Tuesday 9 October 2018

Dublin Port Archive launched online and free

The Dublin Port Company has launched a dedicated online repository containing employee registers, photographs, drawings, maps and charts, and videos at DublinPortArchive.com.

With records dating back to 1707, the physical archive is still being catalogued so the website, which is free to search and view and already holds items that anyone with family connections to the port will enjoy exploring, is a work-in-progress.

The Name Book - Click for larger view
Probably of most immediate interest to family historians is the Name Book. This covers the period from 1906 to 1914 and lists every manual worker employed by the Dublin Port and Docks Board. (Note: this book doesn't include Dockers; they were employed by stevedoring companies, not by the Board.) It contains information on the dates employees started and finished work with Dublin Port, their occupation and any noteworthy events or occupation changes that occurred during their time of employment at the Port. For example, you'll see 'Striker' written in red ink against some of the names.

An introduction to the Name Book says that a pdf of an image from the register page can be downloaded for each search result. I haven't found this to be the case; clicking on 'View' seems to be futile, and although I've tried to contact the Archive since yesterday's launch, I haven't been able to speak to anyone about the problem.

However, I've found that it's possible to browse images of the register pages via the Gallery section of the site instead. As names are recorded in a 'soft' alphabetical order, it doesn't take long to locate the entries you've found in the name search.

The Gallery also holds general research material, including videos, and maps. I particularly enjoyed the Nicknames video, where ex-employees were filmed laughing and jokeing as they recalled some of the nicknames – some kind, some not so kind – conferred on most of their fellow workers at the port. A collection of historical maps dating back to the early 18th century features the Dublin coast from Dun Laoghaire to Skerries and along the river course and into its estuary, while the 1926 Yearbook provides a detailed history of the dock, the development of its many quays, its chief exporters (think Guinness and Jacob's Biscuits) and shipping lines, and the distance to destination ports around the world. It's full of photos and drawings.

(Thanks to eagle-eyed genealogist Claire Bradley for spotting news of the release.)