Friday 2 September 2011

Seamen, Huguenots and Kerrymen – new releases

1. A new site from Kerry Local Authorities – – launched last month and news of its arrival seems to have got lost in the holiday rush. It holds a database of some 70,000 burial records from 140 cemeteries. All the cemeteries are controlled or owned by Kerry County Council – no church or privately owned cemeteries are included. The oldest entry is from 1898.
In total, 168 burial registers have been scanned and indexed. Researchers can search for by name in a specific cemetery or they can opt to browse through the entire register of a specific cemetery.

Entries contain the name, age and occupation of the deceased, together with marital status and cause of death.

Unfortunately, it isn't possible to search by name across the entire database, only cemetery by cemetery. This is fine if the researcher knows where his ancestors are likely to have been buried, but rather laborious if you don't. Even so, this is an excellent additional resource for genealogists with Kerry links, and there are plans to add to it in the future.

2. If you've got Huguenot heritage you'll be interested in FindMyPast Ireland's latest addition: The Registers of the French Non-Conformist Churches in Dublin from 1701 to 1831.

The Huguenots were French protestants who settled in Ireland after their eviction from France in the late 17th century. This is one of the few Huguenot parish registers for Ireland. It contains 1500 names and covers Baptisms (1701-1731), Marriages (1702-1731), Deaths (1702-1731) and Burials (1771-1831).

3. Hot off the press today, and third in this merry trio of new releases, is a collection of Merchant Navy records from the UK version of FindMyPast. The records are index cards which the Registrar General of Shipping and Seaman used between the two world wars (1918 to 1941) to produce a centralised index of merchant seamen serving on British merchant navy vessels.

To be honest, I wasn't overly excited when I received the announcement today, but on further examination I'd urge anyone with Irish heritage to take a look.

Much to my surprise, 26 of my ancestors were lurking in the collection. Admittedly, my maternal ancestors all seem to have had webbed feet, so I wasn't exactly shocked when their names showed up in the search results, but there were also a few paternal ancestors in the records who I'd always thought were committed landlubbers and had probably never left Cork.

This new resource (it's never been online before) is an interesting specialist collection in its own right, but it carries an added bonus: a good proportion of the records containing photos of the seamen in their working attire. Definitely worth taking a look.