Irish Research

It has been a somewhat hectic time lately so my intermittent blog has become more infrequent than intermittent. We are in the process of moving house and moving country, so fitting in my blog has been difficult. Apologies.

Lately I've been looking again at finding Irish records. Ray and I both have Irish heritage of one kind or another but sometimes, when it comes to finding out information, Irish heritage can be more of a hindrance than a help.

Finding records in Ireland is not as easy as I have found with other countries. The General Record Office has a genealogy and family search facility in Dublin but the actual General Record Office itself is at Roscommon, some two hours' drive from Dublin. The National Archives of Ireland are in Dublin. Northern Ireland is easier with PRONI and GRONI being fairly close to each other in Belfast.

My nearest Genealogy Centre is at Nenagh, North Tipperary some 20 minutes drive from me. I paid them a visit some time ago intending to carry out a little bit of a search about a distant relative. I was expecting to spend some enjoyable time searching through bits and pieces as I've done at many Country Record Offices and at TNA, Kew, in England. But no. Sorry, they told me, we don't hold records—they are all on-line at Now that's all well and good, but I want to hold the physical items. Not possible. I've plenty of experience with subscription sites and know how regularly transcription errors are made, so I like to see original documents if I can, or at least photocopies of originals so I can make my own transcriptions. Not possible.

So, I log onto rootsireland and, lo and behold, they want to charge me to view results of my search! Now, if I find that the name is common (as are many of my relatives—Mawhinney, McBride, Smyth—not only to I have to pay to see the search results, I have to pay extra for each individual item I wish to view within the results list. Now for the Nenagh fellow, John LEWIS, father Rice LEWIS, there are a mere 151 records. To view each individual detail costs 25 credits, ie €5.00 at the most expensive rate, so to view records for John LEWIS I'd need to load up with 3,775 credits. My cheapest option is 450 credits for €50.00. There is no option to take out a subscription. The amount of information shown on results lists is insufficient so I must pay my money on a chance. Not good for the budget.I've lost count to the amount of money I have wasted on credits used at looking at irrelevant information.This from a site that is "created by the Irish Family History Foundation (IFHF), an all Ireland not-for-profitorganisation."Hmmm…

I was pleased to read, a few weeks ago, that photocopies of Irish birth, marriage and death certificates will be able to be obtained via email rather than the current snail mail. Excellent news, thought I. Should have known better. I don't want the whole official form (€20) for really distant relatives, just the photocopy (€4) will give me the info I need.I can go online to download the forms, but then I must fill out the forms andpost or faxthem or apply in person. No such thing as submitting electronically. So really, the information is erroneous, for the time being.

The problem is a lack of joined-up thinking as shown here:

Irish Genealogy Blogspot of 12 July 2013: "The Health Service Executive runs the Civil Registration Service…GROIreland's new online presence will be aligned with the Department of Social Protection's website…the mooted upload of the GRO's bmd indexes [will appear on] the Department of Heritage, Arts and the Gaeltacht". What HSE and DSP have to do with genealogy research eludes me. Meanwhile, this is the year of The Gathering in Ireland. Seems they are gathering nonsense and 'jobs for the boys'. An Irish solution for an Irish problem as they say here.

Till next time…

Jan Powell