Dublin-based genealogist Tom Coughlan has pointed me in the direction of a library that seems to be hiding its light under a bushel: Family History Books.
It's a collection of some 40,000 digitised genealogy and family history publications from the archives of seven major US family history libraries. It includes family histories, local histories, genealogy magazines and tutorials, gazeteers, dictionaries, histories and pedigrees.... you name it... It's provided by Family Search, the vast LDS-run site. How (and why) they've kept this quiet, I've no idea.
You can search by name or place, by author or by title, or by any term you like, but you'll get a more focussed result if you use the Advanced Search facility.
And then the results download, much as they would from any search engine, with a brief description of the publication, its author and holding library. You can then download the whole publication. Big, small, somewhere in between, the whole thing downloads in a pdf that you can read on screen or save to your computer or print out.
To give you an idea of the scope of this library and it's potential for Irish genealogy researchers, here are a few examples of titles on offer in response to a couple of random searches:
- 19th-century records pertaining to Hunt families in the Vicinity of Ballyhaunis, County Mayo.
- Index to the marriage licence bonds of the Diocese of Cork and Ross 1623-1750.
- Index to the Prerogative Wills of Ireland 1536-1810.
- The Journal of the American-Irish Historical Society.
- Records of the Parish of Arklow, Co Wicklow.
- Samuel Lewis's Topographical Dictionary of Ireland 1865.
- Some records of the Lurgan Quakers of Northern Ireland.
- Immigration of Irish Quakers into Pennsylvania 1682-1750.
- A History of the Name MacCarthy.