ISSN 1443-5888 Volume 10, No. 1, January 2008

A Monthly Newsletter: Editor: Terry Eakin, 334 Burns Bay Road, LANE COVE, NSW 2066 Contact E-mail address:
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ISSN 1443-5888 Volume 10, No. 1, January 2008

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Editor: Terry Eakin, 334 Burns Bay Road, LANE COVE, NSW 2066
Contact E-mail address: ISSN 1443-5888
Volume 10, No. 1, January 2008

Introduction: ÔÇÿAll Ireland SourcesÔÇÖ is a monthly newsletter distributed free by E-mail to Family History Societies and interested researchers near the end of each month. Distribution by Australia Post each three months (three issues) costs $6.00 annually within Australia. The aim is to bring items of interest regarding Irish record sources to the Australian genealogist.
The editor would appreciate being made aware of records relating to the Irish, particularly those held in Australia or new in the LDS Family History Library. Back copies available free for downloading from
Note new email address.

ISBN 978-0-958023-51-1 Book: The cost of this 32 page A4 book is $15.00 plus packaging
and postage.

At the time of the Great Irish Famine (1846-52) when Irish crochet lace became an
important source of income in Ireland, many crochet lace pattern books were coming
on to the English market.
Mlle Eleonore Riego de la Branchardière, the best-known and most prolific English
needlework designer claimed, among other things, to have ÔÇÿinventedÔÇÖ crochet lace and assisted the advancement of Irish crochet. Most modern books give her the credit for ÔÇÿinventingÔÇÖ Irish crochet, yet present no evidence.

This delightfully illustrated book surveys the crochet lace pattern books of the Victorian era
and Mlle RiegoÔÇÖs life and work. The intriguing story ends in an unexpected way. The companion book is:

EARLY HISTORY OF IRISH CROCHET LACE by Barbara Ballantyne (2007) A4,
ISBN 978-0-958023-52-8. The cost of this 64 page A4 book is $30.00 plus packing and postage. The cost of packaging and postage for the two books together or singly is $3.20.

This book tells the stories of the Irish who created this beautiful lace which began as a
lower-priced version of the traditional needle and bobbin laces and then developed as an art form in its own right. It is a fresh account and draws on a wide range of rare old books and records (some recently discovered in Ireland). It gives insights into the remarkable job-creation programmes set up by the nuns, wives of clergymen and other benevolent people at the time of the famine and later also by various government bodies.

The detailed illustrations, many of them new, show what the early laces looked like. These
books which are meant to be read together have appeal for many people interested in social history and textiles, not just crocheters. They are the result of careful research and have extensive references, bibliography and appendices.

Email, phone or write for further information.
Email: Phone and fax: 61 2 9719 1075
Barbara Ballantyne, PO Box 435, Drummoyne 1470, N.S.W., Australia

Please send . . . . . copies of Early History of Irish Crochet Lace @ A$30.00 each.

. . . copies of Mlle Riego and Irish Crochet Lace @ A$15.00 to:

Postage for two books together or singly please add A$3.50.

Name .............................................................................................................................................

Address: ...........................................................................................................................................

.........................................................................Postcode . . . . . . Phone ...........................................

Cheque or money order in A$ enclosed. A$ or may be deposited in bank account 062 157 1008
8754 (Barbara Ballantyne, Commonwealth Bank, Drummoyne)

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IRISH CIVIL REGISTRATION INDEXES: Terry Eakin Records of BM&D for Ireland (32 counties) to 31 Dec 1921 and for 26
counties since this date. Commencing dates are detailed in its introduction. Records of BM&D for Northern Ireland from 1 Jan 1922. Some earlier
records are available (┬ú11 English per certificate) but can be purchased from the GRO Roscommon for Ôé¼6 for a photocopy of the original certificate from microfilm.

Registration of Protestant (non-Catholic) & Jewish marriages commenced on the 1 Apr 1845 in Ireland. Registration of all marriages, including Roman Catholic marriages, commenced on 1 Jan 1864 as did the registration of all births and deaths in Ireland. Before this date the researcher is dependant on parish registers.

In order to appreciate what precisely these records consist of, it is necessary to have some idea at least of how registration began. It was, in fact, an offshoot of the Victorian public health system, based on the Poor Law, in an attempt to provide some measure of relief for the most destitute. Between 1838 and 1852, 163 workhouses were built throughout Ireland, each at the centre of an area known as a Poor Law Union. The workhouses were normally situated in a large market town, and the Poor Law Union comprised the town and its catchment area. As a result the Unions often ignored existing boundaries of parish and county. This had consequences for research which are outlined below.

