Sunday, January 2, 2011

New Records Coming

Fantastic news Irish researchers!  To wit:
Irish Times   Friday, 29 October 2010   John Grenham   
     The National Library of Ireland (NLI) is planning to scan all 520 microfilms that make up its collection of Roman Catholic parish registers and put the scans online.  While they won't be transcribed (so genealogists will still be going cross-eyed and pulling their hair out with frustration at the many illegible pages of records) nor indexed, this step would be hugely beneficial.  The project is still some way off, but scanning and uploading 520 films to the web isn't an enormous undertaking and should be achievable within a year from now.
       Within a year?  This is literally the answer to a prayer, no longer will we have to travel to Ireland or pay others to look for Catholic records that may not even exist.  No more choosing between spending our limited time in Ireland pouring over microfilm or touring the country of our fore bearers.  Anyone who has done research in unindexed microfilm knows how long it can take to locate relevant entries; especially when the original records were old and in the case of Catholic records, in Latin.  I’ve become fairly proficient at reading Latin by now and I can tell you every priest had his own version.  They are all similar though, so after reading a few entries you get the hang of each writer’s usage.
     As for Irish history centers, my experience is limited and mixed.  I contacted Waterford’s center and was told there was a good chance the records I needed did not exist and for $132 they would confirm this.  On the other hand, I had great luck with Tipperary Family History Research (     For around $23 they will do a single search for an ancestor’s baptismal or marriage record; if the person sought is found, further searches can be carried out.  This organization has the records for the 46 parishes that comprise the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly.  I found them to be reasonably priced, and prompt when I contacted them for help in trying to locate the townlands of my Ryan and O’Dwyer ancestors who from US records, I knew came from Tipperary.  
     Early in my research I thought, “With a name like Cornelius my Ryan great-great grandfather should be easy to find”.  Ha!  What a fool I was.  While not overly common in the US, Cornelius is anything but rare in old Ireland.  Add the fact that Ryan is the most common surname in Tipperary and my chances were dimming.  Fortunately I knew the maiden name of Cornelius’ wife, Alice O’Dwyer from her death certificate in the US.  I also had most of their children’s names; TFHR was able to locate the marriage record and the baptisms, along with two formerly unknown children.  I now know they were living in Churchfield in South Tipp when they married and their first child was born there, others being born in Goldengarden and Alleen.  I also learned their nicknames were Connor and Allie, one of those delightful bits of information that make them seem more three dimensional.  That leaves just one set of great great grandparents townlands yet to be discovered.  I hope they start scanning soon.


  1. Really looking forward to these Church records being scanned and made available online. It will be so good to be able to search these records from home (in my case Australia) even if they are not indexed :)