What are national schools?

The national school system was setup in 1831 with the aims of establishing schools across Ireland, that provide all children with a basic education and that are non-denominational. While the first of these aims was met, with there being more than 2500 schools by 1870, they did not succeed in their other two aims. Education for children didn’t become compulsory until 1892 and even then attendance for some children (particularly those from poorer families) was quite low and by the mid-19th century schools were usually run by one denomination.

Why are School Records important?

National school registers are an important set of records because they act as a substitute to censuses and focus primarily on the children, rather than adults which is typical of most genealogical records. They also can provide a unique insight to your ancestors education.

What can I expect to find in these records?

School records hold a lot of important information about an individual such as their:

  • Name
  • Religion
  • Parent or guardian’s occupation
  • Address
  • Whether they attended a previous school, which school and til which grade
  • Date of admission

As well as that they provide information about the person’s academic performance, how often they attended school and when they left school.

The amount of detail in each record can vary depending on the school or the administrator at that time.

You can find an example record here.

What records are available?

Currently, we only have a few schools from the South Belfast area online.

  • Cherryville (McCreedy Memorial)
  • Donegall Road
  • Durham Street
  • Eglinton
  • Eliza Street
  • Felt Street
  • Fountainville (Incomplete)
  • Newotwnbreda
  • Ormeau Park
  • Ormeau Road
  • Rosario National
  • Rosetta National
  • St. Thomas
  • Star of the Sea
  • Stranmillis
  • York Street

You can find the location of each school here.

Not all records are immediately available and will therefore be added within 3 working days of purchasing.

Due to data privacy rules, we only show records of pupils who were born over a 100 years ago.

How to get access?

You can check our record index for free, but if you would like to order a record then you will need to create an account, add credits to it and then purchase your record, with each entry costing 3 credits.