Trace Your Roots

Tracing your Irish ancestors can be a very enjoyable way to spend a holiday in Ireland. Doing the research yourself will give you a better understanding of Ireland’s past history and present culture and with a bit of luck you could find your long lost cousins. Here are a few hints on the groundwork to trace your County Monaghan ancestors. As a starting point you need to know:
  • 1 The family name (The nickname is also helpful, especially if they had a popular name).
  • 2 The parish and townland in which they lived.
  • 3 An approximate date.
In the event that the parish or townland in which the family lived is unknown there are a number of index files which may be consulted and these are outlined below.

1901 - 1911

County Monaghan’s earliest surviving Census Returns is the Census of 1901. The Census was taken in Ireland every 10 years from 1821, unfortunately however the Co. Monaghan records prior to 1901 have been destroyed. So when searching for a person living around 1901 or 1911 look at the 1901 Census Returns which are available on microfilm in the County Library in Clones – Telephone (047) 51143.

1850 - 1860s

For persons living in the 1850’s or 60’s look at Griffiths Primary Valuation which is a survey of land and property carried out between 1847 and 1865 for the purposes of local taxation. A copy of Griffiths Primary Valuation is available for reference in Clones, Monaghan, Carrickmacross, Castleblayney and Ballybay Libraries.

1820 - 1830's

For persons living in the 1820’s or 30’s look at the Tithe Applotment books, which are available on microfilm in the County Library in Clones. A hardback copy is also available in Clones, Monaghan, Carrickmacross, Castleblayney and Ballybay Libraries. These books were compiled between 1823 and 1837 for the purpose of determining the amount which occupiers of agricultural land should pay in tithes (taxes) to the established church, the Church of Ireland. The applotment book for each parish gives the name of occupiers, the amount of land they held and the value assigned to it. Opening Times for County Library Clones.

Date of Births, Marriages & Deaths

If the date of a birth, marriage or death is known more details can be found. A system for state registration of births, deaths and marriages began in Ireland in 1864. Records of all births, marriages and deaths occurring after this date should be preserved in the Office of the Registrar General, Custom House Dublin. The records for County Monaghan can be obtained from The Registrar, Births, Marriages and Deaths, North Eastern Health Board, Rooskey, Monaghan – Telephone 047 30444.

Births, Marriages & Deaths prior to 1864

Information on Births Marriages and Deaths prior to 1864 can be found in parish registers. The surviving Catholic Registers for the period up to 1880 are available on microfilm in the National Library of Ireland, Kildare Street, Dublin 2 – Telephone 01 6030200.

The registers of the Church of Ireland for the period up to 1870 are Public Records. Some are preserved in the Public Records Offices while others remain in the custody of the local clergy. The Public Records Office is based at 8 -11 Lombard Street East, Dublin 2 – Telephone 01 6711968

If your ancestors were Presbyterian, The Presbyterian Historical Society, Church House, Fisherwick Place, Belfast BT1 6DW, may be able to help – Telephone 04890 322284. The Public Records Office of Northern Ireland, 66 Balmoral Avenue, Belfast BT9 6NY, may also be of assistance – Telephone 048 90 251318.

Births, Marriages & Deaths prior to 1864

In the event that the parish or town land in which the family lived is not known there are a number of index files which can be consulted. These however are best employed when the family name is an unusual one, otherwise it will be a long list of people with the same surname who may or may not be related. So look at the following documents and try and cross reference them to get leads on your ancestors.
  • 1 Griffiths Primary Valuation and Tithe Applotment Books.
  • 2 Calendar of Wills and Administrations - there is a volume for each year since 1858. Prior to that there is an Index of Prerogative Wills 1536 - 1910. These documents are available in the Public Records Office Reading Room in Dublin.
  • 3 Some information on marriages prior to 1864 is also available in the Public Records Office relating to Marriage Licence Bonds. These were for persons wishing to marry in the Church of Ireland without having to have banns called and were a guarantee that there were no impediments to the marriage.
  • 4 Indexes to Wills and other Testamentary records can often be found in family papers, in the records of solicitors' firms and among other holdings received from non-official sources. All wills since 1904 and copies of most wills proved in district registers since 1858 are also available in the Public Records Office.
  • 5 There are also card indexes to Testamentary Records, Miscellaneous Documents, and Genealogical abstracts in the Public Records Office which may be helpful.

other sources of


  • Gravestone Inscriptions - A large number of graveyards have been inspected over the years and the inscriptions recorded in printed sources.
  • Local Newspapers
  • Directories
  • Estate Rental Books
  • Parish Histories and Family Histories could also prove useful in your research.
  • A valuable collection of family and local historical resources is available in the Local History/Genealogy section of Monaghan County Library

Local History & Genealogy Research Facilities

  • Monday: 11am - 8pm / Tuesday - Friday: 11am - 5pm
  • 98 Avenue, Clones
  • Tel: 047 74713 / Email:
  • Monaghan County Library Services recently published a guide on 'How to Trace your Ancestors in County Monaghan'. Copies are available free of charge from all branch libraries and tourism information points in the county or can be downloaded from the library website.
  • Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm
  • Shercock Road, Carrickmacross
  • Tel: 042 966 4540 / Email:
  • Carrickmacross Workhouse provides a Genealogy Service focused on families in South Co. Monaghan. Records include graveyards, surveys, visitor books, newspapers, etc.

*There is a nominal charge for a Genealogy query, which can be submitted via the website.


Genealogical Information

Monaghan County Library, Clones Local History & Genealogical Services

Catríona Lennon
Tel: +353 (0) 47 74713 / 74712

Cassandra Hand Centre, Clones
Tel: +353 (0) 47 20626 / 52997

Carrickmacross Workhouse
Tel: +353 (0) 42 9664540

Monaghan Ancestral Research,
6 Tully, Monaghan (Postal Enquiries Only)

Monaghan Reunite Genealogy Project

Clogher Historical Society