Welcome to The Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO)


Since it was first established in 1992 CIGO has been hard at work on behalf of Irish genealogists. We are a lobby group for the various national and international organisations sharing an interest in Irish genealogical research. We lobby for better and greater access to source material and through our work we give a voice to those involved in Irish genealogical research across the island of Ireland and beyond.

CIGO’s aims, as set out in its policy documents and constitution, are:

  • To provide a forum for family history and genealogical groups and societies which share an interest in Irish research.
  • To encourage, foster and promote greater public knowledge of and access to records relevant to genealogists, whether held by Civil, Ecclesiastical, or private bodies.
  • To formulate, influence and co-ordinate policy on all issues of concern to member organisations.
  • To encourage membership of CIGO by both Irish and overseas genealogical and family history organisations.
  • To recognise achievement in Irish genealogy through its annual Award for Excellence in Genealogy.

CIGO's Successes

  • Republic's Death Registrations: During its Bill stages we acheived important amendments to the Civil Registration Act 2004. For the first time in Ireland, death registrations now note each deceased person's date and place of birth and their parents' names. In The Irish Times this acheivement was described by high profile genealogist CIGO Patron John Grenham as "spectacular".

  • UK 1939 National Register: CIGO played a key and instrumental role in challenging the UK National Health Service Information Centre's refusal to disclose data from the wartime National Register (NR). Compiled in 1939, the NR notes census style data about many, many mllions of people - including each person's date of birth. Through our work access can now be gained to the NR for all parts of the UK: England & Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Unlike in Scotland and England & Wales, freedom of informarion requests for data can be made to PRONI for information from the NR for Northern Ireland at no cost. However, it should be taken into account that there exists no names index to the NR in Northern Ireland.

  • Ireland's 1926 Census: At the time of the passing of the Statistics Act 1993, CIGO's input reduced the proposed embargo on the release of census data from 100 years to only 70. While this was reversed at a further stage in the legaslative process, it clearly indicates that pragmatic political will exists to try to resolve the issue between right of access and privacy. Meanwhile, in January 2011 CIGO was invited to talk with Ireland's Fine Gael party about the issue and to put forward its views about how early access to the 1926 census might be provided. The result was that a month later Fine Gael included a brief reference to the roots tourism potential of the 1926 census in its subsequently published General Election manifesto. After the election, Fine Gael negotiated with the Labour Party to form a new administration and release of the 1926 census was included in the published Programme for Government. On the 31st March the new Minister for Arts, Heritage & Gaeltacht Affairs, Jimmy Deenihan TD, met with the chairman of the Irish Genealogical Research Society, Steven Smyrl, as part of the celebrations for the IGRS' 75th anniversary. At that meeting, held in the National Library of Ireland, the Minister confirmed to The Irish Times that he intended to establish access to redacted data from the 1926 census and that this might even happen as soon as the end of 2011. In May 2011 he told CIGO that he had referred the matter to the Attorney General to better understand the need for redaction of sensitive data.

  • Statistics Act 1993: As part of our longstanding campaign to obtain access to the State's 1926 census returns, we have obtained written confirmation from the Central Statistics Office that it would be legal under the Statistics Act 1993 to release data from the 1926 census to those enumerated or their legal next-of-kin. On foot of representations by CIGO this issue is currently being investigated by the Ombudsman's Office.

  • The 2012 Award for Excellence in Genealogy

    The 6th Annual CIGO Award for Excellence in Genealogy was presented on behalf of CIGO by Sammy Wilson, M.P., Minister of Finance and Personnel, to Dr Norman Caven, Registrar General for Northern Ireland, in the Public Search room at GRONI in Belfast on 20th December.