Irish Roots

January 23rd 2012

John Grenham


The most important Irish records website by far is rootsireland.ie, the largest online source of church register transcripts. Its search interface has improved steadily and it is now just about possible to grin and bear the pain of paying ?5 per record transcript in return for the power of the free index search.

But one aspect of the site still drives regular users nuts - well, it regularly drives me nuts - and that's the refusal to specify precisely which records it holds. The map that directs users is seriously misleading: if a local centre with responsibility for an area has uploaded any records at all, the area is coloured green, indicating records online. So, for example, Irish World, is responsible for the records of Fermanagh and Tyrone and has records on the site and so Fermanagh and Tyrone are both green on the map. But Irish World has only transcribed church records for Tyrone, none at all for Fermanagh.

The site does provide a space for centres to list their records, but then exercises no editorial control. For some areas (Cavan, Down) "Currently being compiled" is the only information, even though many (all?) of their transcribed records have been online for three years. For others (Tipperary North) the centre seems to have listed all the records it has access to, not those actually online, and for still others (Roscommon, East Galway ...) the listing provided by the centre just doesn't match the records the site actually searches.

As an equal opportunity moaner, I should add that the main competitor, irishgenealogy.ie, has its own problems. Four months after putting up nearly a million fresh church record transcripts and images, its list of holdings still hasn't been updated. The "full list of current areas and dates" gives no idea that almost all pre-1880 Cork & Ross and Dublin city Roman Catholic records are there.


Comments and suggestions are welcome, to irishrootsatirishtimes.com.


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