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Genealogy | Ginealas

Genealogical Sources

Church records of all denominations are an excellent source for genealogical research and the best starting point as they include baptisms, marriages and sometimes deaths for all classes of the population. They also pre-date civil registration which began in Ireland in 1864. Co. Kildare Catholic baptismal and marriage records are good in comparison to many Irish counties. There are 23 Catholic parishes in Kildare; the earliest register (Celbridge) starts in 1767, and 7 of the other parishes also date from the late 1700s. A number of the Church of Ireland records that have survived also date from the late 1600s and 1700s, although most start in the nineteenth century. Many of the church records are indexed and accessible on the subscription based service at

Tithe Applotment Books 1824-1835 provide a record of the tithable land in each civil parish and were compiled in accordance with the Irish Tithe Composition Acts passed between 1823 and 1838. A tithe was a tax paid to Established Church (Church of Ireland), calculated as one-tenth of the rateable value of one’s agricultural produce. Information was recorded under the following headings: occupier, classification of land, amount of tithe payable, a summary of the townland and parish totals and a list of landowners’ names. Although an excellent genealogical source, it was only concerned with tithe payers, thus excluding other classes such as cottiers, landless people and those living in urban settlements. It cannot be considered a comprehensive record. They can be searched at

Griffith’s Valuation (a major listing of land occupiers) was conducted in 1850s and is available at and on some subscription websites. If you are beginning your search and do not know where your family was from, it can be a useful starting point. A search in the Griffith’s Valuation, for instance will show whether a surname is associated with a particular local area (e.g. a civil parish or townland). If it is, then you can search the church or other records from that area to find evidence of your ancestors.  

Civil records of births, deaths and marriages date from 1864 (1845 for Anglican/Church of Ireland marriages). These can searched freely and the images of the original registers viewed at Updates are usually made once a year. This site currently gives access to:

Births: 1864 to 1920

Marriages: 1845 to 1945

Deaths: 1871 to 1970

1901 and 1911 Census are available to search and view freely online at Please note that there are some errors and omissions. The census returns can also be searched via subscription websites. The 1901 or 1911 census may indicate the local prevalence of a surname, although it was compiled long after the major waves of Irish emigration.  When you have identified a likely area, or a definite ancestor, one or more of the following types of records can be explored:  

Census Substitutes. Although there are no State census records until 1901 surviving for Co. Kildare, there are other local records which can provide evidence of an ancestor. These include lists of voters, freeholders, petitioners, taxpayers, persons charged with crimes and others compiled for a wide variety of reasons. Some will provide a specific address and other useful details as to their circumstances or occupation.

Newspapers can be a great source of information. While the births or marriages prominent citizens will be noted, other people may be mentioned because of appearances in court or local incidents. Local newspapers also printed lists of persons attending meetings, or signing petitions, and there are also advertisements for local businesses, auctions etc. The main newspapers relevant to Co. Kildare research are the Leinster Express (1831), Leinster Leader (1881), Kildare Observer (1880) and Nationalist (1883). The Leinster Express, The Nationalist and Leinster Leader are available on the subscription site The Kildare Observer can be searched freely at

Gravestone inscriptions which have been recorded are available in a range of local and national journals and books, most of which are available in the Kildare Local Studies, Genealogy and Archives department, and also via the subscription service at Please visit the Archives section for information on holdings of burial grounds in Co. Kildare.

Commercial Directories. During the 18th century local directories were published by private companies. These contain listings of tradesmen, professionals, public officials, and sometimes the local gentry. For example Slater’s National Commercial Directory of Ireland, 1846 covers the towns of Athy, Celbridge, Leixlip, Lucan, Kilcullen, Kildare, Maynooth & Kilcock, Monasterevin, Naas, and Rathangan. It is searchable by surname, occupation and location.

Estate Papers. Co. Kildare has a good collection of Estate papers and rentals, many of which are in public archives, particularly the National Library of Ireland (NLI) and in the Kildare County Archives. The NLI collection can be searched through their Sources database ( which is also a goldmine of other local material, e.g. the Registers of leases of the Dukes of Leinster in the Manors of Kildare, Rathangan, Knocknegalla and Tipper, Co. Kildare, late 18th century-mid. 19th century. Please visit the Kildare County Archives section for information on its holdings of estate papers for Co. Kildare.

Local and Family Histories. The evidence of your ancestors in the records is determined by local events, and by local practices and customs. Awareness of local history and culture is therefore useful in revealing useful sources of information. There are a range of local histories of Kildare towns, parishes and associations which provide such background information. Co. Kildare has been particularly fortunate in having some excellent local historians and publications, including the County Kildare Archaeological Society (1891). These can be accessed at Kildare County Archives and Local Studies.