IRISH-IN-CHICAGO-L ArchivesArchiver > IRISH-IN-CHICAGO > 2004-01 > 1075074561
From: Dan Hogan <>
Subject: Re: [Irish in Chicago] Irish Records - Important
Date: Sun, 25 Jan 2004 15:50:39 -0800
Not a question, but a comment. One other factor to consider is the
attitude by some in the Irish Catholic Church, they do consider
genealogy a business as proven by the Archdiocese of Cashel & Emly, in
County Tipperary. They do run a "Heritage Center" and currently charge
79 Euros just to look up an "possible" ancestor. Then another 25 Euros
to make the copies and send to you. There has been an endless debate
between some genealogists over the ownership of Catholic records in
Ireland, as well as the amounts charged by different archdiocese. Even
the Irish tourism board has gotten involved because they want American
tourists, but many genealogists are reluctant to travel to Ireland
until they have done extensive research in Irish records, which some
Archdiocese charge an excessive fee to get. So it is a "catch-22" if
you will. There have been, in the past, attempts to persuade the
Archbishops to lower their fees and/or make their records more
accessible, but to no avail. There was even an attempt to raise funds
to purchase special equipment for these Catholic Heritage centers
because one reason they charge so much, they say, is the labor involved
in accessing and copying records. So the business end of this issue is
commonly known to many. When I first started years ago, I was told that
"the Irish consider genealogy a gold mine" and charge big fees to
access records. To this date, I cannot afford to access Irish Catholic
records from the church.
On Sunday, January 25, 2004, at 01:21 PM, <>
> Over the weekend, I attended GenTech, a national (US) genealogy
> conference for
> professional and amatuer genealogists. One session I attended was
> about Irish
> research, titled " Digitisation of Irish Records: The Current State of
> The speaker was Brian Donovan of Eneclann, Ltd.
> I thought I would post about the lecture, as many people should find
> it helpful
> and interesting. I will post from my notes. I had to write fast and I
> did have
> some difficulty in understanding Brian with his Irish accent. I
> certainly could
> have made mistakes. However, you can order a tape of his lecture from
> Performance, www.audiotapes.com. Please don't email me to ask
> questions. I
> probably can't answer them. For more information, do a search or go to
> eneclann.ie website. I do not have any connection with any of these
> businesses or entities. I guess you could call this my "giving back."
> I have
> been very lucky in my Irish research.
> Brian first gave us some background information on genealogy research
> Ireland, particular to digitisation. First of all, it's a slow
> process. This is
> because not many people in Ireland are involved with genealogy.
> Second, there
> is a lack of interest due to the Irish being more concerned with house
> property research as opposed to genealogical research. The third is,
> "inadequate state funding." In the 1980s and 1990s, the Irish
> provided monies to train people in computer skills. The money wasn't
> really for
> genealogy, which is a business. It was for computer training. In
> Ireland, they
> don't know how to turn genealogy into a business. But Brian knows!
> LOL. At the
> time of this funding and training, people needed jobs. Today, Ireland
> has a low
> unemployment rate. The original goal, was to make 26 million records
> Only 17 million records were available by 2003. The fourth reason, is
> destruction of records and we all know about that!
> Brian then told us about the digitazation projects that have been
> completed or
> are ongoing. He provided us with a list of websites as he explained.
> Irish Genealogical Project
> These are the Heritage Centers. They have parish registers, civil
> Griffiths, Tithes and census record databases.
> General Register Office
> The GRO has the civil registers. The GRO relocated to County Roscommon
> provide full time jobs. They started to work on the printed indexes,
> stopped the project in 2001. I think there were some problems but I
> did not
> catch the whole story. I think they are now trying to work on a web
> based pay
> per view, with 2005 as their target date. However, I would not hold my
> on that.
> National Archives
> Together, the NA of Ireland and PRONI (Northern Ireland) are working
> on a
> digitization program of the 1901 and 1911 censuses. There is no time
> frame for
> this right now, so don't hold your breath on this one either.
