Family history

Family history research

The county archive houses many collections that can be exploited for family history research. These range from the archives of local government to business records, estate papers and school records.

Please note that we do not hold birth, marriage and death records – these can be accessed through the General Register Office.

An extensive collection of family history sources are also available in Wexford County Library. Records include parish registers, census records, tithe applotment books, Griffith’s Valuation and local newspapers, all of which are available on microfilm (advance booking essential). Alternatively, the census records for 1901 and 1911 are available online through the National Archives website.

Some of the major holdings in Wexford County Archive that may be relevant to your family history include:

Workhouse/Board of Guardian records

Minute books for the four workhouses in Co. Wexford (Wexford, Enniscorthy, Gorey, New Ross) detail the weekly administration of the institution, including the dietary provision. While these volumes do not contain comprehensive lists of inmates, names crop up in the master’s weekly reports, the names of female inmates who availed of the Assisted emigration scheme (1848-49) are listed, there are incidences of clothes procured or a coffin purchased for a named inmate, and details are given for some boarded-out children. As admissions and discharge registers have not survived for any of the Co. Wexford workhouses, the minute books are the only primary workhouse source for family history and are worthy of detailed investigation.

Local Government archives

There is a varied collection of local government archives that can be of invaluable information when embarking on your family history research. Some of these records will be subject to restricted access where they are under 100 years old. Sources include:

Burial records

Registers of interments can be a valuable genealogical aid in tracing ancestors. Invariably entries in these volumes include name; age at time of death; religious persuasion; occupation; whether married, single, widowed or widower; last place of residence; date of death; date of interment; situation of grave plot; no. of grave or plot on map; signature of person having management of interment; signature of registrar.

Wexford County Council is custodian to 11 burial grounds in Co. Wexford and registers of interments are available on microfilm in Wexford County Archive for the following cemeteries:

  • Ardamine, 1922-2003
  • Askamore, 1934-2003
  • Ballymurn, 1975-2003
  • Bunclody, 1919-2003
  • Castledockrell, 1929-2003
  • Clongeen, 1952-2003
  • Ferns, 1909-2003
  • Glenbrien, 1941-2003
  • Oulart, 1952-2003
  • Oylegate, 1922-2003
  • Rathnure, 1934-2003

The municipal burial registers held by Wexford Borough Council (formerly Wexford Corporation) were microfilmed and digitised in 2004 and are currently available on microfilm in Wexford County Archive. Plans to make these records available online are currently underway. The burial grounds include:

  • St. Patrick’s, 1881-1913
  • St. Michael’s, 1881-1920
  • St. Mary’s, 1881-1926
  • St. John’s, 1881-1927
  • Burial book containing burials in St. Mary’s, St. John’s, St. Michael’s, St. Selskar’s and the Franciscan cemetery, 1896-1946
  • St. Ibar’s cemetery, Crosstown, 1892-2004

See collections – local goverment for more details

Electoral registers, 1966-2010

Lists of voters can be a useful means of tracing ancestors and their place of residence (access restrictions will apply to registers under 30 years old). Please note that some earlier electoral registers for Co. Wexford are available in the National Library of Ireland.

Valuation records, c. 1925-1980s

These records include the names of occupiers and immediate lessors, a description of the tenement and the annual rateable valuation of the property.

Rate books, 1983-93

Volumes record the payment of rates to the local authority by property owners and occupiers, and include such information as the rate number, name of the owner/occupier, description (and address) of the property, annual rateable valuation; arrears; remarks

Housing records, 1905-40s

Labourers’ rentals are a useful source for family history research, as they record tenants’ names, townland, date of agreement and arrears due, while the ledgers include the owner and occupier of the site and the names of the contractor and other tradesmen involved in the scheme. Vested cottage files are also informative for documenting the history of a particular labourer’s cottage, from the original tenant up to the time that it became vested in the last tenant

Estate papers and solicitors’ collections

Records of family interest include rentals, agreements, deeds, rent books, wills, marriage settlements, court documents, family correspondence. See Collections – Estate papers and solicitors’ collections for further details

Business records

Staff records can be of relevance to family history researchers. See collections – business records for more details.

Records of clubs and societies

Records of possible interest include membership lists, lists of subscribers, minutes. See collections – clubs and societies

School records

Roll books, registers and daily attendance books can identify how long a pupil remained at a particular school. The registers in particular can be of interest as they record the date of entrance of the pupil, their religious denomination, residence, occupation of parents and name and county of the last national school the pupil attended. As these records can contain personal details of pupils, restricted access will apply to those records under 100 years old. See collections – school records