Saturday, 5 July 2014

Lobbyists respond to launch of online bmd index

Representatives of the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations (CIGO) were at Thursday evening's launch of the new online index to Ireland's civil registration records (see my last two blogposts) and were understandably delighted by the newly-released online bmd indexes.

Since it was established in 1992, CIGO has been one of the lead groups campaigning for free public access to a computerised version of the General Register Office's indexes. This was one of the primary aims of the group, which represents most Irish family history societies in the Republic and North of Ireland, in Britain, the USA, Canada and Australia, as well as several other genealogical and heritage organisations.

As their press release says, the launch on "vindicates CIGO's long years of lobbying the Department of Health (which originally had oversight of the General Register Office) and the Department of Social Welfare (which assumed responsibility at the time of the passing of the Civil Registration Act 2004)... All-in-all, Thursday 3 July was a good day for CIGO: one more of the issues it has long lobbied for having been delivered and another one [the online registers] promised."

CIGO does, however, highlight a peculiarity of the new database in failing to record more than one 'christian' name in cases where the original hardback indexes recorded two or more names. "This is a big drawback where a researcher is trying to identify one possible record from among many with the same name (Mary Murphy for instance)."