Irish Roots

October 17th, 2011

John Grenham


It's pointless to criticise our enemies, that's what they expect. We criticise our friends, because there's a chance they might listen. That's the theory at least, and it's the excuse I use when Irish Family History Foundation members get annoyed with me. So let me sing their praises for a change.

The status of the transcripts of the Roman Catholic parish records of the diocese of Waterford and Lismore was vexed for years. The heritage centre in Waterford city, set up and run by the Catholic Church, long had an ambiguous connection with the IFHF, not least because the Catholic diocese covers a large swathe of south Tipperary, part of the IFHF stamping ground of Labhras Ó Murchú's Brú Ború in Cashel. So it was hardly surprising that the Waterford records were not included among the transcripts made available online at www.rootsireland.ie. Now, however, starting with baptismal records, they are coming online. Whoever negotiated the agreement with Waterford deserves to be canonised.

A common surname shows just how powerful direct online access to these records can be. There are 2189 baptisms of a John Power recorded. Even narrowing the range of years to 1848-1852 produces more than 100 matches. But if you know his father's name was Michael, there are just 10. And if you know his mother's name was Mary, only one entry fits. Precision like this is well worth the €5. In addition, many of the records come right up to the 1920s, well past the 1900 cut-off for most of the other centres.

A footnote: Waterford diocese transcripts for south Tipperary are searchable via both the Brú Ború and the Waterford Genealogy sections of the site. Who gets the money from searches of these records? And who decides who gets the money? Sainthood wouldn't be reward enough.


Comments and suggestions are welcome, to irishrootsatirishtimes.com.

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