Monday, December 22, 2008

Irish records going digital

Posted by Craig Kanalley on 12/22/2008
Great news for those of Irish descent!

The Irish Family History Foundation is busy at work digitizing millions of birth, marriage, and death records, as well as census and land records. The project is in progress, though some 6.9 million births have already been indexed, as well as 3.5 million marriages and 1.2 million deaths across the island.

From Northern Ireland's Co. Antrim to the Republic of Ireland's Co. Cork, a number of counties north, south, east, and west are already on the Web. Just 10 are not, at the moment, but more records are added all the time.

The site with all of these records is brsgenealogy.com. A simple, free registration allows you to conduct free searches of the index. Then, the full records can be instantaneously viewed via the site for an affordable five Euros each. One way to increase your chances of a match are to enter your person's name with their father's name (if you know it of course). You can also search for a name by parish.

I'm particularly excited about these new records in that I've already had success with them. I found the baptism record of my 4th-great-grandfather Thomas Bulger and learned that he was born Mar. 10, 1825 in Ballinabarney, Parish of Killaveney, Co. Wicklow. I also found baptism records for his siblings John (1826), Mary (1828) and Michael (1832) in the same townland and Ellen (1842) in nearby Glenphilipeen. I confirmed it was them through their parents' names, James Bulger and Judith Kealy, which I had through Canadian records.

And I also found the baptism of my girlfriend's 3rd-great-grandfather John Hendrick. He was born in May 1843 in Raheen, Parish of Rosbercon, Co. Wexford (previously we knew nothing more than just "Ireland"). Again, I confirmed it was him through parents' names, which I had before (Charles Hendrick and Ann Byrne). Very interestingly, I then learned that Raheen is only about five miles away from Dunganstown, Co. Wexford, where President John F. Kennedy's family originated.

If you have Irish roots, and especially if you're searching for an uncommon name, give the site a look. With Irish records so lacking, due to the great Dublin Fire, war, and famine, this effort is literally a goldmine.

4 comments on "Irish records going digital"

Indy Steve on December 30, 2008 at 3:07 PM said...

Great site, though I wish they gave just a tiny bit more information for free. Good luck trying to find a "Patrick Sullivan" or other such generic name. If they just gave the month of birth I'd be a lot more confident in buying a record. Or if they offered a monthly membership, that would also be much better for those of us who are looking for a needle in an irish haystack.

Craig Kanalley on January 8, 2009 at 3:06 AM said...

I could not agree with you more, Indy Steve. I too wished there was just a tiny bit more info so I knew it was a record I wanted to buy. Maybe in time they will add additional features and membership options. That being said, it's nice to see such data going on the Web. It used to be you could only get info like that by writing to Ireland or going there yourself.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for posting this info. I recently started doing genealogy research and this may be a missing link. How do you feel about the Newberry Library in Chicago? Was it helpful in your search?

Colleen Catania
cmc1121@comcast.net
www.drywatermedia.com

Craig Kanalley on January 30, 2009 at 6:28 PM said...

Colleen,

To be honest, I don't know much about the Newberry Library, and have never been there, but looking at their website (http://www.newberry.org/genealogy/chicago.html), it seems they have awesome resources for genealogy. Looks like an ideal place to do research, even a great place to start for someone relatively new to genealogy like yourself.

Let me know if I can be of any help. I particularly enjoy looking up census records for people if you haven't gotten that far yet (1850-1920 especially) and have access to the necessary databases. Good luck!

-Craig

 

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