In the 1850s, a large-scale public health system was created, based on the areas covered by the Poor Law Unions. Each Union was divided into Dispensary Districts, with an average of six to seven Districts per Union. A Medical Officer, normally a doctor, was given responsibility for public health in each District. When the registration of all births, deaths and marriages began, in 1864, these Dispensary Districts also became Registrar's Districts, under the control of a District Registrar who was responsible for collecting the registrations. In most cases, the Medical Officer for the Dispensary District also acted as the Registrar for the same area, but this sometimes was not the case. The superior of the Registrar was the Superintendent Registrar, responsible for all the Registers within the old Poor Law Union. The returns for the entire Poor Law Union (also known as the Superintendent Registrar's District or, simply, the Registration District) were indexed and collated centrally. The master indexes for the entire country were produced at the General Register Office [RGO] in Dublin and are now generally used for public research.

Because of the history of the system, responsibility for registration still rests with the Department of Health. The arrangement at present is that the local Health Boards hold the original registers, and the General Register Office [at Government Offices, Convent Road, Roscommon] hold the master indexes to all 32 counties up to 1921, and to the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland on and after 1 January 1922. From 1 January 1922, the indexes and registers for Northern Ireland [six of the nine counties of Ulster] are held at Oxford House, 49-55 Chichester Street, Belfast BT1 4HL which is soon to relocate to another building.

Under the original system, the local registrars forwarded their records to Dublin, where they were copied and then returned to the local office. As well as the master indexes for the entire country, the General Register Office also contains microfilms of all of these copy registers, and is the only part of the registration system which permits comprehensive public research. The microfilm indexes are available to members and visitors at 379 Kent Street (SAG Library). To get the information contained in the original register entry, it is necessary to purchase a print-out from the microfilm, at Ôé¼6 per entry from the GRO Roscommon. These print-outs are supplied for information only, and are not legal certificates that can be used to obtain passports etc.

It is also possible to carry out research in the local registrar's offices around the country, although this is at the discretion of the local officials. In some cases, particularly for common surnames, this can be the only way to re-construct a whole family, since the research is on the original registers, rather than indexes but this is only useful if visiting Ireland.

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (the Mormons) has copies of almost all of
the General Register Office indexes and registers, and permits access through their local Family History Centres. Because direct access to both registers and indexes is possible, research in an LDS centre can often be more fruitful than a visit to the General Register Office itself. In addition, some parts of the early years of birth registrations are included in the LDS International Genealogical Index, which is searchable online. The 2002 edition of the LDS CD set, British Isles Vital Records, includes an index to birth registrations from 1864 to 1875 inclusive.

What can you expect from an Irish certificate of Birth, Marriage and/or Death?

Births: the name; date of birth; place of birth; name, surname, occupation and dwelling place of the father; name, surname and dwelling place of the mother; and, occasionally, the name, residence and qualification of the informant.
Marriages: names, ages, residences and occupations of the persons marrying; date; parish in which the marriage took place; names and occupations of fathers of both bride & groom; the clergyman.
Deaths: full name; place of death; sex; whether single or previously married; age last birthday; occupation; and, occasionally, the name, residence and qualification of the informant.

The most useful certificate is probably a marriage, because in providing fathersÔÇÖ names it gives a direct link to the preceding generation, and it is the easiest to identify from the indexes. Birth entries are much more difficult to identify correctly from the indexes without precise information about date and place. Even with such information, the high concentration of people of the same surname in a particular locality in Ireland can make it difficult to be sure that a birth registration is the relevant one. Success often depends on having uncommon surnames!! Also beware of spelling variations.

Unlike many other countries, death records in Ireland are not as useful for genealogical purposes as Australian death certificates. There was no obligation to record family information, and the age at death is often very imprecise. However, despite this, death records can sometimes be of value. The person present at death was often a family member, and the relationship specified in the register entry. Even the age recorded may be useful, since it at least gives an idea of how old the person was thought to be by family or neighbours. Remember that registration districts crossed county borders so Carrick-on-Suir registered events from counties Kilkenny, Tipperary and Waterford, similarly Irvinestown covered counties Fermanagh and Tyrone.

