By Jayne McGarvey
Saint Patrick’s Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick (Irish: Lá Fhéile Pádraig, “the Day of the Festival of Patrick”), is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick (c. AD 385–461), the foremost patron saint of Ireland. This seems rather a good day to review some of the more recent collections that have become available for Irish Genealogical Research.
It all started back in September 2016 when Irish Genealogy began the process of adding FREE image view to part of their Civil Records site https://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/
Civil Records commenced in Ireland in 1864 for births, marriages and deaths, with non-Catholic Marriages commencing a little earlier in 1845.
The years covered by the release of the historic record images of Births, Marriages and Deaths are:
Births: 1864 to 1915
Marriages: 1882* to 1940
Deaths: 1891* to 1965
*The General Register Office are currently working on updating further records of Marriages dating back to 1845 and Deaths dating back to 1864.These will be included in future updates to the records available on the website.
For anyone whose ancestors lived in what is now Northern Ireland prior to the split of Ireland in 1921, the good news is these vital event records can also be accessed through Irish Genealogy.
Many of the images are of the Registrar’s pages rather than the individual certificates, however this can be incredibly useful as it also makes it possible to “browse” the records within a specific Registration District. Records with variant spellings and/or transcription mistakes can now be much easier to locate with a bit of time and patience. So too can potential siblings.
The National Archives of Ireland also released a whole smorgasbord of new records to keep us all happily searching and adding conformation to our existing files.
Valuation Office Books, 1848–1860
This record collection includes The House, Field, Tenure and Quarto Books that were compiled by surveyors. It isn’t a complete set yet. There is another sizeable tranche of these books (about one-eighth of the total) which are still undergoing conservation and cataloguing. As such there are still some gaps in coverage in the new collection.
Original Will Registers, 1858–1920
Consisting of the surviving Will Books that were prepared by the District Registries these books contain transcripts of each will, the wording of the grant, the date of transcription and the date of the death of the testator. (The only Will Books that were lost in 1922 were for the Principal Registry based in Dublin and the Dublin District Registry).
Diocesan and Prerogative Wills Indexes, pre-1858
These indexes are arranged by diocese and some of the books are in a very poor and damaged state (some even have bullet holes through them!). Although the majority of records in this collection are indexes, a small number are Will Books compiled at the time the will was proved.
Diocesan and Prerogative Marriage Licence Bonds Indexes, 1623 – 1866
Marriage licences were granted by the ecclesiastical courts of the Church of Ireland for a fee. These indexes record Protestant marriages and provide names of the bride and groom, the year of marriage and the diocese in which it took place.
Catholic Qualification & Convert Rolls, 1701–1845
The Rolls record those who chose to convert to the Church of Ireland or swear allegiance to the British monarchy in order to avoid the harsh Penal Laws which prevented Irish Catholics from owning property or running businesses.
Individuals took an oath at either their local assizes or in Dublin after which their names were then registered to show that they ‘qualified’ for privileges. The original Rolls were lost in 1922, but the indexes survive. The information held in the records generally consists of name, occupation, date and name of place where the oath was taken. With some 52,000 records in this particular collection this is likely to be of great interest to anyone researching the pre-famine period of their family history.
Merchant Navy Crew Lists, 1863–1921
These will be of particular interest to genealogists who have seamen in the family.
2016 Family History Website
We have seen a wealth of new access this year thanks to the National Archives and the General Register Office, but if you are not familiar with working your way through all of the resources here is another great free initiative from the National Archives.
According to John Grenham (who was involved in the inception of this programme) 2016 Family History is a new, free Irish genealogy education website, produced as a collaboration between the National Archives, the Department of Education and IrishGenealogy.ie. The initial aim was to create something that could be used in the classroom as part of the history curriculum, and the Learning Resources section (brainchild of the redoubtable Mary Ó Dubhain) is designed to provide teachers with ready-made tasks and lessons, all usable online or downloadable as a single pdf workbook.
Now it has gone a step further and is available to everyone FREE There are eight modules, focused on the bread-and-butter of Irish genealogy, civil, church, property and census records. The format is the same in each case: a short introductory video, a description of the source and a series of practice exercises (answers provided).
Check it out for yourself.
New PRONI Historical Map Free On-Line Resource
PRONI has been working with Land and Property Services (Ordnance Survey and Spatial NI) to develop an online viewer which provides access to a range of historic Ordnance Survey maps held within the PRONI archive.
This exciting new application includes seven editions of Ordnance Survey (OS) historical mapping, dating from 1832 to 1986 and covering the six counties of present day Northern Ireland. It also features a number of modern OS maps and up-to-date aerial images.
A range of datasets have been added to the application which will provide additional information for users, including county, townland and parish boundaries; ‘points of interest’ identified on OS maps – a range of landmarks and significant buildings such as churches, graveyards, schools, court houses, workhouses and hospitals; and a Sites and Monuments dataset providing users with information about almost 16,000 historic and archaeological sites (courtesy of the Department for Communities Historic Environment Division).
You will be able to search the application using either a current address or a townland, parish or town/city name; and browse using the map viewer. Various functions will enable you to compare one map with another or identify PRONI map references. https://apps.spatialni.gov.uk/EduSocial/PRONIApplication/index.html
Finally don’t forget to check out your favourite fee paying membership sites as many of these have also updated and added new collections to their records.
Click here to receive help from an expert with your Irish genealogy research.