Irish Roots

January 17th, 2011

John Grenham


Some confusion seems to have arisen from an apparent contradiction between two Irish Roots columns of October and December last, one describing overseas transcription of parish registers, the other outlining plans to create digital images from parish register microfilms without transcription.

Both columns are true. The Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport is running a project to image and transcribe parish registers not already covered by local heritage centres (see rootsireland.ie for heritage centre coverage). The main areas are Dublin city (Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland) and Cork & Ross Roman Catholic diocese, though it now appears that Monaghan may also be included. Where the National Library has microfilm copies of these registers, the records are being transcribed from digitised images from that microfilm. Along with some earlier image-less transcripts, the results so far are free at irishgenealogy.ie. Dublin and Cork at least should be complete by the middle of this year.

Quite separately, the National Library has put out a tender for a simple image-digitisation of all of its parish register microfilms. It is not clear what the plans are for these images, but the simplest route would be to allow users of the NLI website to reproduce the experience of searching the microfilms via the internet. The completion date for this project is not specified, but the process is purely mechanical and the creation of the images at least should be fairly quick.

So far, so clear. However, there is an obvious overlap. It has become a basic standard of online research for transcripts to be linked to record images, and the Department now has a request for tender that includes the retrofitting of parish register microfilm images to the earlier image-less transcripts already at irishgenealogy.ie.

Getting from A to B in Ireland rarely involves a straight line. But B is looming over the horizon at last.


Comments and suggestions are welcome, to irishrootsatirishtimes.com.


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