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November Archive of the Month – the Anglican Record Project

Family historians with ancestry in the parish of Delgany and its vicinity in north Wicklow will be particularly excited by the launch of a new web link via the Church of Ireland website, where transcripts of the parish registers of baptism, marriage and burial from 1666 to 1900, together with an index of names, have been uploaded.

In an earlier national project that began in 2009, the RCB Library engaged positively and proactively with the Department of Arts, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht in the first stage of digitizing parish registers for the www.irishgenealogy.ie website, a state website ‘dedicated to assisting people worldwide to search for records of family history’. Both Roman Catholic and Church of Ireland church records have been digitized and are freely searchable for certain parts of the island. This has proved enormously beneficial to people starting out on their ancestral track, and also for the good of the records covered, because it reduces the wear and tear of original materials. The project was launched in 2010 in St Werburgh’s Church, Dublin.

To date, as far as Church of Ireland registers are concerned, all the city parishes in Dublin, as well as the counties of Carlow and Kerry registers lodged in the RCB Library have now been digitized and are searchable online. As custodians on behalf of the state of Church of Ireland registers, the Library’s experience of the website has been very positive. Families who had previously searched unsuccessfully for years because they didn’t know of a parish origin, have suddenly found their elusive ancestors by being able simply to keying in a name and at the press of a button finding them amongst those registers digitized to date.

A continuation of the digitization project to cover more of the extensive and collection of parish registers available in the RCB would be highly beneficial to researchers worldwide and contribute substantially to the conservation of the original records. Until then, researchers looking for Church of Ireland ancestors must know of their parish of origin before coming to the Library to view the collections here, or visiting local churches, in cases where registers remain in local custody.

In the interim, registers published with an index by the RCB and others, as well as locally–produced transcripts and indexes of registers are of enormous value. In recognition of this contribution, the RCB Library has collaborated with Mark Williams, a regular Library visitor, who has worked heroically for almost two decades transcribing parish registers. Part of this work has resulted in the availability of these transcripts of the parish registers for Delgany featured as November’s Archive of the Month. Here for the first time, the project is introduced to a worldwide audience, along with the searchable pdfs of the Delgany registers. Further transcripts from the Anglican Record Project will follow in coming months.

From the RCB Library, Dr Susan Hood who co–ordinates the Archive of the Month initiative said “we are delighted to collaborate with Mark Williams to showcase his painstaking transcription work, and to further promote the invaluable genealogical information to be obtained from Church of Ireland registers. Beginning with the Delgany collection, we will continue with others covered by Mark’s Anglican Record Project in coming months”.

In response to the question “why do you do it?”, Mark Williams gives “four fundamental reasons: it makes the genealogical data more widely available; it also makes it more easily accessible; it protects the original registers from excessive handling and it preserves the information should the registers be damaged or destroyed”. He adds that “a motivational clue is further to be found in the last verse of Psalm 100 ‘Jubilate Deo’….”.

To view the Anglican Record Project and gain access to the Delgany register transcripts see: www.ireland.anglican.org/library/archive


For further information about the collections of parish registers in the RCB Library please contact:

Dr Susan Hood
RCB Library
Braemor Park
Dublin 14
Tel: 01–4923979
Fax: 01–4924770
E–mail: susan.hood@rcbdub.org

For information about Anglican Record Project please contact:

Mr Mark Williams
Email: williamsfamilycrookham@btinternet.com

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