Frequently Asked Questions
1. General Information
2. Genealogy/Family History
3. Questions relating to Marriage
4. Questions not related specifically to the GRO.
Where is the General Register Office / Research Room and what are your opening times?
Our address is General Register Office, Government Offices, Convent Road , Roscommon. Opening hours for personal callers: 9.30am – 4.30 pm, Monday to Friday (excluding bank holidays)
Our Research Room is located at the Irish Life Centre, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1
How do I apply for a Birth/Death/Marriage Certificate or photocopy
from the General Register Office?
You can apply in writing, by fax, online at www.certificates.ie or in person giving as many details of the birth, death or marriage as you can, i.e. full names, date and location of event, parent's names and occupations, mother's maiden names etc. Obviously the more information you can give us the more chance we have of finding the records you are looking for. Our index and records are date based and are in a manual format so we will need accurate dates (correct year at least).
The absolute minimum information we need is the forename and surname (of both parties if it's a marriage) and the year the event occurred and in many cases we will need some further detail/s such as an exact date, the location of the event, other forenames, parents names etc.
The Birth/Death/Marriage Register entries are public records and anybody can obtain copies of them.
SEE ALSO About Us page , Fees Page.
What is the difference between the General Register Office (G.R.O.) and the Superintendent Registrars Office (S.R.O.)?
The G.R.O. is a National Office. The S.R.O.'s are Local Offices (usually one for each County).
You can apply for Certificates by post, online at www.certificates.ie or in person giving the relevant details (names, dates, locations, parent's names, mother's maiden name etc.) to either the G.R.O. or the S.R.O. (the G.R.O. also accepts faxed applications). See Fees Page on website for address and phone No's of S.R.O.'s.
The S.R.O.s generally do not accept foreign currencies and some do not accept credit cards. Payment must be in Euro; i.e. cheque, International Money Order (either of which must be drawn on an Irish bank), cash or Irish Postal Order.
The G.R.O. covers all of Ireland and is usually used by people applying from overseas. Payment must be in Euro as above but we also accept Credit Cards. Our address is General Register Office, Government Offices, Convent Road , Roscommon.
SEE ALSO About Us page , Fees Page.
What are the fees and how can I pay?
See Fees Page.
What does t he € Euro fee work out as in Pounds, Dollars, Pesos, Yen etc. etc.
The various exchange rates fluctuate on a daily basis, check with your financial institution for the current rate or there are hundreds of sites on the internet (search on MSN , Yahoo, Alta Vista, Google etc. under currency+ converter).
Can I pay by Credit Card?
Yes, see Fees Page.
Can I order a certificate online?
Yes, Applications for certificates can be made online. Please click here .
How long will my postal application take?
The postal backlog in the General Register Office varies depending on the volume of applications on hand. Every effort is made to process all applications as quickly as possible.
Which office should I call to in person if I need a Certificate?
With the exception of certain historical records, adoption certificates and some stillbirth certificates, all births, deaths and marriage certificates can be obtained in any Civil Registration office, irrespective of where the event occurred.
Attendance patterns at public counters in Civil Registration Offices are difficult to predict accurately in advance and service delays may occur from time to time.
Deaths records from 1864 – 1923 and Marriage records from 1845 – 1919 (Roman Catholic Marriages from 1864 – 1919) are available from The Office of The Superintendent Register for the district in which the event occurred or, from the GRO (Roscommon and Research Facility, Irish Life Centre, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1)
If historical research is intended, the Research Facility in The Irish Life Centre, Lower Abbey Street, Dublin 1 is the appropriate office to undertake this. Postal and fax applications for historical records should be forwarded to GRO, Roscommon.
Do I pay a cheaper fee if a Birth/Marriage/Death Certificate is required for social welfare purposes?
Yes, you can obtain a special reduced fee Certificate for social welfare purposes at a cost of 1.00 Euro.
The exceptions are Adopted Children's Birth Certificates, which are only available from the General Register Office (G.R.O.).
