ISSN 1443-5888 Volume 10, No. 2, February 2008

A Monthly Newsletter: Editor: Terry Eakin, 334 Burns Bay Road, LANE COVE, NSW 2066 Contact E-mail address:
Post Reply
Site Admin
Posts: 1157
Joined: 22 Sep 2003, 19:55
Anti-Pasta & Spam: No
Anti-Pasta & Spam 1: green
6 divided by 2 is the answer: 3
Location: Geldrop, The Netherlands

ISSN 1443-5888 Volume 10, No. 2, February 2008

Post by admi »


Editor: Terry Eakin, 334 Burns Bay Road, LANE COVE, NSW 2066
Contact E-mail address: ISSN 1443-5888
Volume 10, No. 2, February 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.

Registration District: As a result of the original arrangements for administering the system, the registration districts used were, and still are, largely identical with the old Poor Law Unions. Since these were based on natural catchment areas, normally consisting of a large market town and its rural hinterland, rather than on the already existing administrative divisions of townland, parish and county, registration districts for births, marriages and deaths cut right across these earlier boundaries, a fact which can be very significant for research. For example, Waterford registration district, centered on Waterford Town, also takes in a large part of rural south Co. Kilkenny. Use the map drawn up by member Alan Day, here is a copy for perusal today.

The only comprehensive guide to the towns and townlands which are contained in each registration district is found in a series of pamphlets produced in the nineteenth century by the Registrar-General's Office for the use of each of the local registrars. These are collected as Townlands in Poor-law Unions, (edited by George B. Handran, published by Higginson, Salem Ma, 1997) a copy of which can be found in the SAG Library. This is particularly useful when a problem arises in identifying a variant version of a townland name given in the original register entry for a marriage, birth or death. By scanning the lists of townlands in the relevant district in which the entry is recorded, it is usually possible to identify the standard version of the name and, from this, go on to census, parish and land records.
To go in the other direction, to find out what registration district a particular town or townland is in, the standard source is the Alphabetical Index to the Towns, Townlands and Parishes of Ireland, SAG S8/40/1851. Three editions of this were published, based on the census returns for 1851, 1871, and 1901. In the first two, the registration district is recorded as the Poor Law Union; in the 1901 Index it does not appear in the body of the work, but may be found as an appendix. An expanded on-line version of the 1851 edition is available on most computers in the SAG Library. If the original townland or address of the family being researched is known, and the search narrowed to a single registration district, then the problems in picking out the relevant entry, in the births indexes particularly, can be significantly reduced.

Births: From a genealogical point of view, only the following information is of genuine interest:

┬À the childÔÇÖs names
┬À the date of birth,
┬À the place of birth,
┬À the name, surname and dwelling place of the father,
┬À the name, maiden surname and dwelling place of the mother, and,
┬À occasionally, the name, residence and qualification of the informant

It is important to approach the birth indexes with as much
information as possible from other sources. If the birth took place
between 1864 and 1880, if the family was Catholic and if the
relevant area is known, it may be best to try to identify a baptism
from parish records first. In many cases, if information rather than a
certificate is the aim of the research, the parish record itself will be
enough. If the area is known, but not the date, it may be useful to
search the 1901 and 1911 census returns to obtain at least an
approximate age and, therefore, date of birth. If the names of
siblings and the order of their birth are known, but the area and date
are not, it may be necessary to search a wide range of years in the
indexes, noting all births of the names which occur in the family,

Page 5


and then try to work out which births of the relevant names occur in the right order in the same registration district. If the name is unusual enough, of course, none of this may be necessary.

Using birth records with other sources: Ages recorded in 1901 and 1911 census returns can
be used to narrow the range of years to be searched. If the birth registration is uncovered first, it records the precise residence of the parents, which can then lead to the relevant census returns, providing fuller information on other members of the family. Remember all 1911 and later 1901 census data will be available free on, with Dublin City and County already online.

Marriages: From a genealogical point of view, the following information is of interest:

┬À the date when and where married and the church and minister;
┬À the names and surnames of each the groom and bride, and ages;
┬À the condition, residences and occupations of the groom and bride;
┬À names and occupations of their fathers, and witnesses to the marriage.

