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From:
Subject: Finding Irish Parish records in Ireland
Date: Wed, 02 Mar 2005 12:12:50 -0500


I like the discussion about finding baptismal and marriage records in the Catholic church. It is a mixed bag, but prospects look good.

I have done much research in my areas of interest in Ireland and I go deep into the Irish civil registration records at LDS, many transcriptions of which I have posted into the archives of IRL-CORK Rootsweb list.

My experiences in Ireland are varied. It is most true that Priests are overworked and Catholic records have been considered sacred and the property of the church forever. The National Library honors that by not allowing any copies or photographs of Catholic records, which remain the property of the Catholic Church.

However, if a person travels to Ireland, the chances are good that Priests will search the records for SPECIFIC families with dates, and your chances are less the less you know to provide the priest.

Always offer a few Euros or something for the church and the church caretaker's time. It is common curtesy. I asked the caretaker in Dunmanway if his church needed anything--and I was thinking of donating a window or something in my family's name. He smiled and mentioned, "Oh about a hundred thousand dollars..."

To that my Irish cousin Seamus said, "Ah, and we'll be gettin' back to you on that, then." I love the Irish humor, and I shall figure something out when my work is done, or nearly done.

Helpful is providing a letter, a phone call, a family sheet with dates beforehand. Let them know you are coming. Bring an Irish cousin with you if you can.

Things are changing. My cousins and I spent 5 hours reviewing the Parish register of Leap, Cork, after the priest couldn't find the names we gave him. We found almost all 15 of our events, and heaven knows how many extra cousins were there that we didn't know about. But my Irish cousin Eugene Mccarthy played Irish football with the priest during college, and he entertained him the whole time we were there. The priest cannot do that often. On the other hand, he has not returned a subsequent letter of mine.

The church caretaker, John Coakley, of St Patrick's in Dunmanway first wouldn't let me even peep at the records, but subsequent years, as I kept arriving with new Farrell and McCarthy and O'Sullivan cousins from Dunmanway, he finally left me alone in the room with all his Parish registers--for another 5 hours! And me with my digital camera at the other end of town! I was almost blind by the time I left that room. My Irish cousin said, "You are really serious about this, aren't you?"

You bet!

I had a priest call me at home in California from Adrigole, Beara Peninsula, Cork.

My Powers cousin had a priest e-mail her from county Mayo about the proper Parish to seek in Kilkenny. he then e-mailed her or mailed her all the baptismal records she was asking for--just this month!

So, what I want to say, is that we must do our Irish research with respect for them and deal with whatever the priests can handle. We must do our homework, if we can, at the LDS first, before we bother the priests. LDS will let you copy, where NLI will not.

Some churches have church caretakers, and as the records are being computerized for Ireland (which they are--s l o w l y), and as new priests come on board with cell phones and e-mail skills, and a higher regard for e-mail and genealogy, I believe things will change. But everything is on an independent and slowly growing basis. Often, Ireland reminds me of Mexico, but I love it so.

Regards,

Candi in California-with hopes of going back this August 2005! PLEASE don't have another heat wave!


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