Sunday 2 April 2017

Church of Ireland to digitise its Gazette from 1856

The Representative Church Body (RCB) Library has announced that funding has been committed from the Church of Ireland for the digitisation of further editions of The Church of Ireland Gazette.

Appeals for aid for crises in Serbia, and Syria and
Palestine, as published on the front cover and inside
the Church of Ireland Gazette, 13 April 1917
Accompanying this news came the release of all editions of The Gazette from 1900 to 1911, so there is now a complete run of free-to-view editions from 1900 to 1923, here.

The additional funding will enable the digitisation of all content published in The Gazette since its earliest editions in 1856 to the 1920s. The project will be managed by the RCB Library in collaboration with the Editor and Board of The Church of Ireland Gazette, and will see all these extra editions made available over the next two and a half years, in the build-up to 2019, when the Church of Ireland will mark the 150th anniversary of its dis-establishment as the island's state church.

Genealogists don't need to have Church of Ireland ancestors to find The Gazette valuable to their research. As well as exploring the major national and international issues of the day, the paper also carried localised church and social news, which would have been of relevance to all local communities whatever their beliefs.

April’s RCB Library's Archive of the Month – which is the work of Library Administrator Robert Gallagher – focuses on some of the stories making the headlines 100 years ago in April 1917. In that month, four editions of the weekly newspaper appeared, and the content of much of them was dedicated to the continuing coverage of the First World War. Writing under the initials of ‘W. B. W’, Ware Bradley Wells, the newspaper’s Editor continued his weekly column entitled ‘The War Week by Week’.

The advertisement content of The Gazette continues to provide particularly rich insight to the stories of the day. In 1917, adverts placed were heavily influenced by the war, with numerous appeals for aid and relief. Most appealed for donations for soldiers. The only exception was the cover of the 13 April edition, which featured an appeal from the Serbian relief fund (see above).

The issues of The Gazette for April 1917, as with other content, provide unique insights not only into the Church of Ireland and its perspective on the world in 1917, but the burning issues of the time.