Irish Roots

November 30th, 2009

John Grenham


It can take a while for us to get things right, but when we do, we get them very right. The website www.irishgenealogy.ie has been in existence for some time, and has been useful in a limited way as a guide to the holdings of some of the heritage centres. Its relaunch last week takes it into a completely different league.

The site now offers free access to database transcripts of all the parish registers of the Roman Catholic diocese of Kerry, many of the surviving Church of Ireland registers for Co. Kerry, as well as c. 60% of the church records of Dublin city. In all, nearly 1.3 million records of baptisms, marriages and burials are freely searchable. And this is only the first phase. Early next year the remaining Kerry records, the remaining Dublin records, the church records of Carlow and a fair proportion of Cork records will also become available.

The site isnít perfect Ė the search interface is designed to be as non-threatening as possible for novices, with the result that more advanced users might find some familiar options missing, and the content reflects the limitations of the technology available when the transcripts were originally made by Dublin City Public Libraries and the Kerry Genealogical Research Centre. But this is just quibbling. When you consider that as recently as 18 months ago, it was necessary to get a letter of permission from the Bishop of Kerry just to look at the National Library microfilms of Kerry records, the progress is astonishing.

I suspect the extraordinary success of the National Archives census website (www.census.nationalarchives.ie) may have helped to focus minds. Whatever the reason, the relaunched irishgenealogy.ie has the potential to be just as indispensable as the census site. The Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism deserves full credit for backing it.


Comments and suggestions are welcome, to irishrootsatirishtimes.com.

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