The indexes held by SAG are:
Births: LDS Films 101041 to 101079 (39 reels), from 1 Jan 1864 to 31 Dec 1921
Marriages: LDS Films 101241 to 101264 (24 reels), from 1 Apr 1845 to 31 Dec 1921, and
Deaths: LDS Films 101582 to 101608 (27 reels), from 1 Jan 1864 to 31 Dec 1921.

Always remember that the dates of births, age when married and age at death reported by family members before 1900 was often only a guess or estimate. This is especially true for births. The ages given in census returns, for example, are almost always inaccurate, and round figures eg 50, 60, 70, should be treated with particular caution. The true date of birth is often well before the one recorded.
It would appear that, up to the start of the 20th century, very few people actually knew their precisedate of birth. It is better to search a range of the indexes before the reported date, rather than after.

From 1864 to 1877 the indexes consist of a single yearly volume in each category - births, marriages and deaths -covering the entire country, recording all names in a straightforward alphabetical series.
The same arrangement also applies to the non-Catholic marriages registered from 1845.

From 1878, the yearly volume is divided into four quarters, with each quarter covering three months and indexed separately.

This means that a search for a name in, for example, the 1877 births index involves looking in one place in the index, while it is necessary to check four different places in the 1878 index, one in each of the four quarters.

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From 1903, in the case of births only, the indexes include the mother's name and maiden surname. This is only available in the master copy at GRO Roscommon, and the GRO Dublin but not in the LDS filmed indexes available throughout the world.

In all three categories, each index entry gives:

┬À surname
┬À first name
┬À registration district
┬À volume & page number
The deaths indexes also give the reported age at death. The "volume and page number" simply make up the reference for the original register entry, necessary in order to obtain a photocopy of the full information given in that entry. YouÔÇÖll notice a few entries handwritten into the indexes.

Surname: The order followed in the indexes is strictly alphabetical, but it is always necessary to keep possible variants of the surname in mind. In the nineteenth century, when a large majority of the population was illiterate, the precise spelling of their surnames was not relevant to most people. Thus members of the same family may be registered as, for example, Aikin, Aitken, Eakin, Ekin. The question of variants is particularly important for names beginning with O or Mac. Until the start of the Gaelic revival at end of the 19th century, these prefixes were treated as entirely optional and, in the case of the O's particularly, more often omitted than included. Until well into the twentieth century, for instance, almost all of the O Briens are recorded under Brien or Bryan. Before starting a search in the indexes, therefore, it is essential to have as clear an idea as possible of the variants to be checked.
Look at the variants on the surnames in GrenhamÔÇÖs Irish RecordFinder taken from the NLI Index of Surnames list or search the Index to GriffithÔÇÖs Valuation on microfiche at SAGÔÇÖs library at 379 Kent Street, Sydney.

First name: Among the vast majority of the population, the range of first names in use in the nineteenth century was severely limited. John, Patrick, Michael, Mary and Bridget occur with almost unbelievable frequency in all parts of the country. Combined with the intensely local nature of surnames, reflecting the earlier tribal areas of the country, this can present intense difficulties when using the indexes. For example, a single quarter of 1881, from January to March, might contain twenty or more John (O')Reilly (or Riley) registrations, all in the same registration district of County Cavan.

A further obstacle is the fact that it is very rare for more than one first name to be registered. Thus someone known to the family as John James (O) Reilly will almost certainly appear in the index as a simple John or James! It is of course possible to purchase photocopies of all of the original register entries, but unless some other piece of information such as the parents' names or the townland can be used to cross check, it will almost certainly be impossible to identify which original register entries is the relevant one. If you know the townland, limit your search to the relevant local RegistrarÔÇÖs District.

LDS records can also provide a way around this problem, since direct access to both indexes and registers is possible. The thirty four Ms PowerPoint slides will be available on the Society of Australian GenealogistÔÇÖs website, go to newsletters and there the file will be listed and available for free downloading.

Note: I will be absent from Australia in August to October 2008 so newsletters to September will be published and available early and the October to December issues will not appear until December. I appreciate your understanding of this absence. This will complete ten years of this free newsletter being distributed around the world.

Articles, suggestions and information for this newsletter are welcome and may be E-mailed to: or posted to Terry Eakin, 334 Burns Bay Road, Lane Cove NSW AUSTRALIA 2066

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