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Civil Registration Districts, or more correctly Superintendent Registrar's Districts, were used as the areas for civil registration of Births, Marriages & Death. These districts were based on the 138 Poor Law Unions which had been set up by the Irish Poor Law Act of 1838, with several further, about 30, being added soon after. Each of these districts was further divided into sub-districts based on the ~720 Dispensary districts, which had been established soon after the Poor Law Unions. These were referred to as Registrar's Districts.

The BMD Index lists records by Registration District, and is the basis for establishing an approximate location. The associated register records also include the sub-district or Registrar's District, at the top of each page.

To start a search either select a registration district or county from the dropdowns above. Alternatively enter a search phrase, which can include * wildcards. The search function checks for matches in any part of the Registration District and combined Dispensary District names.

E.g. a search for rat*n* finds

  Rathdown district
  Donaghmore district, which includes Rathdowney dispensary district
  Edenderry district, which includes Rathangan

The browse by county and search functions show a list of matches, click on the district name to view the full details and map. The details screen shows the county or counties included in the district with the principle county first and a list of dispensary districts, with two listings if there were any differences between the earlier 1865 and 1880s listings.

The town which was the centre for the registration district is indicated on the map with the red marker along with the colour coded Dispensary Districts etc. In a few cases the marker is shown at the location of the associated Work House, e.g. Rathdown (Dublin/Wicklow) & Dromore West (Sligo). Neighbouring registration districts are shown on the map with the yellow numbered markers Clicking on the district list to the left navigates directly to the associated details page. Also shown is a summary of the counties and civil parishes included, at least in part, in each registration district, along with the number of townlands and towns in each. Click on the parish names to view a list of the townland covered by the selected Registration District.

To check which registration district applied to a civil parish or individual townlands, or see a full list of towns & townlands included, see the townland explorer - filter on Poor Law Union (PLU).

Sources include : Townlands Index 1851, Thom's 1865, Thom's 1885

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