Getting Started

Military records are a rich source of information for genealogical research. We may have a personnel record if your relative served in the Defence Forces in Ireland from 1922 onwards. If they received a medal or pension for service during the Easter Rising or the War of Independence and the Civil War, we may have a reference about them in our online collections, or possibly some details in our offline records. Please note, members of the old Irish Volunteers, IRA, Cumann na mBan, Fianna Éireann, etc, did not have individual service records.

We do not have records relating to military service prior to 1922. If your relative was a soldier and served before or during World War I, or any time before 1922, their service was probably with one of the regiments (Irish or otherwise) of the British Army. To research British military records, you should contact the English National Archives. The English National Archives website features useful guides on researching military ancestors.

Conducting Research

If you're searching for military service pension or medal application files for relatives active in the revolutionary period (1913-1923), please go to the Online Collections section of our website and scroll down to the Military Service Pension Collection. We are still in the process of uploading all the pension applications, and not all files are online yet.

Deceased soldiers’ service records from 1922 onwards are available to next of kin, or those who have written permission from the next of kin, and can be requested from the Duty Archivist via email. To assist you in your search, please provide the soldier’s full name, date of birth, address or service number (if possible).

Other collections can be accessed by appointment in our reading room. The Military Archives reading room is open Tuesday to Thursday between 10.00 and 12.30 and 13.30 and 16.00. Please contact the Duty Archivist for further information and to arrange a visit. 

Download the Personal Records Access Policy .

Frequently Asked Questions

If you have a question about the Military Archives, including the types of records we hold and how to request access, please see our FAQs.

No, there is no charge to undertake research via the Military Archives.

We do not hold military records for soldiers who served before 1922. These were held centrally in England at that time, or transferred there during evacuation from 1922 onwards.

Veterans of the Irish Volunteers, IRA, Cumann na mBan, Fianna Éireann, Irish Citizen Army, etc, did not have individual personnel records. The main sources of information are pension or medal applications, membership lists of IRA battalions, brigade activity reports, or later Bureau of Military History witness statements they either made or in which they were mentioned.

A large portion of the earliest National Army and Defence Forces records has survived. Please contact us to see if there is a record for your ancestor. You can also check the army census records to see if he was serving on the nights of 12 and 13 November 1922.

There are no personnel records for individual members of the IRA, etc. The military service pension and medal applications are the best sources, along with the membership lists, especially the lists dated 1 July 1922 for Anti-Treaty personnel. There may be mentions of your ancestor in the Civil War Operations collection or the Civil War Internment collection. Please email us to ask for those details.

The Defence Forces were enlarged quite significantly during World War II. Please email us about personnel files for members of the permanent forces and some of the reserve units. The reserve included the Local Defence Force (LDF) and the Local Security Force (LSF). We have basic details such as name, number, rank, address and service dates for many members of the LDF; however, the LSF was administered by An Garda Síochana.

The Military Archives holds the personnel records of those who served in the military of the Irish Free State from 1922 onwards, and material about the Irish Volunteers and the Independence movement between 1913 and 1921.

Information about British army records, including those for the Irish regiments, can be obtained from the English National Archives. You can view information about tracing your military ancestors in the British Army on the English National Archives website.

Personnel records of deceased soldiers are available to direct next of kin. Military Archives require a signed letter of application for personnel records and copies of the birth certificate of the applicant to determine their relationship to the soldier.

For example, a son or daughter would need to send a copy (either scanned and attached to an email, or a photocopy posted to us) of the long version of their birth certificate. A grandson or granddaughter would need, in addition, a signed note of permission to view the file from the direct next of kin.

If the direct next of kin has died, the grandson or granddaughter would need to send copies of their own birth certificate and the birth certificate of their father or mother to show their relationship to the soldier over the two generations. The OIC Military Archives may request a death certificate and/or a sworn affidavit stating the next of kin relationship.

In exceptional circumstances, direct next of kin may give permission to a third-party researcher to receive service details on their behalf.