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Archive of the Month June 2014 – Registers for Taughboyne parishes, County Donegal, transcribed and online to 1900

The churches of Taughboyne group, diocese of Raphoe
The churches of Taughboyne group, diocese of Raphoe

The churches of Taughboyne group, diocese of Raphoe

Continuing its commitment to make available transcripts of parish registers online, the Representative Church Body Library’s Archive of the Month for June heads to the Laggan Valley in north east Donegal and specifically the group of parishes known as Taughboyne, where the rector, the Revd Canon David Crooks, has completed the painstaking task of transcribing the surviving registers for three of the parishes in the group.

The registers comprise those for Taughboyne itself which date from 1820 onwards; All Saints Newtowncunningham a relatively modern parish carved out of Taughboyne in 1871, for which the registers date from 1877; those for the parish of Killea, which became part of the group in 1969, and for which recent registers only from 1877 for baptisms, 1880 for burials and 1845 for marriages survive; and finally a separate register of baptisms used by the chapel of ease at Craigadooish between 1871 and 1907. The printed transcripts, together with a digital copy of each were presented recently by Canon Crooks to the RCB Library, and it is these transcripts up to and including the year 1900 that will be available online from Sunday 1 June 2014.

Taughboyne, All Saints, Killea and Craigadooish are examples of parishes that retain their original registers in local custody, but which will soon be transferred to the RCB Library which is the official place of deposit for all non–current parish registers in the Republic of Ireland – and indeed a growing number of post–disestablishment collections from Northern Ireland, as will be made clear in next months’ Archive of the Month (July 2014) when for the first time an online updated and accurate Table of Church of Ireland Parish Registers Throughout Ireland will be made available. This will (for the first time) provide a colour–coded alphabetical list of the surviving baptisms, marriages and burials for each parish, as well as information about what materials were lost (mostly as a result of the 1922 catastrophe at the Public Records Office of Ireland during the Irish Civil War); and finally where today in 2014 the vast quantity of surviving materials may be consulted. The list accounts for no less than 1091 parish register collections now safely housed and available to researchers in the RCB Library.

The list will further account for c. 500 collections which continue to remain in the parishes where they were created. The collections for Taughboyne, All Saints, Killea and Craigadooish represent examples of such locally–held collections, where they remain treasured and kept safe. Thanks to Canon Crooks’ painstaking work to transcribe them, and his generous gift to the RCB Library of the hard and digital copies, researchers and local historians with an interest in this area will now be able to consult them in the Library. In addition and available online for the first, worldwide researchers can view all the surviving entries, as transcribed up to and including the year 1900 for each of the four parishes. Collectively these provide a wealth of information about local families, and the key events of marriage, baptism and burial that shaped family life in the Laggan Valley down the generations.

Speaking from the RCB Library, Dr Susan Hood said: “The work of Canon Crooks demonstrates what can be achieved at the local parish level in making a contribution to the growing demand for evidence about lives lived in Church of Ireland parishes around Ireland. It complements other initiatives with which the RCB Library is associated: collaboration with the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to digitize parish registers for www.irishgenealogy.ie; the work of Mark Williams to transcribe parish registers for the Anglican Record Project and other parish registers transcripts made available through the Church of Ireland website (for a summary list see www.ireland.anglican.org/genealogy/registers); and finally the microfilming and indexing of Cork parish registers undertaken by Commander Allen Crosbie and the Cobh Genealogical Project. On this occasion we are delighted to collaborate with the Taughboyne group and make available this valuable family information to a worldwide audience.”

Canon David Crooks said: “In my 30 years in Taughboyne Group of parishes, I have been contacted many times by people seeking information about their ancestors from our records. This involves painstaking research, trawling through old volumes to find the information required. Each time, the old books deteriorate a bit more.

“Though it is time consuming, the task of transcribing the records on to disc was very interesting, opening up a window into the lives of our ancestors who worshipped in this same place. Modern technology makes the whole task infinitely easier, and the finished product makes the task of obtaining information very much easier too.

“As Dr Hood has said, the importance of preserving our parish records is beyond question. The RCB Library will preserve records, and make them accessible to anyone who requests information from them in a safe and controlled environment. I would encourage clergy and parishes to transcribe their records, and make them available via modern technology, and present original material to the Library for safe keeping. I thank Dr Hood and the staff of the RCB Library for all their encouragement and interest.”


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

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