Established in 1923 following the formation of Northern Ireland, PRONI continues to act as the official place of deposit for NI records. Over three million official and privately deposited archives mainly, but not exclusively, relating to NI are held on its premises.
Such a comprehensive collection means that, if you want to trace your NI roots, a visit to PRONI's new state-of-the-art premises is a must. This cathedral-like, purpose-built Titanic Quarter HQ houses a spacious Public Research Room with suite of laptops and power points, and equally capacious Public Reading Room where ordered documents can be researched and copied.
Thousands of documents of value to family historians include church records, valuation books and maps, letters, diaries and photographs. PRONI's extensive website has information on how to research your family history, and its searchable online resources include 19th Century Street Directories, the Ulster Covenant and Wills. The eCatalogue is updated regularly, and PRONI’s on-line guide to Church records provides details on surviving historic parish registers for N. Ireland. PRONI staff cannot undertake research for you but can help and advise with the process.
Use of facilities is free and includes a small cafe. Look out, too, for the atrium's impressive collection of artwork, including a large-sale John Hewitt poem, display of 'paper' scrolls in porcelain by Felicity Straker Graham and several pieces by renowned local artist Rita Duffy. Paid parking is via the main Odyssey car park with a short walk to PRONI. Children under 14 must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Photo ID required. No appointment necessary.
2011-2012 Exhibition A Century of Change, Conflict & Transformation To mark the opening of PRONI's extensive new facilities, this exhibition brings together one hundred years of archives from its exhaustive collection. Decade-by-decade, visitors can delve into Northern Ireland's history, from its 1911 inception to the present day.
Original documents, interactive screens and info panels tell the story of partition, the Titanic, politics, WW2, and NI's economic, social and cultural evolution. Items of note on display include part of the Ulster Covenant, the De Lorean car manufacturer story and a reconstructed air raid shelter leading to first-hand accounts of the Belfast Blitz. The exhibition is a fascinating exploration of a complex history which continues to resonate to this day, and well worth visiting whether native or newcomer.