Tuesday 17 March 2015

Land, testamentary & CSORP records from NAI 'soon'

Here's some good news, delivered specially for St Patrick's Day, from the National Archives of Ireland (NAI).

You know those Griffith's Valuation Field, House & Quarto books and Testamentary records (see below) we've been waiting on for rather a long time... well, they're ready-and-waiting for upload to the NAI's free Genealogy website. All the problems I mentioned some time back with the GV books have been resolved.

Unfortunately, it's the 'waiting' part of ready-and-waiting where there is still a problem.

The NAI has been without an IT manager since June last year and cannot modify, remove or add records to its Genealogy website until a replacement is appointed. This is obviously very frustrating, not only to us family historians who are keen to get stuck into some absolutely fresh records but also to FindMyPast.ie who have to wait for simultaneous upload before they can launch them on their database (also free of charge).

Catriona Crowe, Head of Special Projects at the NAI, told Irish Genealogy News that it's been frustrating for the NAI, too. "We haven't wanted to be this tardy getting the records released. We rely very heavily on the website to get our material out there for people to enjoy and explore. But without an IT manager, we can't add material to the site.

"We will, however, be holding interviews for an IT manager next week and we hope to have someone in place in early April. The website can then be updated and the material released."

So, this is what we can expect in the near future:
  • GV Field Books: information about the size and quality of the soil of an individual land holding
  • GV House Books: these recorded the occupier's name so, to genealogists, they are the most worthy of study of the Valuation Books. They also record details of living conditions, not just in terms of space but also the materials used for walls and roofs, and of outbuildings. Some even include sketches of the property, barns and outbuildings
  • GV Quarto Books: While the other books deal with rural settings, the Quarto books cover small and medium-sized towns.
  • Diocesan Courts: indexes to wills, administrations and marriage licence bonds pre-1858
  • Prerogative Courts: indexes to wills, administrations and marriage licence bonds pre-1858.
I also asked Catriona about cataloguing progress on the Registered Papers of the Chief Secretary's Office (CSORP) collection. This particular collection has its own website - www.csorp.nationalarchives.ie - and contains details of all kinds of fascinating material from the early 19th century, but work on the cataloguing project came to a grinding halt more than a year ago due to the departure of the dedicated conservator.

At that point, five years' worth of papers had been catalogued: 1818, 1819, 1820, 1821 and 1822.

There's good news here, too. Two people have been working on the project since September 2014 and will soon complete another seven-year tranche of catalogued items. This 1823–1829 material will make its way online in a couple of months, after the GV and testamentary records.

We've plenty to be happy about today!