|Home New Products Books & Maps Software Archival Products Print & Bind News & How-To Upcoming Events Tech Support Contact Us|
News & How-To
Formerly branded as GlobalGazette.ca
Articles, press releases,and how-to information for everyone interested in genealogy and history
News & How-To Home Page | Archived Articles | Sign up for our free newsletter
Article Published January 28, 2000
Irish Resources at the Family History Library
By: Kyle Betit
One of the readers of this column wrote to me by e-mail to ask about the Internet address of the National Library of Ireland (NLI) published in the last edition of this column, because my reader wanted to access some Catholic parish registers from County Galway. Well, it turns out that you don't have to go to the NLI to search those registers; they're available on microfilm right here in North America.
How can I be writing a column on Irish research living in Salt Lake City? How have we published a journal on Irish research for six years as well as a research guide to Irish record sources? The answer lies largely with the Family History Library.
In most places around the world you have access to many Irish records in your own town (or close by) just by ordering them on microfilm from the Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The library is operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons). The church's Genealogical Society of Utah has microfilmed records from many repositories in Ireland as well as collected many books and periodicals about Irish genealogy which are deposited in the Family History Library. The Mormons also have satellite centers in many of their churches around the world, called Family History Centers, where you can order in the microfilm held in Salt Lake City. The library houses the largest collection of Irish records outside of Ireland itself.
Family History Library (FHL)From one perspective doing Irish research is easier in Salt Lake City than it is in Ireland itself. That is because the Mormons have microfilm at the Family History Library from multiple repositories in Ireland: the Genealogical Office, the General Register Office, the National Archives of Ireland, the National Library of Ireland, and the Registry of Deeds, all in Dublin; the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast; Irish county libraries and other repositories. Many records of Irish people held at the Public Record Office at Kew, Surrey, England are also on microfilm at the FHL. In Salt Lake City all of the microfilm is on one floor of one building. In Dublin, you might have to visit five or more repositories to get a similar range of records.
35 North West Temple
Salt Lake City, UT 84150, USA
Freeholders Registers as an Example
Consider one record type as an example: Freeholders Registers. A freeholder held his property either in fee, which means outright ownership, or by a lease for a life or lives (such as the term of his life or the term of three lives named in the lease). Forty-shilling freeholders had the vote in Ireland until 1829, including Roman Catholics beginning in 1793. For an article in the final issue of our journal, The Irish At Home and Abroad [volume 6, number 4, 4th Quarter 1999] I compiled a 15-page table of freeholders, freemen, and voters records for the various counties, cities and boroughs in Ireland. It can be seen from the table that freeholders registers from several Irish repositories are available at the FHL, including the Armagh County Museum, the Genealogical Office, the Longford/Westmeath Library, and the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland. The FHL also has copies of many old histories with freeholders lists in them; these are noted in the Freeholders lists in each county's volume in Smith's Inventory of Genealogical Sources: Ireland, a source compiled under the direction of Frank Smith which breaks down large microfilm collections and published books and journals at the FHL, so that the researcher can tell by county and subject what relevant material is in them. The FHL collection of periodicals containing freeholders lists is also large.
LDS Family History Centers
The FHL has branches called Family History Centers (FHCs) throughout the world. Much of the microfilm (and some of the microfiche) collections of the FHL can be ordered through any Family History Center. Addresses of Family History Centers worldwide may be found on the Family Search web site http://www.familysearch.org.
Major collections of Irish records at the FHL include:
Censuses and Census Substitutes The 1901 and 1911 censuses of Ireland. Census fragments, nineteenth century. Many census substitutes from the 1600s-1800s.
Church Records Microfilm of church registers from about 1/3 of the Catholic parishes in Ireland; Quaker registers of births, marriages and deaths for all of Ireland.
Civil Registration Microfilm copies of indexes to Irish civil registration from 1845 through 1958. Also copies of many of the original registers of birth, marriage and death, although there are gaps in the collection.
Directories Country-wide and local town directories are available as books and/or on microfilm. Significant series of directories for Belfast and Dublin are included.
Estate Records Relatively few are available, but some have been filmed at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast.
Genealogies Most of the manuscripts of the Genealogical Office, Dublin, are available on microfilm.
Inventories and Catalogs Descriptive catalogs of the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, Belfast. Kew Lists for the Public Record Office in England. Many genealogical guides and inventories.
Land Records Records of the Registry of Deeds from 1708-1929, along with indexes by the name of grantor and by the locality (such as townland), are available on microfilm from the FHL.
Military Records Many British Army, Irish militia and yeomanry records microfilmed at the Public Record Office in England.
Occupational Records Guild records for Dublin City and other cities. Royal Irish Constabulary records and indexes.
Place Names Indexes to towns and townlands in Ireland, 1851, 1871, 1901.
Reference Material Most Irish genealogy reference works and Irish county genealogy guides are available.
Taxation Records Tithe Applotment Books (1823-1837). Griffith's Primary Valuation (1847-1864). Griffith's Revision Lists for Republic of Ireland counties.
Wills and Administrations Indexes to pre-1858 records by diocese. Records and indexes by probate registry for post-1858 period.
You will often find that trying to use the computerized (or microfiched) Family History Library Catalog is a frustrating and unsuccessful way of trying to access some of the FHL's Irish records. One problem is that there are so many administrative jurisdictions (counties, civil parishes, ecclesiastical parishes, baronies, poor law unions, towns, townlands, etc.) in Ireland under which records could be catalogued. It is often easier to use the following recommended finding aids:
2. Finding aids (books) prepared on specific record types by the library staff, such as Register of Ireland General Registry Office Births, Marriages, and Deaths 1845-1959 (Salt Lake City: Genealogical Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1978).
3. Kyle J. Betit and Dwight A. Radford's work Ireland: A Genealogical Guide (Salt Lake City: The Irish At Home and Abroad, 1998) lists many FHL microfilm numbers.
There Are Limits to the Collection
Of course, the FHL doesn't have everything from Ireland by any means. For example, very few Church of Ireland, Presbyterian, Methodist or other non-conformist church records are at the FHL. The FHL also has very few newspapers from Ireland. Many manuscript valuation records, freeholders lists, and estate papers are only available over in Ireland. So this leave plenty of room for you to go to Ireland to continue your research. But there's no need to go to Ireland unprepared: Do what work is possible through the FHL before going to research in Ireland. You will encounter less waiting time and less cost for reproductions at the FHL than at Irish repositories. By the way, the Family History Library and its collections are open to the public free of charge, six days a week, regardless of a researcher's religious background (no questions are ever asked).
Thank you Family History Library and Genealogical Society of Utah!!!!!
(I've always wanted to say that.)
More Irish Resources