Thursday 18 April 2019

IGRS adds 13,300 records to its Early Irish BMD Indexes

The Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) has added a further tranche of records to its exclusive Early Irish Birth, Marriage & Death Indexes. These indexes refer to records gleaned from lessor known or underused sources, all of them pre-dating Ireland's civil registration system, and most parish registers.

This update adds a further 8,325 birth and 5,000 marriage records, bringing the total number of names in these indexes to 70,000 births and 213,000 marriages.
Established in 1936
Included among the newly-added marriages are 1,000 events drawn from the Registry of Deeds, which brings the total number of marriages in the index drawn from there to 10,000.

While many of these are formal pre-marriage settlements for wealthy people, there are examples of others for quite ordinary folk, including one dowry amounting to as little as £30. This was for the union of Thomas Shee, a farmer, and his bride Ellis Lanigan, a farmer's daughter. Both bride and groom were from Co Kilkenny and they married in 1772.

Other additions to the marriages are 4,000 references drawn from the Killaloe Marriage Licence Index. The index, which covers licences issued during the years 1719-1845, is all that survives. Originally, it was the finding aid to the more detailed marriage licence bonds, but these were destroyed in the Public Record Office fire in 1922.

The diocese of Killaloe comprises approximately 85 Church of Ireland parishes from across the counties of Clare, Galway, Laois (Queens), Limerick, Offaly (Kings), and Tipperary. Given that the penal laws placed heavy strictures upon the Catholic population, it's worth remembering that a proportion of the marriages were actually those contracted between Catholics, but who were protecting their interests by being married according to the rites of the Church of Ireland, the established, Protestant state church at that time.

The 8,325 births newly-added to the database are all drawn from the Carrick-on-Suir Census of 1799. Carrick is a town and parish which straddles the boundary between counties Tipperary and Waterford. Although references to births are easy to extrapolate from the Carrick census, this is not the case for marriages because while addresses and ages are given clearly, family relationships are not spelled out. Given this, marriages have not been extracted.

However, they are indicated within the records. Take, for instance, the Crowley family living in River Lane West: John (aged 35), Margaret (aged 38) and their three children, Catherine, Jillen and Bridget. Living with them are a widow and a single woman, both described as relations: Jillen Driscoll (aged 62), and Catherine Driscoll (aged 40). It is reasonable to suppose, subject to verification, that Mrs Margaret Crowley, aged 38, was a daughter of Jillen Driscoll, and that Catherine Driscoll was her sister. Also, this would indicate that John Crowley married Miss Margaret Driscoll sometime before 1790, prior to the birth of their eldest child noted in the census, being Catherine, aged 9.

You can search the databases here:

Marriage Index – Free to IGRS members, and non-members

Birth Index - Free to IGRS members. Free Name search only for non-members

Death Index - Free to IGRS members. Free Name search only for non-members

Across the three databases, there are now 320,000 names.