Most people set out on tracing their family history full of enthusiasm only to be hit by brick walls along the way. In this post we will share some useful tips about how to trace your Limerick City ancestors and what resources are available online. Luckily for those starting out in genealogy today a lot more resources available at the finger tips, though there is a certain loss of enjoyment from missing out on the dusty books and reels of microfiche which were the norm up until very recently.

Getting Started – Tracing  Your Family History

Before you even attempt to start your search online, try to find out as much information as you can from family members. This can include making copies of certificates that are already in your families possession and writing down anything and everything you’re able to gleam from stories; names, dates, times, places, etc.  These will give you  plenty of clues for your search as well as saving you money in the long run.

Luckily digital cameras and phones are common place now, so use them. If your aged aunt has letters from a relative, photograph them and leave them with her (unless of course she is generous enough to pass them along to the next generation). When you find out photographs, to better gain insight into the time it is advisable to take note of the photographer or printing company as looking them up on the trade directories you will be able to find when and from where they operated.

This brings us on to the oral histories that are often passed down from generation to generation. We all have those tall tales in the family that seem too believable to be true, take note of these as well as the mundane from interviews with your family member as sometimes there is a grain of truth in these, you will be pleasantly surprised as well as shocked at what your ancestors got up to.

Know your Parish! This is a vital step in researching your ancestors, Ireland Reaching Out have a handy guide to parishes in Limerick city and county. Know their religion, in Limerick city there are two St. Mary’s, two St. Michael’s and two St. Munchin’s churches, one for Roman Catholics and one for the Church of Ireland (Anglican). It is easy get these confused, here are photographs of the city churches to help distinguish the main religious buildings.

Civil Birth, Death and Marriage Indexes

The Indexes to the Civil Records of Irish Births, Deaths and Marriages date from 1864 with non-Roman Catholic Marriages recorded from Birth Records over 100 years, the Indexes to Marriage Records over 75 years and the Indexes to Death Records over 50 years are now available to search on Irish Genealogy


Limerick City Catholic Parish Registers

In 2015 the National Library released digital versions of their microfilmed Catholic Parish Registers for Ireland. These are scans of the original hand written record book and as such are not text searchable but you can refine the search by year. The registers for Limerick City are:

St John’s – Baptisms 1788 – 1877, Marriages 1821 – 1877 (with gaps)

St Mary’s  – Baptisms 1745 -1862, Marriages 1745 – 1862 (with gaps)

St Michael’s -Baptisms 1776 – 1876 , Marriages 1772 – 1877 (with gaps)

St Munchin’s – Baptisms 1764 – 1877, Marriages 1764 – 1877 (with gaps)

St. Patrick’s – Baptisms 1812 – 1875, Marriages 1812 – 1880 (with gaps)

Limerick Society of Friends (Quaker) Records:

The follow records are scanned original record books and are not text searchable.

Records of Births – 1812 – 1948

Records of Marriages – 1812 – 1943

Records of Deaths – 1812 -1952

Records of Burials – 1812 -1895

Transcribed Burials 1812 – 1833

Limerick Electoral Registers

Back to Limerick and its resources, first find your ancestor using the electoral registers. These registers showed where those who were eligible to vote, and who had registered to do so were living. These registers are uploaded as PDF files, which can be downloaded and viewed in ones own time. A handy tip if you are not used to using PDF files is to click the search button and browse for the exact name you’re looking for as scrolling through the entire register can be a pain on the eyes.

From this you can find out where your ancestor lived as well as with whom, you can also see if their siblings or parents lived. As a cross-reference, you can find the alternative street names on our street name pages.

Limerick Census Records

It is important to know your ancestors siblings as sometimes they can help you find your wayward great grandparent, especially if your great grandparent was oddly named. Which brings us on to the census.

Both the 1901 & 1911 census freely available to use.  It is a great loss to our heritage that the earlier census records were destroyed. The 1901 & 1911 census will tell you more than just who your family lived with but where they lived and their ages at the time. We have added a link to the 1911 census to each street in Limerick 1911 Census by Street

Make sure you open the House & Building Return to see what kind of house they lived in, this can give you great insight into their level of income. You can also check the 1907 “Sale of Limerick” map to see how built up the area was that your family lived.


Limerick Trade Directories

Now that we have come to employment, in Limerick is incredibly lucky that to have the trade directories available online. Many surprising trades are recorded

A tip for using this is to put the surname first: as in “Brown John” with no comma into the name search field. Once you find where your ancestor worked it might be interesting to check if the Limerick Museum has any material relating to that company.

First World War Military Records

You may have had a grand uncle killed in the First World War, there were all too many Limerick men, and a few women who were killed, many of who left behind a Last Will and Testament and were recorded by the Common Wealth Grave Commission and Irish War Memorials.

The Limerick Library Local Studies have mapped the location of all known Limerick First World War Fatalities


Limerick Death Records

This brings us to death records. We here at Limerick’s Life have been working on adding our own Limerick graveyard archive online, so far we have transcribed the headstones from St. Michael’s GraveyardSt. Johns ChurchyardKilquane Graveyard, St.Patrick’s Graveyard and transcribed the Pump Lane Quakers Graveyard and are currently transcribing the King’s Island Military CemeteryMount Saint Lawrence Cemetery and St. Mary’s Cathedral Graveyard

On the original Mount St Lawrence, Mount Saint Lawrence Extension and Mount Saint Oliver Burial Registers held by Limerick Archives, you will be able to search for your ancestors not yet on our transcription list. This will be able to help you find them in the Cemetery itself as the plot numbers are included. Here is a step-by-step guide to getting the most out of the transcription records for Mount Saint Lawrence.You can now search the Mount Saint Lawrence Grave Markers

Many of the county graveyards have been transcribed by Historic Graves.

The obituaries from the Limerick Chronicle from 1838-1937 are available online through the Limerick Library Local Studies. Please keep in mind that the details for these records were provided by those who survived and they might not have known the exact age or address of the recently deceased.

Finally the Will Indexes from the National Archives these come in two parts Calendars of Wills and Administrations 1858 – 1920 and  Calendars of Wills and Administrations 1922-1982


Final Tips on Tracing Family History

When browsing any online records keep in mind that sometimes people didn’t always register to vote, take or properly fill out the census form and the like. Using multiple records and cross checking facts is often the best route to take when tracing your family history.

As you begin your journey of tracing your Limerick city family history, let us know your interesting finds, as well as any hardships that you’re encountering. And if there are other resources that you have found helpful that have been excluded from our post, please let us know and we will be happy to add them.

Other useful free websites:

Other useful pay websites:


This is a link to a comprehensive list of Limerick City and County History Societies