> Late last year, the National Archives and Eneclann put out a new
> CD-Rom, called
> "Counties in Time." It gives a history of the counties and samples of
> that are available for research. If you go to the Eneclann website,
> you will
> find more information.
> National Library
> Yes I know this is not the website for the National Library of
> Ireland, but
> they are working with Irish Origins on the definitive verision of
> Valuation Office Records
> A new project by the Valuation Office and Eneclann will digitize the
> Volumes from 1850 to 1920 and the Griffiths Maps, both the 6 inch and
> the town
> plans. This will take years and is a very expensive project.
> You can also check out PRONI and the Wills Project, www.proni.gov.uk;
> the Irish Wills Project, www.eneclann.ie/publications-3.asp;
> and the Memorial Inscriptions Project,
> Brian also gave us a list of future digitization plans:
> Irish Ancestor Journal
> British Immigration Records 1858-1870
> Memorials of the Dead - Wexford and Wicklow
> Calendars of Wills and Administrations 1858-1922
> Catholic Qualification Rolls 1775-1801
> Loyalist Petition 1848
> Petition for Repeal of Union 1848
> Freeholders and Voters Lists 1727-1832
> Militia and Yeomanny Records 1750-1850
> Irish Jewish Records 1820-1960
> Brian went on to say that there are lots of Irish records but there
> are very
> few indexes. He said that what is being digitized has already been
> published or
> indexed. He said we should utilize the Registry of Deeds,
> He also said the National Archives has lots of information but with
> out indexes
> or finding aids, there are many records that go ignored by
> He provided a list of records that are not researched much.
> Valuation Office Field and Home Books 1838
> Outrage Reports 1835-1852 - letters written to Dublin Castle. These are
> organized by county.
> Relief Commission Papers 1845-1847 -- these are about the famine
> Convict Reference Files - 1836-1922
> Petty Sessions -- This is the lowest level of the courts in Ireland.
> Chancery Bills
> Fenian Files and Photographs 1862-1870
> The session lasted an hour with a short period of time for questions.
> I was
> able to ask one. I mentioned that I had been reading about some of the
> centers closing and asked if this had something to do with the
> funding. The answer is yes. Brian said that the Irish government
> provided 25
> million for computer training. The money was not spent on genealogy.
> But the
> government thought they would make money on genealogy. (The heritage
> were started by volunteers. I do not know who runs them now.) The
> has given up funding the heritage centers. So, some are closing.
> Brian suggested people write to the Irish government and tell them we
> money to spend on genealogy and that we want records to be made
> available. He
> said to contact the Irish Prime Minister and he gave his name and
> address! I
> did not get it all down, but if you do a search, I'm sure you will
> find it. He
> also suggested we write our own political representatives.
> In a nutshell, genealogy is a business. Some have figured that out,
> haven't. There are those who still think that genealogy is free, but
> when you
> consider the time spent on research, the photocopies, the
> transcribing, the
> indexing, etc., you can surely see that there is alot involved. If we
> something, we are going to have to work/pay for it. Irish records are
> exception. This doesn't mean you shouldn't volunteer for anything, in
> Brian commented that we genealogists can help. I think it's great that
> are products to buy. Obviously, Brian is making a living. He has a
> business. Many of the speakers at the conference make a living out of
> genealogy, through writing books, public speaking, teaching classes and
> digitizing records. Obviously, genealogy has come a long way.
> Digitization is
> the big thing now, but look at what we have available to us today.
> You have my permission to forward my post to other Irish email lists. I
> subscribe to quite a few and will send out my post to them today.
> Again, I ask you to please not email me with questions. Go to the
> site, do a search or visit the other URLs I gave you. I'm sure I have
> some information. Go seek and you shall find more.
> One more thing, I asked Brian, while I was browsing at his vendor
> table, how to
> find the papers for the Earl of Bessborough. He was a land owner in
> Carlow. Brian said that most estate papers are in England, so if you
> looking for information on an English land owner, check the National
> of England and the Historical Manuscripts Commission site or perhaps
> private papers of the National Library in Ireland.
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