:Elwyn Soutter
Subject:Re: Hamill family County Antrim
Post Date:October 02, 2012 at 11:12:50
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Forum:Ireland Genealogy Forum
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Thereís no central index of church records. You need to know the personís parish in Ireland. For Co Antrim most RC parish records have bene copied and are held in PRONI, Belfast. Be aware that, outside Belfast and other big cities, many RC churches didnít keep baptism or marriage records before the 1820s. And RC churches generally never kept burial records at any time.

Statutory records of births, deaths & marriages started in Ireland on 1.1.1864 (1st April 1845 for Protestant and Non-Conformist marriages). Prior to that you are heavily dependant on church records, where they exist. Most early Irish censuses have been destroyed so no help there. You really need to try and find out a little more about the family from sources outside Ireland. (Otherwise itís a needle in a haystack).

To use church records effectively, because thereís no centralised index, ideally you need to know the ancestorís townland and parish in Ireland. Good sources are poor law applications which usually contain details of the personís parish in Ireland, plus other family they may have (Mitchell Library in Glasgow for the Glasgow area; local libraries for many other areas). Check every possible census. Census returns sometimes include exact place of birth, instead of just ďIrelandĒ. Look out also for other Irish people nearby in the censuses. Immigrants often settled near people they knew from home. Check any military records, old diaries, gravestones, family bibles, wills and obituaries. Birth certs for some locations (e.g. Scotland) include place of marriage of parents (save for 1856 to 1859).