Once again I made one of my forays around Internet Land, and once again I was surprised at some of the little nuggets that I came upon about doing genealogy research in Ireland. Here are just a few.
"It takes two hours to get a reader's ticket at the National Library of Ireland".
Really? Two hours? What the heck were you doing during that time?
Getting a reader's ticket at the National Library of Ireland is very easy and should take, at most, about fifteen minutes.
One: you fill out the application (now via computer in their lobby).
Two: you present i.d. (your passport is best), and get an i.d. photo taken in their gift shop.
Three: the staff member prints out the ticket with photo, laminates it, and puts in on a little chain so you can wear it.
You're ready to research.
(You might spend a few more minutes if you'd like to have a chin wag with the gift shop staff member or the security guards.)
"Irish Research Centres are really expensive to search in."
Okay, if a man in a trench coat approaches you on the street and says, "Psst, want to buy some research from my research centre?", then RUN as fast as you can to the National Library of Ireland (NLI) or the National Archives of Ireland (NAI), both located in Dublin City.
Both the NLI and the NAI provide a FREE genealogy advisory service, and they are staffed by very helpful personnel. They will direct you to the library and archive resources which you may want to view (again free). Also, both the NLI website and the NAI website provide research guides to Irish genealogy, and details about all of their holdings, including materials such as parish registers (NLI, on microfilm), Tithe Applotment books, wills and testamentary records (NAI). As is the case with all libraries and archives, you do have to pay for photocopies or microfilm copies.
For those searching online, individual county based genealogy centres have been involved in the transcription and digitization of Irish church records for many years. Most of them are part of the Irish Family History Foundation (IFHF), and their records can be accessed online through the IFHF website. You may search this site for free; the viewing and purchase of an individual record will cost 5 Euros (about $6.50 USD). If you are in Ireland, it is best to stick with such places as the National Library, the National Archives, Dublin City Library, or other local libraries for research. The county centres provide a research service based on the indexes they hold, but do not normally allow members of the public direct access to them.
As is the case elsewhere, if you contract with a professional researcher/genealogist to do research for you, then yes, you must pay for the services of that person. I have been doing research in Ireland for years, and I have never, at any time, paid to do my own research.
"they [the Irish] were taught not to make records".
This bit of nonsense nearly made my head explode. Taught NOT to make records? Was there a training course? Did everyone just sit in the classroom and stare at the chalk board?
Consider for a moment a micro-mini history of Ireland...
12th and 13th centuries:
The Norman invasions: burning, pillaging, rack and ruin: Yes, probably loss of records.
That little darling Oliver Cromwell stopped by, ripping up the south and east of the island in his bid to "reconquer" Ireland for England. Catholic Churches were deliberately razed by cannon fire. More burning and pillaging, and yes loss of records, hiding of records, and who knows perhaps even avoidance of making records.
1798 Rebellion: some damage to property, perhaps even some destruction of records.
1845: legislation provides for the registration of civil marriages and the regulation of all non-Catholic marriages, and creates the Office of the Registrar-General responsible for the collation and custody of all birth, death and marriage records.
1864: further legislation provides for the inclusion of Catholic marriages, together with all births and deaths.(For the history of civil registration in Ireland visit this GRO site history page).
1922: during the Irish Civil War: fire at the Four Courts Complex results in the destruction of the Public Records Office and with it the loss of about two-thirds of the pre-1870 Church of Ireland parish registers, as well almost all 19th century census documents, and pre-1922 probate records. (see this post for further information)
YES, throughout Irish history there have been times when records have been destroyed, either deliberately or inadvertently, but the Irish being "taught NOT to make records"? I think that's more than a bit of a stretch.
As always, I thank you for reading/listening to my Monday Madness. Sigh! I feel so much better.
Copyright© J.Geraghty-Gorman 2011.
Note: The money image is of defunct Irish legal tender, an old £20 note; the Euro is now the standard used.
Thanks to The Graphics Fairy for the black and white graphics in this post.