Added on 07/07/2014
July’s Archive of the Month from the RCB Library is a gift to the genealogical community and follows months of painstaking work to amend, cross–check and update the list of original parish registers (baptisms, marriages and burials) together with surviving copies of same in Church of Ireland parishes the length and breadth of Ireland. It represents an important collaboration between the RCB Library and National Archives of Ireland (NAI).
A master list of registers was originally compiled in–house for the Public Record Office of Ireland (PROI) – now NAI – by Miss Margaret Griffith (1911–2001) (subsequently Deputy Keeper of the PROI) during the 1950s. She based her list on inventories returned by the parochial officers about the year 1875/6, which were later corrected in the light of subsequent events and information, most especially the tragic destruction of the PROI during the Civil War in 1922 which resulted in the loss of over 500 collections.
The list was amended and updated several times within NAI, especially since the National Archives Act of 1986 stipulated that the RCB Library (the main repository for the Church’s written heritage) could be the place of deposit for Church of Ireland parish registers which came under the control of the National Archives. This master list has been in use in hardcopy format by archivists and researchers alike on a daily basis in the National Archives, the RCB Library and other national record repositories. However, it has become unwieldy in recent years with so many amendments having been made to it – particularly in the light of the extensive transfer of many parish record collections to the RCB Library.
Additionally, it was proving to be confusing for researchers because rather than use parish names, many inner–city churches in Dublin and the other major cities were grouped together under the name of the saint to whom they were dedicated (e.g. St Anne; St George, St Peter etc.). In an extensive project all of the data in the original list has now been reviewed by Dr Susan Hood of the RCB Library who has overseen its evolution as a digital record, and one that is purely alphabetical arranged by parish name (with additionally parishes within the main cities alphabetically listed under the name of each city). Furthermore, the list has been colour–coded as far as records in the Republic of Ireland are concerned for the first time – making it easier to see at a glance what has been transferred to the RCB Library; the small number of collections available in NAI; what was destroyed; and finally what collections continue to be held in local custody.
The online list which goes live on 01 July 2014 may now be considered to be definitive as far as registers in ROI are concerned, while the RCB Library will continue to work with PRONI in Belfast to account for materials available in microfilm and in original format available through that repository for parishes in the nine counties comprising Ulster. The electronic list will now be maintained, amended and updated on a regular basis by the RCB Library and permanently available on the Church of Ireland website where it is expected to be extensively consulted by those pursuing ancestral research.
For further information please contact:
Dr Susan Hood