Wednesday, February 10, 2016
The staff here at Ellie's Ancestors thought it would be great fun to start a new series. To that end, allow me to present this week's website, an all-Ireland site called SWilson. Peculiar name I know, but please don't let that stop you from checking it out, I promise you'll find something of use here. For instance, as you probably know the Irish Times website has a feature to locate parishes in which two surnames appeared together in Griffith's Valuation, useful for determining where to look for ancestors, but there is a fee involved. Here it's free under the "Surname Cross Reference" tab.
There is tons of information here for tracking Catholic Ancestors. When the NLI put their Catholic records online recently, I tried first locating names of interest in the Tithe Applotments and then searching the church records of parishes where the names occurred most often. A genius idea I thought, but the fly in the ointment here, (and I dislike flies in my ointment), was that the Applotment Books and Griffith's Valuation are both arranged by civil parish, not Catholic parishes. This resulted in time lost as I searched for the corresponding Catholic parish. This site offers a "RC Parish><Townland" search, and a "Town>RC Parish" search. The latter only seems to work for larger townlands, but the former will quickly locate the Catholic parish in which a given civil parish lay. There is also a "Catholic Parish Church Search Map" which shows all the churches in the area of the map you click on. At the top of this page is the resulting map from my click on Ballyraggan in County Kildare.
There are many other maps and features on this site, another one I really liked was the "Catholic Directory of 1848"; fully searchable it lists all the Catholic parishes along with the PP, his Curate and the Post Town. I enjoyed that one so much because in 1848 at the height of the famine, my immigrant ancestors were just beginning to think of leaving Ireland and the priest listed in the directory would have been theirs. There is alot to see here, I hope you will find the website as useful as I have.