Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tuesday's Tips: Falsehoods, fibs, & other fabrications

On this Tuesday’s Tips, it is once again time to deal with falsehoods, fibs and other fabrications, and correct some of the misinformation about Irish records that is floating around internet land. In each case I have stated the false or misleading claim that has been made, and followed it with information which explains the truth of the matter. In addition, I have included a number of informative online sources which may assist you in your search for your own Irish ancestors.

The Four Courts, western aspect.
THE CLAIM:

'All the records in The Four Courts were destroyed during the 1922 Rebellion'.

THE TRUTH:

First off, there was no 1922 Rebellion. Second, not ‘all’ of the records were destroyed.

Brief details on a timeline:

24 April 1916: The 1916 Easter Rising begins in Dublin. It is quashed by the British in six days. It is referred to as the Easter Rebellion, but is widely known as the 1916 Easter Rising, or simply The Easter Rising.  

1919-1921: The Irish War of Independence took place from 1919 until the truce of July 1921. The Anglo-Irish Treaty was signed by Britain and Ireland in December of 1921, and ratified in January of 1922, resulting in the formation of the Irish Free State. However, not all involved parties in Ireland were happy with the result. The divide was so deep that it led to the Irish Civil War.

1922-1923: June of 1922 saw the start of the Irish Civil War which lasted until May of 1923.

It was in 1922 — during the Irish Civil War — that the Public Records Office in the Four Courts complex was destroyed.

On 28 June 1922, the first shots of the Irish Civil War rang out. Two days later, 30 June 1922, the west wing of the Four Courts complex was very badly damaged by a huge explosion and fire. At that time the Irish Public Records Office was located at the rear of the building.

See this post —> Going to the bookshelf to find family history for a couple of suggestions of books you might want to read in order to make a start toward learning more about this period in Irish history.

Also, be sure to visit the National Library of Ireland's excellent online exhibition:
The 1916 Rising: Personalities & Perspectives.

From my collection of ephemera: A 'postcard' view of the damaged Four Courts.
THE CLAIM:

'There are no extant Church of Ireland parish registers, because they were ALL destroyed by the fire in The Four Courts'.

THE TRUTH:

The blast and ensuing fire in the Four Courts resulted in significant losses, that is true, with official estimates saying well over 500 Church of Ireland parish registers were destroyed (as well as some other records of genealogical import, which I will discuss in a future post); however, it is estimated that over 600 parish registers survived the destruction.

Ironically, concern over the safe storage of such records led to an 1875 amendment to the Public Record Office Act of 1867 (PRO 1867). The change in law required that all Church of Ireland parish registers, as well as other parochial records, be sent to Dublin for safe keeping in the new Public Records Office in the Four Courts. You can read the amended act —> here.

Changes to the PRO Act in 1876 gave parishes the option of having their registers returned to them, so that those registers could be kept in local custody, so long as they could prove they would provide safe storage, and a number of parishes exercised this option. If you want answers about exactly which Church of Ireland parish registers are extant, then you need to visit The Representative Church Body of Ireland website.

Members of the church are currently engaged in The Anglican Record Project, an ongoing programme to transcribe and digitize extant parish registers. A number of registers are already available online, not only for viewing but for downloading too. These registers hold records of Baptism (with many including birth date), Marriage and Burial, with some dating to as early as 1666.

Here is a fine example of the kind of information you will find in the transcriptions of the parish registers, this one from Christ Church, Delgany, Diocese of Glendalough, County Wicklow.


In the registers for the Cloghran Parish, Diocese of Dublin, County Dublin, there are even some Roman Catholic burials noted. The transcription of the Cloghran parish registers has Baptism records from 1782-1864, Marriage records from 1732, and 1782-1839, and Burial records from 1732-1864.
THE CLAIM:

'There are no pre-1922 civil registration records of birth, marriage and death, because they were all completely destroyed in the fire at The Four Courts'.

THE TRUTH:

Civil registration records of birth, marriage and death were NEVER stored in the Public Records Office at The Four Courts.

The ongoing confusion over this appears to stem from the fact that some researchers believe the Public Records Office (PRO) and the General Register Office (GRO) are one in the same. In fact, they are separate entities. See this —> Madness Monday post for further explanation.

The civil registration of non-Catholic marriages began in 1845. In 1863, bills were introduced in Parliament so that the law governing civil registration was changed. Thus, beginning in 1864, civil registration included ALL births, marriages, and deaths on the island of Ireland. The Irish were legally compelled to register, and subject to fines if they failed to do so; however, this does not mean that everyone followed the law. Sometimes registrations were late, with dates of events changed to avoid fines, and some people simply did not register these life events.

