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In 1922, Ireland Was Divided Into Two Separate Countries
Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland

Written by Rob

Civil registration in all of Ireland commenced in 1864, when it became compulsory to register these events.  It should be noted however that non-Catholic marriages were being registered from 1845.

Civil registration in Ireland commenced quite late, when compared with England, which commenced in 1837 and Scotland in 1855.

The GRO or the General Register Office of Ireland hold records of all births, deaths and marriages registered in the Ireland up to 1922 and the Republic of Ireland thereafter .From 1922 GRONI, General Register Office of Northern Ireland hold records for Northern Ireland only.

Each event was registered in the local registration district office, which corresponded with the dispensary Districts set up under the Poor Law system in Ireland in other words the Poor Law Union Districts. No attention was paid to Parish or County boundaries.

The local registrar recorded the details of each event in a registration book.  Once filled, the book was forwarded to the Superintendent Registrar for that district.

The Superintendent Registrar would process books from a number of local Registers Office records. He would copy the entries and forward the copy to the General {or Central} Registry Office in Dublin.

Marriages were slightly different. The Registration Book was kept by the local Church as marriages were registered on the day, by the clergyman. Periodically they sent their registers to the Superintendent to be copied and they were then returned to the Church

I should mention that the fact that the registers sent to Dublin were copies of the original records opens the possibility that errors or omissions may have been made between the original registration and arrival of the copies in Dublin. Occasionally a birth or marriage that was missing from the centralised "Government" records in Dublin has been found in the records for the local registration district.

Although civil registration in Ireland was compulsory, it is estimated that in the early years of civil registration up to 10% -15% of births went unregistered.  It is also estimated that the number of deaths not registered was even higher. A death certificate was not required for burial as it is today, only for legal purposes such as a Will probate. This was rare among a generally poor population.

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