Archive of the Month
The Church of Ireland Gazette editions for 1913 fully searchable online
Archive of the Month – August 2013
The Church of Ireland Gazette editions for 1913 fully searchable online
|To view the search engine click: |
Continuing our commitment to mark the Decade of Commemorations, the RCB Library is pleased to present all 52 editions of The Church of Ireland Gazette for the year 1913, in a fully searchable format online as our August Archive of the Month, in collaboration with the Editor and Board of the Gazette.
Modern readers of the Gazette (long considered to be the Church of Ireland’s weekly newspaper and the first port of call for researchers wishing to obtain an insight into the opinions and attitudes of members of the Church of Ireland through changing times) will be aware of its availability in electronic format as well as hardcopy since 2005 at this link: www.gazette.ireland.anglican.org
Less well known may be that the RCB Library holds the only complete run of ‘Gazettes’ – from its first issue in March 1856 to date bound up in hard copy volumes for each year where they remains an invaluable resource. An extensive run is also available at Armagh Public Library, which may be useful for readers in Northern Ireland, but this is not complete. Further information on this collection is welcomed at www.armaghpubliclibrary.arm.ac.uk
In the RCB Library a modest in–house index provides limited access to some of the main issues and personnel covered in the Gazette, but like the actual volumes of the paper, is cumbersome to use, forcing researchers to resort to the painstaking task of trawling through multiple issues to obtain specific information.
Written and read by lay and clerical members of the Church of Ireland, the Gazette which has always been editorially independent, provides the longest–running public commentary on its affairs, and as such is a recognised resource for understanding the complexities and nuances of Church of Ireland identity, both north and south, as well as the Church’s contribution to political and cultural life throughout the island.
For first nine years of its publication the Gazette was published and printed by its founder/proprietor Mr James Charles, from his premises at 61 Middle Abbey Street Dublin. We have previously featured Charles’s role in the development of the Gazette‘s sister publication, the Church of Ireland Directory on this link: www.ireland.anglican.org In the initial stages, it is likely that Charles took a lead role in the editorial style, format and layout of the publication, but there was no official editor as such. From 1871 onwards however, an editor was formally appointed, the first of whom was the Revd James Anderson Carr, vicar of Whitechurch in the diocese of Dublin from 1871–1900 who served as editor from 1871 to 1893. Like all eleven of his successors bar one, Anderson was an ordained member of the Church of Ireland clergy. The only lay member appears to have been Norman Black, who briefly assumed the role of editorship between 1955 and 1959, in close association with the Revd Andy Willis, who took up the task as editor–in–chief from 1959 until 1975. A full list of all the editors as far as we know them from 1871 up to the current editor, Ms Emma Blain, appointed in 2020, is provided on this link click here.
During its continuous period of publication from 1856 to the present, The Church of Ireland Gazette has covered wide range of topics and provided much personnel data about those associated with the Church. These range from commentaries on national events to issues of local and personal familial significance such as funerals and other church services, vacancies and appointments, school events, sales of work, and a wide range of other community activities.
It also includes reports of family and place names, local events around the country, opinion pieces, obituaries, descriptions of churches, schools and other topical information, as well a colourful array of advertising.
Our aspiration is to enhance this access radically by making the Gazette available to all online. To do this we need financial support, and in conjunction with the Gazette Board, are investigating appropriate sources of funding. In the interim, as a pilot study to demonstrate the capacity and vast resource of information that is contained in the newspaper, we have had all 52 issues of the Gazette for 1913 professionally scanned using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) by the service provider Informa.
Using state of the art technology, the sophisticated information platform they have created makes all 52 of the issues published in 1913 fully searchable online through a web–readable format. The collection may be browsed in full, by choosing “The Church of Ireland Gazette” in the Title Box, and hitting search.
Browsers may also navigate through a particular issue or the collection as a whole by selecting “All” and using the forward key buttons, as shown below.
To conduct a more specific search, use the search box on the home page platform.
Simply enter any key word or phrase of interest (e.g “editorial”) in the search box, then view the list of relevant entries as they appear in chronological order, and click to read each one which may be viewed either as a single page, or in the wider context of the particular issue in which it appears.
Burning issues of the day such as Home Rule, the rise of the trade union movement and efforts to control it, women’s suffrage, educational change, children, the impact of the Ulster Covenant and formation of the Ulster Volunteer Force, as well as the darkening political situation on mainland Europe on the eve of the First World War and events further away, are all well covered and commented upon in 1913.
There is surprisingly little comment on the Dublin lock–out which began in August 1913, but more general insight about the broader issue of industrial disputes as they were evolving earlier in the year, including the situation in Canada in February 1913.
It is also possible to search for key figures of the day by name, or by place – the entry for particular parishes giving a sense of the news–worthiness of each one over the course of the year. Regular weekly features that appear under a headline make it easy to pick out themes – so for example under the heading ‘The Week’, coming events at national and local level are outlined week by week.
Under ‘Notes from the North’ specific issues concerning the northern dioceses and parishes of Ulster are covered, while ‘Diocesan News’ gives the rundown of events and activities from diocese to diocese, and ‘Our London Letter’ covers events within the Church of England and national politics at Westminster.
Other regulars include a ‘Contents’ list for each issue, and ‘Editorial notices’. Under ‘Correspondence’, letters to the editor provide revealing comment from lay and clerical readers and provide great insight to varying positions that Church members took on the important issues of the day. A literary review section entitled ‘Literature’ provides background about the printed materials likely to be of interest to readers.
The colourful and often voluminous collection of classified notices of ‘situations vacant’ and ‘wanted’, and additionally the specific advertising boxes for goods and services nationwide are a study by themselves – indicating both the nature of work and services on offer, and the people and companies providing them, whom the Gazette manager earnestly encouraged his readers to support.
The ‘1913 pilot’ we present here demonstrates how technological advances offer radical alternatives to unlock hidden knowledge from all the other years in the 149–year run of weekly Gazettes from 1856 to 2005 (when it became available electronically). We are hopeful that to mark the Decade of Commemorations (2012–2022) it may be possible to complete the research platform by digitizing the entire collection, which we believe will generate massive public interest not only in Ireland but worldwide, thus making an invaluable contribution to historical knowledge by enabling multiple readers to engage on–screen.
To view the search engine click:
The Gazette online presentation has been favourably received by the genealogical community on the first day of its launch, and commended for its ease of use on this blogspot on Irish Genealogy News:
For further information please contact:
Dr Susan Hood