Tuesday 27 March 2018

IGRS adds 11,000 entries to its Early Irish BMD Indexes

The Irish Genealogical Research Society has updated its Early Irish Birth, Marriage and Death Indexes with the addition of 11,000 new entries. The update includes some 7,500 death entries from newspaper published between 1740 and 1810.

The combined number of entries in the three databases now tots up to an impressive 278,334.

The new death entry data is drawn from a wide number of Irish newspapers, but particularly from Walkers Hibernian & Gentleman's Magazine, Pue's Occurrences, the Leinster Journal, Faulkner’s Dublin Journal and the Hibernian Chronicle. Despite the too often generally held view that early newspapers do not note details about "ordinary" people, this update proves to the contrary. It is full of references to farmers, publicans, innkeepers, butchers, bakers, printers, brewers, apothecaries, tailors, seed merchants, drapers, painters, grocers, sailmakers, clerks, confectioners, cutlers, saddlers, haberdashers and tallow chandlers, to name but a few. And they come from all parts of the island of Ireland.

For instance, in Faulkner’s Dublin Journal in November 1761 we learn of the death of Mrs Esther Hodgson from George’s Quay in Dublin; she was the wife of a measurer. In the same newspaper in March 1764 the death of Mrs Lysaght is reported. The notice records that she was the widow of Charles Lysaght, of Craigmore, Co. Clare and her maiden surname was Hogan. In Pue’s Occurrences in March 1756 the demise of Mrs Hutchinson is noted; from Dublin's Fleet Street, she was reportedly aged 110 years.

One particularly tragic entry from Walker's in September 1807 relates the sad tale of the drowning of an English couple in Dublin. The news item reads: "Mr and Mrs Greaves, the unfortunate couple whose bodies were found drowned in the dock near Ringsend-bridge, on Friday morning, were natives of England; they had been brought to Ireland by Messrs. Lindsay, of Parliament-street, and by them employed in making artificial flowers, which they had brought to great perfection and elegance....they had been in Dublin, and were returning to their lodgings at Irishtown, but in the extreme darkness of the night they missed their way and fell into the water, where they were found next morning locked in each other's arms; they were persons of great worthiness and industry."

For genealogists, the importance of these news reports is that they are very likely the only record now existing of each person’s death. Civil registration of deaths didn't begin in Ireland until 1864 and before then the majority of parishes maintained no form of death or burial register.

Roz McCutcheon FIGRS, the Early Irish Indexes' project leader, says that she and her dedicated team of indexers intend to add much more such data drawn from Irish newspapers over the coming months and years.

The IGRS Early Irish BMD Indexes can be searched as follows:

Marriage Index – Free to all
Birth Index – Name search only for non-members
Death Index – Name search only for non-members