I was recently asked if it was easy to locate a person in Co. Cork, if you had their exact date of birth in 1830. My answer was: “No, it is not easy.”
Why did I say this? Well, civil records started generally in Ireland in 1864 so the church records are all you have to go on up to then except for Church of Ireland marriages which were registered from 1845 onwards. familysearch.org (Mormon site) has the Irish Civil Records Index from 1864 to 1958. Update!!! www.irishgenealy.ie has an enhanced civil records index. [updated 4th July 2014]
The former link is to the Mallow Heritage Centre (online) which has the Roman Catholic church records for the Diocese of Cloyne. It also has Church of Ireland records. You have to pay for each record but you can search for free, once you register. This site lists the parishes for which it has records. Of course, some parish records didn’t start till after 1830!
The second link is to irishgenealogy.ie and it has free church records for South, South West Cork and North West Cork (where the Catholic Parish is actually in the Diocese of Kerry). Availability of records is listed on the site…note it is not a complete set of records. It does have records for some of Cork City too but some areas of the city are excluded. That is another story (Sin scéal eile)!
So, searching for a person by date of birth in 1830, is not straightforward. You might be lucky but you would need to know the parents’ names to know if you have found the right person or not. Knowing the location helps but often people who are researching do not know this. Using land records such as the Tithe Applotments (1820s-1830s) and Griffith’s Valuation (1850s) can help locate the surname or first name-surname combinations. Later, the 1901 and 1911 Censuses can help.