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PRONI Records on CAIN

The Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) is the official archive for Northern Ireland. It aims to identify and preserve records of historical, social and cultural importance and make them available for the information, education and enjoyment of the public.

PRONI also advises on and promotes best practice in archive and records management to ensure that today’s records will be available for future generations.

Located in Belfast, PRONI is a government organisation founded in 1923 (shortly after the partition of Ireland). It now operates as part of the Department for Communities Opens a new browser window. (formerly the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure; DCAL) within the Northern Ireland Civil Service Opens a new browser window. (NICS).

Since opening its doors in March, 1924, PRONI has been the main archive repository for Northern Ireland. Anyone seeking further details about the history of PRONI and the work it carries out should consult the following two publications.

Documents Held
Currently PRONI holds millions of documents that relate chiefly, but by no means exclusively, to Northern Ireland and these date back from the present day to the 17th century. In terms of the records held in PRONI these fall into two main categories.

The first of these are known as 'privately deposited archives' and cover such things as business records, church registers, emigrant letters, and vast landed estate archives. Examples of this type of material can be found on the 'Privately deposited archives' Opens a new browser window. page on the PRONI Web site.

Secondly, there are 'public records' which generally relate to documents produced from 'official' sources. This category can be further sub-divided into two categories. Firstly, there are those documents belonging to non-departmental public organisations such as courts of law, local authorities, non-departmental public bodies or quangos. Some examples of this can be found on the 'Public records: non-departmental' Opens a new browser window. page on the PRONI Web site. Then there are the departmental records of the various departments/ministries involved with the governance of Northern Ireland from 1921 to the present day. Further details on these records can be found on the 'Public records: departmental' Opens a new browser window. page on the PRONI Web site.

Further information and details about PRONI can be found at the PRONI Web site:
http://www.proni.gov.uk/index.htm Opens a new browser window.


last update 14 December 2023


CAIN contains information and source material on the conflict and politics in Northern Ireland.
CAIN is based within Ulster University.

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