The Application for a Cert form refers to Long Form Certificates and Authenticated Certificates. What is the difference?
A Long Form Certified copy is what is needed for most legal or administrative purposes such as passport applications, marriage licences, social welfare claims etc
Authenticated Certificates are sometimes required by the authorities in countries where English is not the first language or that would not be familiar with the format of Irish Birth/Marriage/Death Certs.
If in doubt, check with the person/agency/office that you will be presenting the cert to.
I can't call to your office in person; can someone get a Certificate there on my behalf?
Yes, our records are public records and anyone can obtain copies of them.
Can I register my child's birth in Irish or in another language?
Yes. Under the Civil Registration Act, 2004, the surname of the child to be entered in the register, shall, subject to any linguistic modifications , be that of the parents of the child as stated in the register of births or of either of them or, with the agreement of An tArd-Chláraitheoir or a Superintendent Registrar, such other name as may be requested by both of the parents. This allows for an Irish version of a surname, even if the parents are known by or are themselves registered in the English version.
This is applicable in the case of all linguistic modifications, subject to verification, if necessary, that the modification is a standard or recognised practice in the language or culture concerned. As registration staff are unlikely to be familiar with every language or culture that they encounter, we advise parents who want to register a surname or version of a surname that is different to their own to bring along some proof that the surname they are choosing is common or recognised practice in their own language and/or culture (for example, a letter from an embassy (or other diplomatic agency) or from the registration service in their country or countries of origin.)
N/B: The name chosen should be carefully considered and the most appropriate assigned. It may be extremely difficult from a legal viewpoint, and time consuming for all concerned, if the details in an entry have to be altered after the initial registration.
Can I search the Marriage indexes with only one name?
No. Our marriage registration system is designed to record, and provide certified confirmation, that two named individuals were civilly married in a specific place on a specific date and we cannot check that any given individual has (or indeed hasn't) been married.
Do you do Genealogical/Family History Research.
No, the office does not have the staffing levels or resources to engage in this type of activity. We are solely concerned with the administration of the civil registration system in Ireland . However, we will supply copies of our records on request.
SEE ALSO: About Us page and How do I apply for a Birth/Death/Marriage Certificate or photocopy? on this page.
There are also private commercial companies who will undertake such research, many of whom you will find on the internet or in the classified pages of your phone book. Otherwise, if you are in, or can come to, Dublin , we have a research room where members of the public can access our records.
What information do Birth/Death/Marriage Certificates contain?
A Pre 1997 Birth cert consists of date and place of birth, child's forename/s, fathers name, address and occupation, mothers name and maiden surname, name and address of person who registered the birth.
A Post 1997 Birth cert consists of date and place of birth, child's forename/s, child's surname, fathers name, address, occupation and former surnames (if any), mothers name, address, occupation and former surnames (if any), name and address of person who registered the birth.
A Death Cert consists of deceased's name, date and place of death, marital condition, occupation, age at last birthday, cause of death, name and address of person who registered the death.
A pre 1957 Marriage cert consists of date and place of marriage, both spouses age, name, marital condition, occupation and pre-marriage address and their fathers names and occupations.
A post 1957 Marriage cert consists of date and place of marriage, both spouses age, name, marital condition, occupation and pre-marriage address, their parents names and the spouses future intended place of residence.
Can I search for Birth/Death/Marriage Records online?
No, our index and records are in a manual format, which is basically unchanged since the 19th century. We are in the process of computerising them but a decision has yet to be taken about which, if any, of these records will be available online.
Is there somewhere I can search your rec ords myself?
You can visit our Research Room in Dublin , where you can search the index books for birth/marriage/ death and adoptions entries yourself.
We do not have a booking facility in the research room, which operates on a first come, first served basis. Sometimes overcrowding forces us to make customers wait for entry until someone else leaves but if you show up at or near the opening time of 9.30 a.m. you should have no problem.
