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In order to obtain Irish Citizenship based on the birth of an Irish grandparent, it should be remembered that Civil Registration of births did not commence in Ireland until 1864. Therefore, it is not possible to obtain the usual form of Birth Certificate for a birth occurring before that date.
The same principle applies to those wishing to obtain a United Kingdom Grandparent Entry Certificate - because Ireland, of course, was an integral part of the United Kingdom until Partition in 1921, evidence of a birth in Ireland before that date is perfectly valid evidence for these purposes.
In respect of pre-1864 births, the alternative is a Baptismal Certificate issued by the Parish Priest in which your Grandparent was baptised. If you do not know which Parish the Baptism took place in, a more extensive search is likely to be required.
Even in the case of a post-1864 birth, it may not be possible to obtain a birth certificate because the birth may not have been actually registered. If this is the case, it is necessary to obtain a Form 24R from the Registrar stating that an unsuccessful search for the certificate was conducted and, when attached to a Baptismal Certificate, this constitutes adequate evidence of a birth in Ireland.
You also need to be aware that ages given on certificates (and especially on death certificates) or obtained from family sources can be wrong by up to 10 years or even more. A date or month will usually be right ... but often not the year. Here is an extreme example from my own research -
These are the children of David FITZGERALD and Bridget MULQUEEN, all baptised at Askeaton and none of whom married- alongside are their actual ages when the 1901 Census was taken and then the age actually appearing on the Census
Bridget 15 May 1838 62 - shown as 50 Ellen 27 Jan 1840 61 - shown as 40 Daniel 24 Aug 1845 55 - shown as 49 Eliza 27 Jan 1849 52 - shown as 39
If a baptismal certificate is required, vitally, the exact place of birth has to be either known or be capable of detection. Where, for example, only the County or City of birth are known or even if you have no idea what part of Ireland to start looking, all may not be lost - unless, of course, your grandparent's name was a very common one.
There are various techniques I can use to help narrow the search for a baptism down to a small number of parishes.
For example -
The indexes to the Griffith Valuations - a survey of all property tenancies conducted between 1848 and 1860. This may be sufficient to create a short-list of possibilities.
British Isles Vital indexes - the birth you are seeking cannot be found in the Birth Registration indexes (either because it was not registered or it was pre-1864 or the name is so common that their are multiple choices or there is a question mark over the year of birth). But that does not rule out the possibility that there were siblings whose births were registered ... and all that need be known is the names of the parents. The Vital Index CD purports to include all birth registrations between 1864 and 1874 and all non-Catholic marriages between 1845 and 1863. It is, however, known to be deficient - but at least it is another tool to use.
Marriage record of the parents - this may help to pin-point the most likely parish where your grandparent was born.
County baptism indexes - the quality and availability of these varies considerably from County to County. In particular, Dublin is unfortunately a 'no-go' area if an index search is required. Co Cork is also quite difficult.
In these more complex areas, I can undertake all this research for you.
In the straightforward situations where the Parish is known or is limited to one or two Parishes, I can apply for a Baptismal Certificate on your behalf and this will usually be forthcoming within about two-three weeks.
When contacting me for a search to be undertaken, please make sure you include details of parent names of your grandparent and his/her religion. It would also be helpful if you would include details of age and exact dates shown on your grandparent's marriage and death certificates.
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By the Author
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