Irish Roots

John Grenham


July 6th

I was recently given a complimentary subscription to the English website, www.thegenealogist.co.uk, obviously in the hope that I might publicise it. Job done there, then. Once again, it started me wondering about the lack of an Irish equivalent. What commercial sites offer Irish records?

The most important is www.brsgenealogy.com, including a large proportion of the database transcripts made by local heritage centres around the country over the course of the past three decades. As I’ve already pointed out, it can be awkward and expensive to use.

The next most useful is the Irish Origins section of www.origins.net. Their major collection is Griffith’s Valuation (1847-64), along with the accompanying Valuation Office maps. The fact that they have licensed the Griffith’s transcript to www.askaboutireland.ie, where it is free, has removed some of the site’s attraction, although the Origins search interface and maps are much superior. There are also a large number of other, more limited data collections, such as the Elphin census of 1749, 1831 Tithe defaulters and local commercial directories.

Irish Family Research (www.irishfamilyresearch.co.uk) is less slick but has some very useful databases, including the Journal of the Association for the Preservation of the Memorials of the Dead, and transcripts of local commercial directories.

World Vital Records (www.worldvitalrecords.com) is the US site with the most extensive Irish collection, including a number of the CD sources published in Dublin by Eneclann.

Strangely enough, the biggest commercial genealogy site, Ancestry, (www.ancestry.co.uk) actually has very little of direct use for Ireland. Even their single potentially most useful source, the Royal Irish Constabulary service registers, is incomplete. I suspect Ancestry investigated the possibility of collaborating with some of the Irish groups involved in digitisation, but decided that the possibility of getting caught in feuding crossfire outweighed any possible benefits.


Comments and suggestions are welcome, to irishrootsatirishtimes.com.

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