There is a daily search fee of € 20.00 euro, this entitles you to search any of our Birth, Marriage or Death index books or for € 2.00 euro you can do a 5 year search of a given index.
NOTE: These fees only apply to personal callers to the Office.
The index books contain references to microfilm records of the actual register entries, copies of which are then available from the research room staff at a cost of €2.00 euro each. Due to staffing shortages it is not always possible to obtain all of the required photocopies on the same day. Details of the type and extent of records that we hold are on the Research page. Check this
Who or where should I contact to find Church records of Baptisms, Marriages and Burials?
Contact details for the various churches and archives containing church records are on the About Us page on this site.
3.Questions relating to Marriage
More details relating to Marriage are available in the Information Leaflet on the Solemnization (Celebration) and registration of a Valid Marriage in Ireland or the Getting Married page of this website.
How do I give notification of intention to marry?
You must do so in person at a Registrar’s office at least 3 months before the intended date of the marriage. You should make an appointment with a Registrar at one of the Registration Offices listed below (it does not have to be a Registrar in the area where the marriage is taking place). The Registrar will advise you, when making the appointment, of any information and documents you should bring with you to the notification meeting. A notification fee of €200 is payable
Click on www.civilregistrationservice.ie to get details for local Civil Registration Service Offices
If you are living abroad or unable by reason of illness to attend a Registration Office, you should contact a Registration Office and obtain authorisation from a Registrar to make your notification by post. In these circumstances the Registrar will issue you with a form for this purpose, but you will still have to make arrangements to meet the Registrar in person before the ceremony.
What is a Marriage Registration Form (MRF)?
A Marriage Registration Form is effectively a marriage licence i.e. it is the civil authorisation for the couple to marry. You must have been issued with an MRF in order to marry in Ireland after 5th November 2007 (see below paragraph regarding the position if you have given notification before that date). After you have had your notification meeting with the Registrar and all necessary details and documentation has been provided, the Registrar will issue you with a MRF. The couple, the witnesses and the solemniser (priest, cleric or registrar) must all sign the MRF at the end of the marriage ceremony.
What is the Register of Solemnisers?
The Register of Solemnisers is a register of all those who are authorised to perform civilly-recognised marriages in Ireland. It includes both civil registrars who are employees of the Health Service Executive and members of the various religious denominations who are nominated by their religious bodies. It can be inspected at any Registration Offices or on the General Register Office www.groireland.ie at Section 2.2 of the ‘Getting Married’ section. All those solemnising marriages on or after 5th November 2007 must be on this Register.
What happens if I have given notification before 5th November 2007?
The Registrar to whom you gave notification will be writing to you advising you of the new procedures as they affect you. If you have given your notification by post before 5th November 2007, this remains valid under the new legislation. If you are having a Roman Catholic marriage ceremony and have given notification before that date, you do not need to be issued with a MRF prior to your marriage; the old registration form (known as a Form A) may still be used in such cases. However, if you are having a civil or non-Catholic ceremony, your notification will also remain valid but you will have to have a MRF issued to you before the marriage and the Registrar will be contacting you to make arrangements for this.
You must ensure that your solemniser is on the Register of Solemnisers. You will also have to make a verbal declaration of no impediment at the ceremony. Your solemniser will discuss this with you and the Registrar will be writing to you regarding the impediments to marriage.
Number/age/sex/nationality etc. of witnesses to a marriage.
There must be two witnesses for a marriage to be civilly recognised. The law requires that witnesses be 18 years or over; there are no legal requirements regarding the sex or nationality of witnesses. The tradition of having the best man and chief bridesmaid act as witnesses is just that; a tradition. The names and dates of birth of the witnesses must be given to the Registrar at notification stage as they have to go onto the MRF.
Can we get married other than in a church or Registry Office ?
Marriages by Civil ceremony in Ireland must take place in the Office of a Registrar of Civil Marriage or at a venue which has been inspected and approved in advance by a Registrar in accordance with guidelines laid down by the Minister. If you wish your civil ceremony to be held at a venue other than a Registry Office, you should contact the local Registrar to arrange for the venue to be inspected.
