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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: April 23, 2012 @ 9:05 am

    State records in unexpected places

    John Grenham

    The transcripts of state records of births, marriages and deaths on rootsireland.ie are seriously underappreciated. They are not identical to the records so horribly familiar to anyone forced to play Blind Man’s Buff in the General Register Office Research Room. Until less than a decade ago, the registration system actually produced two copies of the paper registers, one held locally and the other sent to Dublin for indexing. The heritage centres behind rootsireland got the local copies from individual Superintendent Registrars, created database transcripts from them, and these are what is now searchable on rootsireland.

    Or at least some of them are. Old Nick is down there in the nitty-gritty yet again. Burrow down into the site’s “sources list for each centre” and extraordinary anomalies emerge. Clare, Donegal, west Galway (but not east Galway), Mayo, Roscommon, and Tipperary have full transcripts, some to 1900, some to 1921. But not all of them are actually online. Armagh, Derry, Kilkenny, Limerick and Waterford have almost full transcripts. But they don’t cover all events and again not all are online.

    For the years and areas covered, though, the site is very useful indeed – every single item in each record is transcribed. If they were freely searchable, they could be extraordinary. Just imagine being able to pick out every birth in a townland over twenty years, or every marriage recording a particular father’s name, or every death from consumption on one street over decades. Ah well, at least rootsireland’s blindfold is semi-transparent.

    And of course, this is all completely illegal. The 2004 law governing civil registration explicitly specifies that the only way these records can be made publicly searchable is via the knit-while-wearing-boxing-gloves system in the GRO Research Room. Tell that to rootsireland, to the Mormons, to the volunteer transcribers, to ancestry.com, to Waterford County Library

    As so often in Ireland, the law is for hiding behind, not enforcing.

    • john lee says:

      Ireland needs to steer clear of two things, records and signposting, because they just ” don’t get it “.

    • Mary Beharry says:

      I am proud of my Irish Roots and have just recently discovered that Thousands were captured ans sold as Slaves in the West Indies!1 I was never taught about that at Loreto College but while living in the West Indies was told that it was NOT ” to Hell or to Connaught but was in fact “to Hell or Barbados2 Why have they been forgotten by us? However on the Flag of montserrat they are honoured with a picture inset of a woman in green holding a Shamrock, an Irish Harp and a Cross. I have been unable to spread the word as I have written many times to ALL the newspapers about erecting a memorial OR perhaps I a, deluded by thinking that everyone else was taught about the irish Slave Trade at school. Am I the only one who did not know?? YOU are more adept at getting a point across so will you pls purue it? For Their sakes? from Mary Beharry at the e-mail marybeharry@gmail,com. NOW I gve up

    • Mary Beharry says:

      I would appreciate if you would be kind enough to answere my questions on Irish Slavery in the West Indies Please? Am I really the ONLY person who was NEVER taught about this atrocity? I feel so ignorant of my history. ALL aspects of the Genocide against Our People should be aired and not swept under the carpet of convenience Please follow up this subject?? yours Mary Bwharry (marybeharry@gmail.com)

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