Starting the process of searching for your birth relatives if you are adopted or grew up in care could be one of the most life-changing decisions you ever make.
You will have no idea of the outcome when you start and the journey has often been described as an emotional rollercoaster – sometimes exciting, sometimes frustrating.
It is therefore important to start a search at a time that is right for you and to go at your own pace.
Tracing members of your birth family can be a complex and lengthy process. You will need to find as much as you can about your origins and family background. This is usually done by accessing your birth certificate and your adoption records.
For help visit:
NI Direct – for comprehensive information on how to trace and contact birth relatives and adopted adults if you were adopted in Northern Ireland
Information on public records and other useful organisations
Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI): As the national archive for Northern Ireland, PRONI has a statutory role for the reception, preservation, and provision of access to records, established under the Public Records Act (Northern Ireland) 1923 as amended by the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
PRONI cares for over 3 million unique items and its archives and records are of immense social, economic, and historical value to a wide range of individuals, communities, and enterprises.
PRONI holds records relating to the operation and governance of the Board of Guardians and Workhouses in Northern Ireland.
Contact: 2 Titanic Boulevard, Belfast, BT3 9HQ
Telephone: 028 9053 4800
General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI): The General Register Office for Northern Ireland (GRONI) is located within the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency and is responsible for:
– the administration of marriage and civil partnership law
– the registration of births, deaths, marriages, civil partnerships and adoptions
– the maintenance of registration records
– the production of birth, deaths, marriage, civil partnership and adoption certificates when you ask
Contact: Colby House, Stranmillis Court, Belfast, BT9 5RR
Telephone: 0300 200 7890
NI/Ireland Long Lost Family & Friends is a group dedicated for those wishing to get in contact and catch up with long lost family members and friends from where they once came from.
The Truth Recovery Programme is fully cognisant of the historical issue of cross-border practices in the areas of forced and illegal adoption. Regarding this, individuals approaching the Independent Panel, once established, may wish to avail of the services of organisations in the Republic of Ireland.
The website Birth Information & Tracing is a resource organised by the Adoption Authority of Ireland and Tusla. It provides a service for persons who have been adopted; persons whose birth was illegally registered; persons who were resident in an institution; persons who were boarded out or nursed out; daughters, sons or other next of kin; relatives of any of the previous persons; adoptive parents; friend of a parent of an adopted person; persons who provided care to a child, and persons who were a relevant guardian.
Adoption Authority of Ireland provides tracing services and aims to ensure the provision of the highest possible standards of adoption related services, throughout the lifelong adoption process.
Even if you are not interested in tracing your birth family right now, you may want to access support or counselling- click here for the help and support page.