Irish Records

Down Survey of Ireland 1656-58

Via Deborah Large Fox, I’ve just discovered The Down Survey of Ireland 1656-58, a searchable, online mapping database with digitized images of all surviving Down survey maps from 1656 to 1658. From the project’s website (at Trinity College Dublin):

Taken in the years 1656-1658, the Down Survey of Ireland is the first ever detailed land survey on a national scale anywhere in the world. The survey sought to measure all the land to be forfeited by the Catholic Irish in order to facilitate its redistribution to Merchant Adventurers and English soldiers. Copies of these maps have survived in dozens of libraries and archives throughout Ireland and Britain, as well as in the National Library of France. This Project has brought together for the first time in over 300 years all the surviving maps, digitised them and made them available as a public online resource.

Wow! This is a fantastic website, offering (free of charge!) an amazing resource.

Link

Cavan Genealogy is hosting a conference called “Crossing Borders, [.PDF brochure],” which will explore “some features of the borderland counties of Cavan, Monaghan, Fermanagh, Tyrone and Meath.”

Date: 12-15 September 2013.

Place: Slieve Russell Hotel, Ballyconnell, County Cavan, Ireland.

Link

Now online at PRONI (Public Record Office of Northern Ireland), a searchable placename index to the Valuation Revision Books, covering the counties of Antrim, Armagh, Down, Fermanagh, Londonderry and Tyrone between the years 1864 to 1933.

Link

So the reason I’m blue in the face is not apnoea or an impending heart attack, it’s from telling people over and over and over that it makes no difference whether your Quin family have been insanely fussy about spelling their surname with one N for the past three centuries. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the person writing the name down was not a Quin, and couldn’t give a hoot.

– John Grenham, The Os and the Macs

Tithe Applotment Books online

When I get a chance (which won’t be until after Christmas), I’m going to post an entry about searching the Tithe Applotment Books for various ancestors. I think I have found my Lahey ancestors, for example, who emigrated to Upper Canada from Killycross Upper, Ballymacegan, Lorrha, Tipperary.

But for now, just a brief post to note that the Tithe Applotment Books (one of the most important census substitutes for Irish genealogy) are available online at two  different locations:

  1. At familysearch.org: Ireland, Tithe Applotment Books, 1814-1855
  2. At the National Archives of Ireland: Tithe Applotment Books, 1823-1837

The National Archives of Ireland’s The Tithe Applotment Books: About the Records is well worth reading.

Irish Catholic Ancestors: How Far Back Can You Go?

You already know, of course, that you can’t really trace your ancestry back to Niall of the Nine Hostages, or to anyone grand and legendary like that. And you probably also suspect, if your family tree looks anything like mine, that traditional family lore along the lines of ‘We were once the kings and queens of Ireland!’ rests on dubious and shaky grounds at best; and turns out to be, upon further investigation, something more like, ‘We were once the agrarian underclass of the counties of Cork and Tipperary!’

So: how far back can you really, and realistically, go?

Digitization of Irish RC Parish Records?

In his Irish Roots column of 25 October, John Grenham writes of the NLI’s plans to digitize its collection of RC parish records:
The National Library has recently put out a request for tender for the digitisation of all of its Roman Catholic parish register microfilms. These microfilms cover 98% of the pre-1880 baptism, marriage and burial records kept by local parishes on the entire island, and are the single most important source of family history information for the vast majority of researchers. Indeed, in most cases they are the only source of family information before the start of state registration in 1864. They cover almost 1200 parishes on 520 reels and represent one of the most enduring achievements of the National Library between the 1950s and the 1970s. Having them available on-line will revolutionise Irish research.
Honestly, I don’t think “revolutionise” is too hyperbolic a term to use here. This really would change everything about Irish genealogical research (and would no doubt have a major impact on some other kinds of Irish historical research too: e.g., parish-level social history).
I’m not sure about the status of a “request for tender,” though. Is this a sure thing? Can it really be funded, what with budgetary cutbacks and so on? I sure hope so!