This is my first sortie into parish records, having exhausted the civil records, at least as far as Joseph and Mary Anne are concerned.
The civil records of births, marriages and deaths only go back to 1864, except in the case of non Roman Catholics for whom marriage records go back to 1845.
The advantage of the civil records is that they are available at the national level of aggregation and are easily accessible. Going back further involves dipping into the parish records and requires advance knowledge of the precise parish concerned. Also, as they are not all available on microfilm, you may have to personally visit the parish in some cases or employ search agents in others.
Joseph and Mary Anne Mortimer, my great grandparents, lived in Glasnevin from the mid-1860s.
The lady in the genealogical advisory service in the National Library told me that the current Glasnevin parish of Our Lady of Dolours was established in 1912 from Fairview parish which, in turn, in 1879, had been established from Clontarf parish. Their records should, therefore, be found in Clontarf.
St. John the Baptist
Unfortunately, Clontarf is one of the few parishes whose registers are not on microfilm in the national library so I had to pay them a visit personally. I expected it to be an difficult experience, but Fr. Gabriel Slattery, the Parish Priest, was very helpful on the phone and Lorraine Downey could not have been more pleasant or helpful when I arrived unannounced at the parish office.
The first step was to ascertain if Joseph and Mary Anne had, in fact, used St. John's as their parish church from Glasnevin. This meant cross-checking a known event. I knew the twins, Patrick and William, were born in March 1870 and William Thomas, who lived just over a year, was born in mid-1864.
A quick search found both entries, confirming that this was their parish church.
William Thomas - 1864
The Twins - 1870
However, there was not trace of the marriage record. I suppose this is not surprising, really, as they may have moved into Glasnevin only after their marriage, and, in any event, the marriage would have taken place in Mary Anne's parish church which need not have been Glasnevin at all.
So it was back to square one as far as the Joseph's and Mary Anne's marriage is concerned.
There were, however, some small consolations from the trip. I now know that:
- Joseph and Mary Anne did use Clontarf as their parish church while residing in Glasnevin. Coincidentally, this had been my own parish church around 1949 when I lived in Dollymount park.
- They were in Glasnevin as early as 1864. This puts them in Glasnevin two years earlier than I had them there.
- They most likely did not get married in Clontarf. Unfortunately, the records immediately pre-1857 were not available for Clontarf. If Mary Anne was, in fact, born in 1843, lived in Glasnevin, and was at least 14 at marriage, she would not have been married before 1857 and would have been captured in the available records in Clontarf. However, the age of consent for a girl to marry at that time was 12, provided she had the consent of her parents. So Mary Anne could conceivably have got married in Clontarf between 1855 and 1857. I figured I'd just have to live with this possibility unless I succeed in finding an entry in some other parish. Usually the marriage took place in the girl's parish and I had no idea where she lived. But there was still hope! Read on below.
View the full records
You can view a printed transcription of the above baptism entries in full here. It is on a single page to facilitate scrolling. You can zoom in to read the full entries. You will need adobe reader as it is a pdf document. The reader can be downloaded (free) from
You just might also need a Latin dictionary, but I'll leave you to find that for yourself.
St. Mary's, Marlborough St., Dublin
I looked up the parish records in the National Library for the Pro-Cathedral, where Christopher Burgess and Sarah Rankin were married in 1866, to check out their church marriage certificate (registry entry). I found this without any difficulty.
But while I was there I thought to check out earlier records for the same church on the offchance that Joseph and Mary Anne might have been married there. I had no reason to suppose that they had, but then I was desparate and I had the tapes to hand. I started in 1852 and was about to give up when I reached 1861, as their firstborn had died in that year, when, bingo, there they were, on the 30th of January 1861.
That was a really action packed year for them. They got married, she got pregnant, had a baby, it died, and they opened up a grave in Glasnevin. All within the same calendar year.
It was also a needle in a haystack find for me, as I was at a total loss for where to go next.
View the full records
You can view a printed transcription of the two marriage entries in full here. It is on a single page to facilitate scrolling. You can zoom in to read the full entries. You will need adobe reader as it is a pdf document. The reader can be downloaded (free) from
Again you just might also need a Latin dictionary, but I'll leave you to find that for yourself.