Irish Roots

July 19th, 2010

John Grenham

Researchers from places like New Zealand and Scotland, where death registers can give wonderful multi-generational family information, are continually disappointed by Irish records of deaths. Until recently, no family information of any description was included in a death record. As a result, burial records and headstone transcriptions have become disproportionately important.

The biggest single on-line collection of transcripts is at www.interment.net, a volunteer US site. Some of the records are frustratingly incomplete and some may not be completely accurate, but the site is free, well organised and includes many Irish cemeteries. The largest Irish site is www.historyfromheadstones.com, which covers more than 1200 Northern Ireland graveyards. The site is paying, but the index search is free and there are some very interesting essays on related topics such as illness, child mortality and military service. Waterford County Library has a freely searchable database of the inscriptions of 35 graveyards, at www.waterfordcountylibrary.ie.

Burial records, particularly cemetery records, can be much more informative than gravestones, sometimes recording names, addresses and relationships of next of kin. The biggest collection currently on-line is for Mount St. Lawrence in Limerick city, at the City Council website, www.limerick.ie/archives. The registers have not been transcribed and so are not searchable, but a scan of entire record-set from 1855 to 2008 is freely downloadable. Glasnevin Cemetry Group in Dublin has by far the most valuable set of Irish burial records, dating from the opening of Goldenbridge and Glasnevin cemeteries in 1828 and 1832 respectively. The Groupís website, www.glasnevintrust.ie, has a pay-per-view search of the burial records from 1890, a little late. From August this year, however, everything from 1828 on will be searchable, with scanned images of the originals, containing more than a million records. The site will be an invaluable resource for Dublin research.

Comments and suggestions are welcome, to irishrootsatirishtimes.com.


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