Irish Roots

June 21st, 2010

John Grenham

Something truly extraordinary is happening in Irish genealogy. For years, we had by far the worst level of on-line access to records of any developed country, Then, starting about five years ago with the magnificent job of digitising Griffith’s Valuation done by Origins, the Irish company Eneclann and the National Library, things began to shift. One after another, public bodies lined up to make records available. Success bred success.

The latest success is the second phase of www.irishgenealogy.ie, funded by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport. The first phase, launched as recently as November last year, comprised parish register transcripts that had already been completed by the Dublin Heritage group and Killarney Genealogical Centre. This second phase is orders of magnitude better. All of the surviving pre-1900 registers of the Church of Ireland in Dublin city have been scanned and transcribed, with the database transcription freely searchable and linked to the scans of originals. This alone would be a wonderful resource, and more widely relevant than appreciated: in the 18th century, for example, the Established Church had a monopoly on graveyards in the city, with the result that their burial registers record vast numbers of Catholics.

But as well as Dublin, the site also has the Church of Ireland records of Carlow and Kerry. And there’s more. Over 300,000 records from the National Library microfilms of the Catholic diocese of Cork and Ross are also on the site, with the promise that the rest will follow later this year. Among parishes already up are St. Finbarr’s and Ss Peter and Paul from Cork city. As anyone who has ever spent hours searching a single year of St. Finbarr’s baptisms on microfilm can testify, this is true liberation. All a genealogist can do is sit and weep for joy.


Comments and suggestions are welcome, to irishrootsatirishtimes.com.

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