As long as care is taken over the question of surname variants, and the names of both parties are known, research in the marriage indexes is straightforward. If two people married each other, then obviously the registration district, volume and page number references for them in the indexes have to be the same. It is simply necessary to cross-check the two names in the indexes, working back from the approximate date of birth of the eldest child if this is known, until two entries are found in which all three references correspond. Marriage records are especially important in the early years of civil registration, since they record the names of the fathers of people born c.1820 to c. 1840, as well as their approximate ages, thus providing evidence which can be used to establish earlier generations in parish records. The value of these records is even greater for families who were not Catholic, since their marriage records start in 1845.

Using marriage records with other sources: The 1911 census records the number of years a
couple have been married, the number of children born, and the number of those children still living.
This information is obviously very useful in narrowing the range of years to be searched for
a particular marriage. In the case of names which are common in a particular area, the fathers' names supplied in the marriage record are often the only firm evidence with which to identify the relevant baptismal record in the parish registers. Once a marriage has been located in civil records, thus showing the relevant parish, it is always worthwhile to check the church record of the same marriage. As church marriage registers were standardised, from circa 1860 on, they became more informative, in many cases supplying the names, addresses and occupations of both the mother and father of the parties marrying. In the case of most Dublin Catholic parishes, this information is recorded from around 1856.

Deaths: From a genealogical point of view, only the following information is of real interest:

┬À name and surname of deceased and sex;
┬À date and place of death;
┬À age at last birthday before death, occupation and marital status,
┬À the certified cause of death and duration of final illness;
┬À occasionally, the name, residence and qualification of the informant

As in the case of births, it is essential to uncover as much information as possible from other sources before starting a search of the death indexes. Thus, if a date of birth is known from parish or other records, the age at death given in the index along with the registration district provides at least a rough guide as to whether or not the death recorded is the relevant one. If the location of a family farm is known, the approximate date of death can often be worked out from the changes in occupier recorded in the Valuation Books of the Valuation Office. Similarly, if the family possessed property, the Will Calendars of the National Archives after 1858 can be the easiest way to pinpoint the precise date of death.

Page 6


With such information, it is then usually a simple matter to pick out the relevant entry from the indexes. Information from a marriage entry may also sometimes be useful; along with the names of the fathers of the parties marrying, the register entry sometimes also specifies that one or both of the fathers is deceased. There is no rule about this, however. The fact that a father is recorded as, say, John Murphy, labourer, does not necessarily mean that he was alive at the time of the marriage. If an individual is recorded as deceased, this does at least provide an end point for any search for his death entry. As already pointed out, however, death records give no information on preceding generations, and only occasionally name a surviving family member.

Using death records with other sources: The place of death given, if it is not the home of
the deceased person, may be the home of a relative. This can be investigated firstly through land records, and then through parish and census records, and may provide further information on other branches of the family.

Living Relatives: It is very difficult to use the records of the General Register Office to
trace descendants, rather than forebears, of a particular family. As pointed out above,
the birth indexes after 1902 do record the mother's maiden name (only in the master index at RGO Roscommon) so that it can be impossible to trace all the births of a particular family from that date forward. Uncovering the subsequent marriages of those children without knowing the names of their spouses is a much harder proposition. To take one example, the likely range of years of marriage for a Michael O'Brien born in 1905 would be 1925 to 1940; there are certainly hundreds of marriages recorded in the indexes under that name. One could, of course, purchase copies of all of the original register entries in the hope that one entry might show the relevant address and father's name, and then investigate births of that marriage, but in most cases, the work and expense involved makes the task impractical. There are, however, other ways of tracking descendants through land, census, voters' and parish records.

GRO Maritime Records: From 1864 to the present, the General Register Office has kept a separate "Marine Register" of births and deaths of Irish subjects which took place at sea. From 1886 only, a printed index to this register is bound into the back of the births and deaths index for each year. For earlier registers, the indexes have to be requested from the staff in the Office. No separate register was kept for marriages at sea.

GRO Army Records: The "Births, Deaths and Marriages (Army) Act" of 1879 required these events to be registered with the Office of the Registrar-General in Dublin, where they affected Irish subjects serving in the British army abroad. Separate indexes were bound into the backs of the main indexes.

What Certificates can you order through the LDS FHL?

┬À Marriage Certificates, 1 Apr 1845 to 31 Dec 1870 (RC only commence 1 Jan 1864)
┬À Death Certificates, 1 Jan 1864 to 31 Dec 1870,
┬À Birth Certificates, 1 Jan 1864 to end 1st Qtr 1881; 1 Jan 1900 to 31 Dec 1913.

