Wednesday, 7 September 2016

Ireland's historical registers of births, marriages and deaths are now online
The General Register Office of Ireland's historical civil registers of birth, marriage and death have been uploaded to the free state-run

As anticipated, they follow the 100-75-50 years access rule and they are free. If the index entry gives you the option of an image, you download a pdf of the full register page in which that birth, marriage or death certificate appears.

While this seems to be working fine for all indexed entries that had been assigned the GRO's Group Registration ID (GRID), I'm not getting access to any images for those without a GRID. As far as I can see from my early kick-around, all the births from 1864 have a GRID, so this collection should be complete with images. However, marriages before 1886 do not seem to have GRIDs so are not accompanied by an image, and the same goes for deaths from about 1880.

Whether these will appear later, I don't know. Hopefully the site's Help pages will be updated without too much delay so that we can be sure what we've got.

I'll update this page as things clarify. In the meantime, have fun and try not to break it.

UPDATE 1:45pm: Didn't I say to play nicely?! The site 'broke' about 15 minutes ago. Since it has reverted to yesterday's site, I'm going to keep positive and believe it is not really broken. Probably this morning was just a trial run. Keep your fingers crossed for its quick return either later today or tomorrow, in time for the evening launch.

UPDATE 2:05pm: Okay, the new site is back again but throwing up as many Internal Error notices as records. Such fluctations usually suggests a capacity problem so don't be surprised if you find it bouncing around for the best part of the day+. If I become aware of any other problems I'll flag them here.

UPDATE 7:30pm:
I've just spent a happy hour of research on the IrishGenealogy site, and it seems to be working just fine. There are, however, 'gaps' in the availability of images, as mentioned above, plus a few records that 'should', by time frame, have an image attached, but don't. I've also received emails from researchers who have found indexed entries that link to the wrong images. There seem to be more instances of this than I'd have expected. I've even found my own example: Bessie Santry, born 1896 in Kinsale; she doesn't appear on the linked page of the register.

I've emailed some questions regarding the issues raised today. I'll let you know the response in due course.

UPDATE: 8 September, 11:45am: I've heard back from the Department of Arts, Heritage, Regional, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs who manage the site. The website now holds 12.5million Index records linked to 2.5million images from the historic registers of Births, Marriages and Deaths. Images are available as follows:
  • Births: 1864 to 1915
  • Marriages: 1882 to 1940
  • Deaths: 1891 to 1965
Apparently, the images of the pre-1882 registers of Marriage and pre-1891 registers of Deaths are being updated by the General Register Office and will be added to the website in due course. I have also been advised that the website may fluctuate a bit today while some last-minute checks are run before this evening's official launch.

UPDATE 3:30pm: Two new pages have appeared in the Civil Records Help section of the site. They both relate to the redaction of records. Those over the age of 100 years old who don't want an image of their birth certificate to be available online are provided with instructions for applying for its redaction. Same goes for those who've been married for more than 75 years who don't want their marriage certificate to appear online. There's also a note about cancelled entries.

UPDATE 5:20pm: Official launch press release from the DAHG and DSP here.

UPDATE: 9 September, 12:30pm:
The site has been offline for over an hour. So, too, the National Archives of Ireland's Genealogy website (or, at least, its databases). Not sure what the problem is, but I'll advise when they're up and running again.

UPDATE: 3:30pm:
And the site is back online. (So is the NAI's website.)