Tuesday 1 May 2018

Strokestown Church of Ireland vestry book transcribed (registers to follow)

The RCB Library's Archive of the Month for May is a presentation on the vestry minute book of the Parish of Bumlin, which covers Strokestown and two smaller related civil parishes: Kiltrustan and Lissonuffy.

It has been transcribed by local historian and Roscommon native, Alan Moran, who worked through the entire minute book for the period 1811 to 1870. His transcription is now available in full as part of the online archive presentation.

The value of Church of Ireland vestry minute books as a resource for social, economic, religious, and legal history at local parish level is clearly demonstrated in this transcription. Of particular interest to genealogists will be the details supplied in a list of donations made into a local charity's funds in the years 1833 to 1837; the vestry book gives the names and circumstances of the persons assisted – widows, sick, lame, blind, orphans, foundlings – providing a poignant glimpse of the rural poor shortly prior to the Famine.

Speaking of his work, Alan Moran says: “I did not know what to expect when I first looked into the Strokestown vestry book, but was immediately taken by the interest and variety of its contents, and its reflection of local and national circumstances in the decades before the Famine. There was a lot of data on the parish accounts, occupation of land, and relief of the poor, which could be useful to researchers, so I decided to undertake a full transcription to make that data more accessible, as well as to get a better understanding of the functions of the vestry myself.”

Family historians with connections to County Roscommon will also be interested to learn that Alan Moran carried out his work on the vestry minute book at the Library while preparing a transcription of the Strokestown (Bumlin) Church of Ireland parish registers. These registers (births, marriages and burials) all date from 1811. Alan's transcription will be released in a forthcoming RCBL Archive of the Month.

Download a listing by county of all vestry records available in the RCB Library.