Archiver > IRISH-IN-CHICAGO > 2005-03 > 1109714382

From: Dan Hogan <>
Subject: Re: [Irish in Chicago]
Date: Tue, 1 Mar 2005 13:59:42 -0800
In-Reply-To: <>

This has been an on-going argument on other Irish lists I belong to for
years. There are several theories about why certain Heritage
Centers/archdiocese charge such outrageous fees and who exactly "owns"
our ancestor's records. The Irish government also has gotten into this
problem because they want to encourage tourism ($), but genealogist say
they aren't going unless they know where their ancestors lived/buried.
Some researchers believe that the catholic church, who "owns" most
records we seek, is just trying to gouge genealogists and look at us,
especially American genealogists, as a gold mine.
Some believe the church, for various reasons, is purposely making it
hard because they really don't want just anybody to see these records.
The catholic church's attitude is that they kept and saved these
records for hundreds of years when no one cared, their priests were
even prosecuted over them back when being a catholic in Ireland was
against the law. Also they state that they are not into genealogy and
do not have the time nor resources/equipment to do look-ups, make
copies, etc, so if we want to see these records, we need to pay a fee.
I and many believe there is an alterior motive behind this, that it is
an old catholic v protestant thing.
Some researchers who have gone to Ireland have encountered reluctant
parish priests who won't let them see the records, the priests state
that the records may start up "old feuds again". What do you think that
Also, other catholic countries in which the church "owns" the records
have the same attitude and researchers have encountered the same road
blocks. For example the Spanish Catholic church, makes no bones about
it. You must write them a letter, properly stated in a particular
language your requests. If you mention the word "genealogist" or any
derivative of, they label you a Mormon i.e. protestant, and you will
not receive a response.
In Mexico where again the church has the records their attitude is the
same, that they are the keepers of the records and they are not for
general viewing because they too do not want "just anyone" getting
their hands on them.
This is not the attitude in all catholic countries/archdiocese, but
many it is.
Dan Hogan
On Tuesday, March 1, 2005, at 11:31 AM, Alan Barnard wrote:

> If the National Library in Dublin only charges a small fee for
> information then it is in the minority in Ireland. I have found Irish
> research
> to be the most expensive in all the British Isles. The Heritage
> Centres are some of the worst culprits. The records are of the people
> and as such should belong to the people. Charges to cover
> administration costs, or the time taken by a priest to refer to the
> records are reasonable charges, but to make a profit from our records
> I believe is indefensible. Particularly as the Irish economy is now
> one of the highest in Europe and indeed the world
> Alan

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