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Trace Your Medical Ancestors

We can help you find out more about that doctor in your family tree

Is there a doctor in your family tree? If so we may be able to help you find out more about them and their medical career.

Our unique collection of sources means we can trace Irish medical ancestors.

You can commission research from us, or we can help you carry out your own research in our reading room.

Getting started: How to trace medical ancestors

Download our handy guide to tracing your medical ancestors

This guide details the types of records we hold in the collections, and the sort of information you are likely to find in them.

Do you want to commission research?

Apply for our commissioned research services

For an administrative fee of €50, we’ll carry out a search of our main genealogy resources and, where appropriate, provide references to any additional sources identified. Please bear in mind that searches may result in a negative yield. Simply complete this form and return to us.

Researching in Our Reading Room

If you want to carry out your research in person you can do so in our reading room, where Heritage Centre staff will be able to provide assistance. We are open Monday to Friday, from 10am to 1pm and 2pm to 4pm, and we do ask researchers to make an appointment in advance.

As with any family history research, it is important to provide as much information as possible; this will help speed up your search and increase the chances of finding relevant information.

Useful information to know before starting a search includes:

  • name
  • date of birth or death, or period of activity (e.g. mid-18th century)
  • place of residence (even a county is helpful)
  • any known qualification or positions held.

What do we use to conduct research into family history?

Below are the sources we use for genealogical research, all of which are free to use by the public.

Kirkpatrick Index

A unique collection of newspaper cuttings, manuscript notes and extracts from printed work relating to individual Irish medics. The index contains approximately 10,000 names from the earlier time to the 1950s.

Medical Registers and Directories


Published since 1852, these contain details of all doctors registered in the British Isles. We also hold earlier Irish Medical directories, dating from 1843 and 1846.


RCPI Registers

Our registers list all doctors who have been admitted to RCPI as Licentiates, Members, Fellows or Honorary Fellows since 1692. The information contained in the registers usually consists of a name, with a date of admission. Sometimes an address, qualifications or date of death is included.

Duns Library

Dun’s Library

Our library holds a number of printed works that can be useful in tracing Irish medics, including:

  • published histories of Irish medical schools and hospitals
  • histories and printed alumni lists of the main Universities and College where Irish medics studied
  • the printed rolls of the Royal Army Medical Corps and the Indian Medical Service.

Archive Collection

Our substantial archive relates both to the history of RCPI and other medical institutions in Ireland.

References to individual doctors may be found in various parts of the archive; particularly important for genealogical research are the hospital and College records.

Contact Us

Harriet Wheelock

Keeper of Collections

Tel: +353 1 669 8817

Harriet is Keeper of Collection and manages the RCPI Heritage Centre. Contact Harriet with any questions about the Heritage Centre, its collection and to make an appointment to visit.