Friday 7 October 2022

PRAI's new guide demystifies the Registry of Deeds collection

Earlier this week, the Property Registration Authority of Ireland hosted an event to launch a new publication that aims to demystify the Registry of Deeds (RoD) and its priceless archive in Dublin. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend, but a recording of the talk by Dr Patrick Walsh, the author of the new publication, will be made available in due course.

The publication itself – Introduction to the Memorials and Transcription Books in the Registry of Deeds – is, however, now online and can be freely downloaded as a pdf from the website (click the image below, right).

The Introduction contextualises Registry of Deeds records by outlining the purpose and prevailing land legislation in eighteenth century and the processes for registering a deed in Ireland.

It also identifies the variety of purposes for which a deed would be drawn up – 'all involved the temporary or permanent transfer of property and associated rights' – and points out that financial debts not involving property or the sale of moveable chattels were not registered in the Registry.

The guide also notes the key features of each type of deed: those which transferred freehold property; those which transferred leasehold property; those which allowed lending on property (mortgages); those which allowed charges to be imposed on property (annuities, rent charges, etc); and Settlements & Trusts.

It includes a Glossary of the key terms, used as well as a 'Matrix' to help identify the key phrases in certain types of deed and to explain the terminology used to reflect the period of time a transaction would last.

This is a straightforward reference guide to the registry and I'm sure it will help many researchers feel less daunted about using this huge resource and exploiting its well of genealogical material. In turn, it may also give confidence to more genealogists to contribute to the volunteer-led Registry of Deeds Index Project.