Thursday 13 June 2024

Irish Railway Employment Records make online debut on Ancestry

If you have ancestors who worked for the Irish railways (or even a tram or bus company), your genealogy research may be about to get a little easier thanks to a partnership between the Irish Railway Records Society (IRRS) and Ancestry.

Some 306,000 personnel records, previously held in the IRRS HQ just behind Dublin's Heuston Station, have been digitised and indexed, making a search of the once un-catalogued archive of registers a breeze.

The collection is called the Ireland Railway Employment Records, 1870-1940.

The records have been indexed in several fields. You can search by your ancestor's names, the stations or depots where he or she worked or was based, or by occupation (stationmaster, telephonist, clerk, driver, porter, bus driver etc) or by employment start and end dates, or a mixture of these. Note that the records are not exclusively from the railway companies; a small proportion include personnel working on the tramways and bus network.

Not all of the original registers survive or are held in the IRRS archive. The transport companies who feature in the collection are:

  • Cavan, Leitrim and Roscommon Light Railway
  • Corus Iompair Eireann
  • Cork, Blackrock & Passage Railway
  • County Donegal Railways Joint Committee
  • Dublin & South Eastern Railway
  • Dublin United Tramways Companies
  • Great Northern Railway (Ireland)
  • Great Southern & Western Railways
  • Great Southern Great Southern Railways & Cora Iompair Eireann
  • Irish Omnibus Company
  • Midland Great Western Railway
  • Midland Great Western Railway and Cavan and Leitrim Railway
  • Waterford & Limerick Railway

Be sure to read through the description of this collection before you start searching.

As of now, this collection has not appeared in Ancestry's catalogue. During the afternoon, I've been merrily playing with the records, downloading images and checking up on my maternal grandad's colleagues when he was working as a Relief Officer in the 1930s. I've noticed a few search result links have returned 404 messages, so it may be that some of the records are still bedding down or something....  I dare say it'll quickly settle down.

In addition to this now digitised resource, the IRRS holds manuscripts, photographs, films, drawings, maps and memorabilia of Irish railways and the public are welcome to contact the society to learn more.

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