In certain limited circumstances, some religions allow marriages to be celebrated other than in a church building but you would need to discuss this with the relevant church authorities.
Can we renew our marriage vows in Ireland ?
A married person cannot get married (even if it is to the same person!) and, as your first marriage will probably be civilly recognized in Ireland, we would not be involved in any ceremony you might wish to have in Ireland .
However, there is a long tradition of "church blessings" in this country where Irish people who have married in civil ceremonies in the U.K., the U.S.A., Australia etc. marry in a religious ceremony the next time they are home. You should contact an appropriate local clergyman who should be able to put you in touch with a counterpart in Ireland.
The General Register Office will only determine if a foreign divorce is recognisable if it is received by a Registrar of Marriage in connection with a notification of intention to marry. When the divorce decree/s is/are received by the Registrar, they will be submitted to the General Register Office to be checked as to whether they are recognisable under Irish law.
Where the divorce does not come within EU regulations, the divorce decrees will be submitted to this office along with a residency questionnaire and evidence of place of birth of the parties to the divorce to this office to determine if the divorce is recognisable under the Domicile and Recognition of Foreign Divorces Act 1986. The criteria for recognition are complex and very much depend on the individual circumstances in each case and we would not be in a position to make a decision until the divorce is actually submitted. The main requirement is that one of the parties to the divorce was, at the time of the institution of divorce proceedings, domiciled in the country in which the divorce was granted. You will find more details in Section 3.1.1 on the Getting Married page.
Where the divorce comes within EU regulations, domicile is not an issue and recognition is more or less automatic as long as both parties to the divorce were notified of the divorce proceedings. Again see Section 3.1.1 of the Getting Married page for more details.
NOTE: If the Divorce papers or evidence of place of birth are not in English they must be accompanied by English translations. We will accept translations from any reputable Translation agency but we cannot recommend any single commercial company, you should be able to find one in your classified telephone directory.
What do I have to do if I'm getting married abroad?
You do not have to fulfill any of the Irish Civil Marriage requirements. However, it is important that you fulfill the requirements for Civil Marriage in the country where you are getting married, you should contact the relevant Embassy for details.
You will sometimes be asked by the relevant authorities for a Certificate of Nulla Osta, aka Certificate de Coutume. These documents are issued by the Consular Section, Dept of Foreign Affairs, St Stephens Green, Dublin 2. Phone +353-1-4082568 9.30-12.30 Mon-Fri. Website www.irlgov.ie/iveagh
If I get married abroad how do I register the marriage in Ireland ?
Irish marriage legislation only provides for the registration of marriages that occur in Ireland so, not only do you not need to register a foreign marriage here, there is no mechanism by which you may do so. The civil marriage certificate from the country where the marriage took place is the legal proof of your marriage (see also next paragraph).
Will my foreign marriage be recognised in Ireland ?
This office does not have a role in deciding the legality or otherwise of marriages that occur outside the State.
A foreign Marriage Certificate, accompanied by a translation from a reputable translation agency if necessary, should be acceptable for most legal and administrative purposes, but there are some circumstances (notably where one of the parties to the marriage was divorced outside Ireland) where this may not be the case.
If in doubt you should seek legal advice, preferably from a solicitor who specialises in Family Law, as this can be an extremely complex matter.
There is also a mechanism by which you may apply to the Irish Courts (under Section 29 of the Family Law Act 1995) for an order recognising a foreign marriage.
4. Questions not related specifically to the GRO .
Census records and Birth/Death/Marriage Statistics.
The Irish Central Statistics Office is responsible for compiling this type of information. Contact Vital Statistics Section, Central Statistics Office, Skehard Road , Cork , County Cork . Email. email@example.com Phone +353-21-4535000.
Where can I get a passport/apply for Iris h citizenship?
Passport and citizenship matters are not within the remit of this office. However you should be entitled to Irish citizenship if one of your parents or grandparents was born anywhere on the island of Ireland .
