Monday, February 2, 2015

Parish Records at the National Library of Ireland

Ah, another quick trip to Dublin to consult the Roman Catholic Parish Registers......

Currently the only place these records can be viewed are at the National Library of Ireland in Dublin. This is all due to change in the Summer of 2015, when Ireland will enter the digital age and put these up online for the public to consult at their leisure!  What a day that will be! I will hold my breath until that actually happens, knowing that things move SLOWLY in the genealogy world of Irish records.  And there won't be an index, so even online you will have to slog through the records (albeit at your leisure).

I have looked at these records on several trips to Dublin, but always in short bursts, since the Library's opening hours are limited, and one's vision can only take so much of peering at bad handwriting and faded, torn and stained pages.

The first few times I looked at the registers I was only looking for specific names in specific villages.  I took down those in a spreadsheet and have consulted that initial file countless times, but as my research has progressed I've found new names and new villages that are connected, so it's been back to Dublin, once again.

This trip I was concentrating on the surnames: Nee, Conroy, Cannavin/Cannavan, with the assorted Toole, Conneely, and Walsh's I missed the first time around.  I was looking exclusively at the Rosmuc Parish Register, which only has baptisms (no marriages or burials) from 1840-1880.

The early 1840's have plenty of births, and then there is a pronounced decrease as the Famine occurs. By late 1850's into early 1860's the baptisms pick up again as would be expected.  The shear number of names and villages can be overwhelming, but the most amazing thing is that the Mother's maiden name is listed, so that you can get a "defacto" marriage record from the baptisms. The sponsor names also give you other possible family members (brothers, sisters, parents, etc).

Most of the names are incredibly common:  Mary, Bridget, Patrick, Michael, etc.  There are the occasional wild cards, some Irish names like Thadg (Thady) and Saints names like Colman/Coleman occur.  Then there are the varieties of names:  Honor, Honoria, Nora;  Penelope, Penny, Nuala; John, Sean; Bridget, Bridie, Biddy, Delia, etc.

A mystery I've been trying to solve is where my Great Great Grandmother, Mary Nee comes from.  She marries Patrick Walsh of the small village of Muckanaghkillew, but I suspect she may be from the Rosmuc area, as there are Nee's there.  In looking at her children's baptismal sponsors I'm trying to establish that connection.   It's still to be determined whether this will help.....

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