If you are interested in acquiring copies of civil registration records for births, marriages and deaths visit the General Register Office website for full details. This link —> The History of Civil Registration will bring you to the GRO's full account of their history of registering births, marriages and deaths.

THE CLAIM:

'The 1926 census is going to be released any day now. They’re working on it.'

THE TRUTH:

Current Official Status: The 1926 Census Returns will be released to public inspection in January 2027.

Although the 1926 census returns are held in the National Archives of Ireland, the records are under the control of the Central Statistics Office (CSO). Not even the staff of the National Archives are permitted to view the returns, and the CSO has indicated the census will not be released until January 2027

Pádraig Dalton is the Director General of the Central Statistics Office, and as recently as 28 January 2014, he was in a committee meeting in the Dáil Éireann, the Assembly of Ireland, to discuss “a plan to capture the full value of our genealogical heritage”.
You can view the transcript of that meeting here on The Houses of the Oireachtas website.

HOWEVER…

Never let it be said that officials cannot be persuaded to change their minds. Even the most intransigent politicos and chief civil servants might sometimes be swayed, but we have to do our part.

Continuing the push for the release of the 1926 census is very important.

Visit the website of the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO) for more information and links to sign the petition asking for the opening of the census.

If you are interested in statistics — numbers and percentages, no names — for 1926, as well as other census years, then visit the website of the Central Statistics Office. There are a number of interesting statistics pages on this site that will whet your appetite for the 1926 census. For example, on the pages about jobs in 1926 in the Irish Free State, 9 women are counted among the 2, 599 persons who worked in Mining and Quarrying occupations. Also, 114 women are counted among the 47, 671 persons working in 1926 as builders, bricklayers, stone workers and contractors. Out of 5, 333 persons claiming the occupation of painter and decorator, 5, 298 of them are men and only 35 are women. Lots of interesting information for your consideration.

As always, the Best of Luck to you with your research!

Cheers,
Jennifer

Click on images to view larger versions.
©irisheyesjg2014

8 comments:

  1. Jennifer, as always, I appreciate your setting the record straight. The clarification is needful. Although these dates are too recent for my own research needs, I'm currently re-focusing on Ireland, as it appears our family will, after all, be able to go there for hands-on research this coming fall. It helps to know exactly what is--and is not--available. Misrepresentations, such as the ones you are hoping to dispel with your posts, are of no use to someone with limited time to find the right resources on site.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments Jacqi; as always they are very much appreciated. I wish you all the best on your research trip.

      I should add that although 1922, the year of the Irish Civil War in which the PRO was destroyed, is too recent for many seeking information about their ancestors, what was destroyed dates back to long before the Irish Civil War.

      Almost all census returns for the censuses taken in 1821, 1831, 1841 and 1851 were destroyed, except for a few fragments. (The original census returns for 1861 and 1871 were destroyed shortly after the censuses were taken, and the 1881 and 1891 census records were pulped during WW1. In a future post I will address census losses.) As well, many other significant documents were lost, including some dating back to the 13th century.

      The loss of such records is incalculable to historians and genealogists alike, so hopefully posts such as this one puts the focus on what we actually do have available to us.

      Cheers to you,
      Jennifer

      Delete
  2. Jennifer, I find this sort of thing annoying. yesterday I was on FB and someone said all the records were destroyed. Why do they keep it up? Ashling

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for your comments Ashling. It's nice to hear from you again. Clearly, I'm with you on the annoyance front, but hopefully continuing to get the word out will help. As to why individuals 'keep it up', as you've said, I've my own opinions about that, which are probably better left unsaid.

      Cheers to you,
      Jennifer

      Delete
  3. Jenn, knowing you as I do, when I saw the 1922 rebellion comment I thought I could hear your head exploding. Thanks for sharing all of this info. Cool pics too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Charlotte! You must have heard me laugh out loud too, when I read your comments.

      Cheers to you,
      Jennifer

      Delete
  4. A wonderfully helpful post which should set the record straight, but I think you're preaching to the converted.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks very much for your comments Pauleen! So many of us are 'the converted', as you've mentioned, but I hope this post will be helpful to those who are not. Unfortunately, this is not old news; this post was inspired by claims made online just last week.

      Cheers to you,
      Jennifer

      Delete

Comments on this blog are always deeply appreciated; however, in the spirit of true collegiality, I ask that you do not write something you could not say to me in person.

There is a proliferation of SPAM on this blog, so unfortunately comments moderation must be in operation.

Any comments that are mean-spirited, include URLs which are not connected to the post topic, contain misinformation, or in any way resemble advertising, will be removed. Anonymous comments which do not bear the name of the person commenting within the body of the comment, or are clearly generated from fake Google or Blogger accounts, will also be deleted.

Cheers, Jennifer

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...