Friday 25 May 2012

Coming soon: IGRS Index of Early Irish Marriages

As promised in Tuesday's speedy 'trio of announcements' report of last weekend's IGRS Open Day in Dublin, here's a bit more detail about the Early Irish Marriages lecture, presented by Roz McCutcheon.

Roz started her talk by outlining the reasons for the paucity of church records in Ireland and defining what genealogists should consider an adequate record of marriage.

The latter, she concluded, should include the maiden name of the bride and also narrow down the date of the ceremony to the nearest year or two, possibly using a combination of sources.

She then suggested a variety of substitute sources for finding these details in records dating from the 1600s to the start of civil registration.

In brief, these include:

Schulze Marriages, from the German Lutheran Church in Dublin (don't be put off... few German Lutherans are included!) covering 1807 to 1837 can be searched at the GRO research room or on LDS microfilm 101771.

Charlton Trust Fund Marriages: Applications for grants for marriages of Protestant couples between 1795 and 1862. Held by the National Archives of Ireland.

Newspapers: In addition to the more obvious online newspaper archives, vast holdings are available at the National Library of Ireland, at the British Newspaper Library and at the IGRS Library in London.

Legal Documents: Wills, marriage licence bonds, Chancery & Exchequer Bills etc. Roz recommended John Grenham's Tracing Your Irish Ancestors as an excellent source of the whereabouts of these types of documents. Three volumes of Wills can also be read online from the Registry of Deeds.

Census Records
: A useful guide.

Pension Claims
: Thousands of names from the lost Irish censuses of 1841 and 1851 can be searched at The collection is expecially rich for Ulster and the cost is modest. Records can also be found on microfilm at the National Archives of Ireland.

Military Records: India Office records are useful sources, and the online catalogue for the UK National Archives should also be searched before a visit to Kew.

Registry of Deeds: A growing database, started and still run by IGRS Council Member Nick Reddan in Australia with the help of many volunteers, has recorded 90,000 names from the Memorial Books. It is free to access here.

Roz explained that she started collecting names from these kinds of sources about 25 years ago. While she didn't start out with the intention of creating a unique resource of many thousands of names, that is what has resulted.

Her Early Irish Marriages Index, complete with exact sources for each and every entry, will be going online on the IGRS website when it is relaunched at in late summer.

It will be free to use, by both members and non-members of the Irish Genealogical Research Society, and Roz will be inviting contributions from volunteers.

I'll bring further details of this outstanding new resource, and how to contribute to it, once the Index is live.