Irish Roots

September 5th, 2011

John Grenham


Kerry Local Authorities have just made available online a collection of 164 burial registers from the graveyards they administer throughout the county. Caveats first: this is not a complete collection of all burial or graveyard records for Co. Kerry. For one thing it omits all church-owned cemeteries. And it is not even a complete collection of all the local authority records, as a significant number of registers are missing or were not kept systematically. Furthermore, the dates covered are very late for pure genealogical research - the earliest registers appear to date from 1898, when the present local government system came into being, but a large majority only start after the 1950s. Very unusually for Irish records online, many of the registers come right up to the 2000s.

Even with these limitations, this is an excellent resource, particularly for someone attempting to come forward in time and re-connect with living relatives, a task that is always much more difficult than researching backwards - people can only leave evidence of their past, not their future.

In addition, the site is superbly designed, with high-quality colour scans of all the registers linked to database transcripts of personal and place names. It is possible to zero in on particular families or browse through the registers page by page. A Google map, at the wonderfully-named atomik.kerrycoco.ie, identifies the precise location of each graveyard with records online. And the information in the later registers is very detailed indeed, supplying name, address, age, religion, occupation, cause of death, dates of death and burial, and even, in some cases, next of kin. The records have all the blessed messiness of reality. Among the recorded causes of death are "Jondus", "Ill health" and "Suddenly".

The site is kerrylaburials.ie and for anyone with Kerry connections, it is essential.


Comments and suggestions are welcome, to irishrootsatirishtimes.com.


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