Wednesday 21 September 2011

Ancestry launches twin Family Search records

Subscription and pay-as-you-go site has today added the following databases to it's Irish Collection:

  • Civil Registration Births, Marriages and Deaths Indexes 1864-1858 (it's incorrectly billed as 1864-1978).
  • Roman Catholic birth registers 1742-1881
  • Roman Catholic marriages and banns 1742-1884
  • Roman Catholic deaths 1756-1881
  • Marriages 1771-1812, as published in Walker's Hibernian magazine.
  • Ireland births and baptism 1620-1911.
Eagle-eyed researchers will recognise that this pretty much mirrors what is available – free – on FamilySearch. On the plus side – and it's quite a big plus if you've been having difficulty locating a specific marriage – Ancestry's search allows you to see the names of up to four couples who appear on any one page of the original marriage register. For example, if you were looking for Great Aunt Nellie Doyle's marriage to that fly-by-night Tom Daly, you'll know you've hit on the right entry when his name and hers appear together (plus those of up to six others), on the search return. (Thanks to Chris Paton of Scottish Genes fame for pointing out this significant improvement.)

On the negative – the database descriptions provided by Ancestry are not very helpful. For example, there is no explanation that the civil registration indexes for Antrim, Armagh, Derry, Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone end at 1921. Nor is the limited coverage of the RC records described.

All in all, Ancestry's search system makes a welcome change to the lumpy Family Search one, so I'm pleased to see the launch of this alternative. Take a free trial to give it a go.