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Friday, 16 November 2012

Coming Soon....

It's been a pretty exciting few weeks, one way or another, what with news of the Anglican Records Project and the string of launches over the past week: tithe applotment books, Irish Soldiers Wills and the 1922 Military Census. And the year isn't out yet.... there is more to come (although not all with free access) before New Year.... and plenty of wonderful goodies in store for 2013.

You probably noticed on the Home Page of the National Archives of Ireland's new genealogy website a list of collections that will be joining the TABs, Soldiers' Wills and 1901/1911 censuses 'over the coming years'.

Well, it seems those coming years may be sooner than you might expect for some of the records listed, as I learned when I spoke recently to Catriona Crowe, Head of Special Projects for the National Archives of Ireland (NAI).

Containing 416,000 names, the calendars of wills and administrations 1858-1920 will be the next major release to the site. The digitisation work has been completed and the data is expected to be handed to Catriona's team next week. So the likely release of the collection, possibly in stages, is early next year.

This release will be followed by the Valuation Office's field, house, tenure and quarto books from the 1840s to the 1850s.

Both of these collections are scheduled to be fully available on the NAI site by the middle of 2013.

Before the end of that year, they should have been joined by the 1821,1831,1841 and 1851 census fragments, and the 'census search forms' (useful for 1841 and 1851 census data).

Next on the list of collections destined for the NAI site are:
  • Diocesan Courts: indexes to wills, administrations and marriage licence bonds pre-1858
  • Prerogative Court: indexes to wills, administrations and marriage licence bonds pre-1858.
All of the above will be available with free access. The NAI also has a list of record classes that will be made available free after a period of 'commercial exploitation'. This means that digitisation will be carried out by a commercial firm who will then have the right to charge for access to the records on a non-NAI website for a period of five years before the collection 'returns' to a free-to-access NAI database. Three large and very successful releases have already been carried out under this arrangement: the Encumbered Estates Court/Landed Estates Court rentals 1848-1888, Petty Sessions Courts Order Books 1850-1922 and Prison Registers 1790-1922, all of which are available on the subscription site FindMyPast Ireland. Seven collections remain in the NAI's 'commercial exploitation' list:
  • Catholic qualification rolls, late-17th century
  • National Schools: roll books and registers, mid-19th century to 1900
  • Poor Law Unions (North Dublin, South Dublin, Rathdown and Balrothery): Boards of Guardians minute books and registers of admission and discharge, mid-19th century to 1900
  • Bethan, Thrift, Groves and Crossle testamentary and genealogical abstracts, refering to wills etc c1500-1850
  • Will books: containing official copies of wills, District Registries 1858-1900
  • Inland Revenue: registers of Irish wills and administrations 1828-39
  • Shipping agreements and crew lists, 1863-1921.

When we may see any of these collections online remains to be seen. It depends on the business programmes of third parties, but it's interesting to know which record sets we might be seeing in the not too distant future.

Anyone who doesn't feel a tingle of joy reading of these developments is just not serious about their Irish genealogy research!