In Ireland, the civil registration of births, marriages and deaths began in 1864, and the registration of Protestant marriages in 1845. Before this, church registers have the only reference to an ancestor's birth, marriage or death, but because of the destruction of many Church of Ireland burial records, and the late beginning dates of many Roman Catholic and Presbyterian burial registers, a gravestone inscription may be the only record of an ancestor's death.
In this book every church and burial ground in Ireland is identified in relation to a townland or street address. Each townland is located in its appropriate civil parish, and each parish is listed in alphabetical order in its county and is preceded by a number which gives its location in A New Genealogical Atlas of Ireland. An Ordnance Survey number lets the researcher pinpoint the church's exact location on a six-inch Ordnance Survey map. Churches that are now defunct and graveyards that have been separated from their churches can be located with this guide.