Wednesday 9 September 2015

Millions of records disappear from

Someone pass the smelling salts, please.

An all name search for marriages 1845 to 1875 returns just 829 entries
Shurley sum misteak?
With absolutely no explanation evident anywhere on, the civil records of nearly all marriages registered on the island of Ireland between 1845 to at least 1875 have disappeared. In fact, according to this state-managed site, there were just 825 happy unions in those three decades. Obviously, this is nonsense.

What is more, all but 3075 pre-1900 deaths have been wiped away.

What's going on? I can't be certain because there is no polite message to tell me, but this is what I found:

I looked at marriages first and checked my Santry One-Name Study database to find 31 Santry marriages, all, bar one, in Southwest Cork, from 1864 to 1886. According to, there were just three Santry marriages in that period – one in 1876 and two in 1886. My gt grandparents' marriage in 1877 in Rosscarberry is not among them.

At first I wondered if the problem was geographical, but it isn't. My gt gt grandparents' 1863 marriage at Wicklow Town register office is another on the missing list. So is the 1878 marriage of my Tierney gt gts in Clogheen, Co Tipperary.

From what I can see, the site has extended its reach of 'couple' entries, that is, records that show both bride and groom's names together as one indexed entry. When I last looked at this database a week or so ago, the names of bride and groom were indexed separately for pre-1903 marriages, and cross matching of reference numbers was necessary to be sure you had the correct marriage. Only marriages from around 1903 to 1938 were recorded as one entity.

My recce last night found ALL the marriages appearing in the database after its unannounced 'upgrade' are in this single-entity/'couple' format, which is a preferred presentation for researchers, but of little added-value in a collection now rendered so incomplete. Having more records on the site in the improved format should be good news, but they don't make up for the nearly one million marriage records that have been removed*. As it stands, this database has been rendered useless, completely useless.

And then I looked at the death index database. As mentioned above, just over 3,000 death records from 1864 to 1899 are included, plus 1.76m from 1900 to 1963.  I've no idea why the early records should have disappeared because their format has not changed, as far as I can see.

So there we have it: a mess.

I daren't look at the Births Index.

*FamilySearch's civil registration index holds records of 1.823million brides and grooms from 1845 to 1889, equating to more than 910,000 marriages. It's death index count for 1864 to 1899 is 3.8million.

UPDATE 10 September: The records have been restored to their earlier state.