Genealogical Office Records

Office of the Chief Herald

The Registers of the Chief Herald at the Genealogical Office, the armorials and ordinaries of arms, the Funeral Entries, Lords’ Entries and records of Knights Dubbed are all a useful source to the historian or genealogist researching a family which has included landowners or officials and likely to be armigerous. These are documents which derive from the functions of the Office, are consulted regularly in the work of the heralds and continue to be added to almost daily.

Roger O’Feral’s Linea Antiqua is the most important source for ancient genealogies of Gaelic families and also contains exemplifications of arms. Other collections may be considered equally important to the researcher and certain information from now lost sources previously held in the Public Record Office is of particular value.

For example, the genealogical and historical information contained in the abstracts from the plea rolls from Henry III to Henry VI are the most important source for Norman genealogy; the extracts from the pipe rolls from Henry III to Edward III contain similar information; for a later period (1536 – 1810) tabulated pedigrees contained in the abstracts of wills proved at the prerogative court of the Archbishop of Armagh can be consulted.

The numerous other collections which, while not pedigrees, have been acquired as sources of genealogical information include Ecclesiastical Visitations, a list of high sheriffs of counties, a roll of freemen of the City of Dublin, lists of freeholders and a list of gentlemen attainted by King James. A complete catalogue appears in A Guide to the Genealogical Office published by the Irish Manuscripts Commission.

Genealogical Office documents are indexed in Hayes', Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation, Ms470, (the section Persons probably being the most useful to the family researcher) and can be accessed through the Manuscripts Reading Room of the National Library.

Otherwise a House Researcher is available to undertake searches on behalf of the public in the records of the Office. Such searches cost £50.


The Irish Nobility

National Library


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