This covers all Ireland pre-separation until 31 Dec 1921. All certificates pre-1922 may be ordered as photocopies for Ôé¼6.00 (c. A$10) from The General Register Office, Convent Road, Roscommon, Ireland or or by fax from 0011 353 906 632 999 with Mastercard or Visa.
A copy of the overheads used will be made available on the Society of Australian
Genealogists website for free downloading by those societies or members for free use in their education and learning studies.

Dublin's Glasnevin Cemetery to go ÔÇÿOn-Line'

Glasnevin Cemetery, once known as Prospect cemetery and which opened in 1832, is well known to the folk of Dublin as the last resting place of many of its deceased citizens. It covers a vast area of over 120 acres in which over the years there have been approximately 1.2 million burials. Although here is no rule barring non-Catholics from being buried there, it has generally been used only by the capitalÔÇÖs Catholic citizens. Non-Catholics have generally favoured Mount Jerome Cemetery,

Page 7


on the South side of the city, which was first opened in 1836. Recently, one of CIGOÔÇÖs Executive Liaison Officers (Steven Smyrl) was asked by Glasnevin to give it the benefit of his experience about what genealogists would expect to obtain from an on-line service allowing access to the CemeteryÔÇÖs computerised registers. Having done their homework about modern practices relating to releasing data on the Internet, Glasnevin hopes it will be ready during the coming weeks to launch the service. It will be a pay-per-view service and all funds raised from it will be used to maintain the cemetery. Given that the vast majority of the CemeteryÔÇÖs plots are family graves, the records - which stretch back 175 years ÔÇô record invaluable information about Dublin families. In light of the lack of 19th century census records for the capital, this information is all the more precious. You can read more about the subject here and here.

Dublin Diocesan Archives (RC)

Noelle Dowling, Archivist at the RC Dublin Diocesan Archives, has announced that she has recently accessioned the parish registers of three Dublin city parishes:

St. Catherine's, Meath Street: Baptism: 1740-1898; Marriages: 1740-1892;
SS Michael's & John's: Baptisms: 1768-1899; Marriages: 1790-1879; Banns to 1902;
St. Audeon's: Baptisms: 1778-1901; Marriages: 1746-1901.

Good News on GRO's 'Five Photocopy' Rule

Frustrations are now running at an all time high about the daily limit of only five photocopies of entries from the registers per person at the General Register OfficeÔÇÖs Dublin-based Public Search Room (PSR). Having paid a Ôé¼20 fee to allow a full day's searching in the Indexes, the imposition of a limit on the number of photocopies is being seen as a severe limitation on 'value for money'. Researchers are constantly juggling their photocopy requests, not wanting to waste one of their valuable five daily 'chances' to hit on the correct record. Generally, once these five 'chances' have been used-up researchers are leaving the PSR as there is little point in staying. It can take several days of attending the PSR and playing 'genealogical poker' until one eventually hits the correct record and then return to searching the indexes again. Obviously, for those visiting Ireland to undertake research this is a particularly frustrating situation as they only have very limited time available. Being informed that extra photocopies can be posted out to them at their home address is, to say the least, not very helpful. What one disgruntled researcher had to say about the GRO in 1999 can be seen here.

There seems to be no convincing the GRO management in Roscommon town that a new access structure is urgently required to their records. Until only a few years ago there was no limit on photocopies at all and when a limit was first imposed it was set at eight, but then without warning reduced to five. Up to only five or so years ago there was a PSR staff of only two who very obligingly implemented a 'no limitation' service on photocopy production. The staff now number at least eight and while they provide a much more efficient service than ever before, they are severely hampered through having to implement the restrictive five photocopies 'rule'.

In order to the clarify the position about obtaining certificates [now known as certified copies] and photocopies [now known as uncertified copies], CIGO recently approached Brian Hayes T.D. [Fine Gael] and asked him to request information from Martin Cullen T.D.[Fianna Fail], Minister for Social & Family Affairs, through the asking of a Parliamentary Question (PQ).

For those using the PSR the reply to the PQ (which came out on the 12th February) was very helpful in that the Minister clearly stated that both certified and uncertified copies may be obtained from any of the StateÔÇÖs 32 local Superintendent Registration Offices (SRO). In practical terms, for those using the GROÔÇÖs Dublin-based PSR it now means that additional uncertified copies [photocopies] at the usual price of Ôé¼4 can also be obtained from the SRO on the ground floor of Joyce House, Lombard Street East, Dublin 2.

CIGO has prepared a copy of the PQ, which those attending at the Lombard Street SRO should print-out and take with them when next they visit there, which can be seen here.

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

Page 8

Post Reply