You will, at some stage, need the long form birth Certificate of the parent/grandparent in question, to apply for a Cert See the: About Us page .
For further information on Passports/Irish Citizenship you should contact the Irish Passport Office, Molesworth Street , Dublin 2. Phone +353-1-4780822 or your nearest Irish Embassy or Consulate.
I want to obtain Irish Citizenship, but my parent/grandparents birth is not civilly registered, what should I do?
In the absence of a Civil birth record, a Baptismal Certificates may be acceptable by the passport office as proof of birth. If this is the case, please see 'Who or where should I contact to find Church records?' above.
I want to change my/my child's name on my/their Birth Cert.
Changes to the Register of Births are almost impossible to effect and generally are only done if it can be proved that a clerical or factual error was made at the time of registration.
The surname to be recorded for a child in the Register of Births should be carefully considered and the most appropriate surname assigned, taking account of the provisions above. IN CASES WHERE THE DETAILS OF BOTH PARENTS OF A CHILD ARE REGISTERED, IT IS NOT POSSIBLE TO CHANGE THE SURNAME OF A CHILD IN THE REGISTER OF BIRTHS ONCE THE BIRTH HAS BEEN REGISTERED UNLESS THE PARENTS MARRY EACH OTHER, FOLLOWING THE BIRTH OF THEIR CHILD.
The process by which a person legally changes their name is known as Deed Poll and is a matter for the Courts. Contact the Courts Service +353-1-8725555, www.courts.ie or consult your solicitor.
Where can I get a copy of my divorce papers?
Records relating to divorces granted in Ireland are not available in the General Register Office. You should contact the court in which your divorce was granted in order to obtain a copy.
How do I find a friend/family member that I have lost touch with?
The General Register Office cannot provide a service for those attempting to trace friends or family members. However, Ireland is a relatively (no pun intended) small country so placing an advertisement in a local or national newspaper might be worth a try or you could try telephone directory enquiries.
Locations of Burials.
Unfortunately, the Registers of Deaths do not record the location of the burial/cremation of the deceased.
A death cert will give you the location in which the person died and, if that was a hospital or nursing home, they may have records of where he/she was buried or which undertakers took care of the arrangements. To obtain a death certificate see the How do I apply for a Birth/Death/Marriage Certificate or photocopy? on this page.
The church in which any funeral service was held might also be able to help, if you contact your local clergy of the appropriate denomination they should be able to put you in touch with the relevant church authorities in Ireland .
How do I register to practice medicine/nursing in Ireland ?
You should e-mail our Dept of Health and Children at firstname.lastname@example.org or you could try contacting the Irish Medical Council at email@example.com
I want a Northern Irish Birth/Death/Marriage Certificate for the period after 1921, where can I get it?
General Register Office, Oxford House, 49/55 Chichester St. , Belfast BT1 4HL, Northern Ireland , email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Adopted Children searching for birth parents.
The Adoption Board, Shelbourne House, Shelbourne Road, Ballsbridge, Dublin 4, administers the system of adoption in the state. Any enquiries regarding tracing of birth parents should be raised with the Board.
Phone No: +353-1-2309300/2309301/2309315.
Time of Birth.
Under the provisions of the Civil Registration Act, 2004, the time of birth is part of the schedule of particulars to be registered in the register of births.
Prior to the introduction of the schedule, the time of birth was only entered in the Register of Births in the case of a multiple birth i.e. twins, triplets etc. Where information on the time of birth is not registered, the hospital or nursing home where the birth occurred may still have records of the actual time of birth.
Geography/Placenames/Irish History/Heraldry etc.
We receive many queries regarding Irish history and geography, the location and meaning of placenames, emigration from Ireland, advice on tourist attractions etc. etc. which are nothing to do with the role and function of this office. We do try and answer all of these questions if we can, or at least point you in the right direction if we can't, but the office is extremely busy with our main tasks and it may take some time before we can get back to you on these.