Archive of the Month
Church of Ireland Parish Record Collections More Discoverable Through Online Links to Hand–Lists
By Dr Susan Hood
As efforts continue to make the records of the Church of Ireland more discoverable, the RCB Library has completed the latest phase of its work on the hand–lists of parish records. Thanks to painstaking revision work undertaken by the Library staff and with the support of the RCB IT Department, all hand–lists for the 1,110 parish record collections currently held in the Library (each with its own unique identity number and corresponding details) are now available online.
Whilst hardcopy finding aids or hand–lists itemising the contents of specific collections have been available at the Library for some time – where they are consulted by researchers visiting in person on a daily basis – for those outside Dublin or overseas it was not so easy to gain a detailed insight to each collection’s rich and varied content.
This time last year the collaborative project between the RCB Library and the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS) produced the colour–coded List of Church of Ireland Parish Registers accounting for what parish registers survive, and where they are held – whether by the Library, PRONI or in local custody with the additional benefit of live links to online copies and transcripts. The re–launch of this resource was covered here: Archive of the Month – August/September 2016 and has been widely acclaimed by the research community. Now the parish hand–list for collections in the Library’s custody provides added value to the resource, enabling researchers to both view and download the Library collection master lists as pdfs.
The Library also continues to encourage local clergy to transfer non–current records from their local provenance to the Library’s permanent and secure centralised custody. For example in the past 12 months since the colour–coded List was re–launched this time last year, the following additional collections of registers of baptism, marriage and burial alone been transferred to the Library and are available for public research:
Parish Group or Union: Blessington (Diocese of Glendalough)
Co. Wexford: Ballymore Eustace Marriage register, 1957–2004
Co. Wicklow: Blessington Marriage register, 1959–2005
Co. Wicklow: Hollywood Marriage register, 1966–95
Co. Wicklow: Kilbride (Cloghlea): Baptismal register 1878; Marriage register, 1963–2007
Parish Group or Union: Bunclody (Diocese of Ferns)
Co. Carlow: Barragh Combined register, 1830–37
Co. Wexford: Bunclody Combined register, 1810–37
Co. Wexford: Clonegal Combined registers, 1792–1838, 1831–1993
Parish Group or Union: Carrigrohane (Diocese of Cork)
Co. Cork: Ballincollig Military Barracks : Combined register 1810–1882; Baptismal register 1865–1921; Burial register 1871–1920.
Parish Group or Union: Kilkenny (Diocese of Ossory)
Co. Kilkenny: St Canice’s Cathedral : Baptismal register, 1906–2016, Burial register, 1862–2016
Co. Kilkenny: St John Baptismal register, 1890–2016; Burial register, 1892–2013
Co. Kilkenny: Aghour/Freshford Baptismal register, 1879–2016; Burial register, 1879–2016
Co. Kilkenny: Ballinamara Baptismal register, 1879–2012; Burial register, 1879–1924
Co. Wexford: Kilnamanagh Baptismal register, 1868–2016; Burial register, 1874–2016
Parish Group or Union: Killala (Diocese of Killala)
Co. Mayo: Killala Marriage register, 1957–2004;
Co. Mayo: Crossmolina Marriage register, 1957–2005
Co. Mayo: Dunfeeny Marriage register, 1957–62
Parish Group or Union: Kilmoe Union (Diocese of Cork)
Co. Cork: Kilmoe Baptismal registers, 1880–1995: Marriage registers, 1845–1986: Burial register, 1882–2014; Register of banns, 1976–2002;
Co. Cork: Crookhaven Marriage registers, 1852–90;
Co. Cork: Schull Baptismal register, 1880–1962: Marriages, 1845–2005: Burials, 1882–2015;
Co. Cork: Teampol–na–mboct (The Altar): Baptismal, 1881–2007; Marriages, 1866–2003; Burial register, 1859–2015;
Parish Group or Union: Monkstown (Diocese of Dublin)
Co. Dublin: Monkstown Baptismal registers 1884–2009; Marriage registers 1900–2007
Co. Dublin: Monkstown – St John : Baptismal registers 1885–1982; Marriage registers 1938–1972
Parish Group or Union: Templemore (Diocese of Cashel)
Co. Tipperary: Glankeen/Borrisoleagh: Marriage register 1848–62; Tithe applotment book, 1831;
Co. Tipperary: Kilfithmone: Marriage register 1846–1952; Vestry minute book, 1790–1890 (incl nine burial entries 1793–1804);
Co. Tipperary: Thurles Cashel Burial register, 1877–2000
Parish Group or Union: Toombe (Diocese of Ferns)
Co. Wexford: Toombe Burial register, 1833–2009
As well as the registers, a vast array of other categories of parish records have also been transferred to the Library in recent months. These compliment the register collections and flesh out many aspects of local and family history that would otherwise remain inaccessible and relatively hidden. Some unusual sources now accounted for and accessioned on individual lists include materials from the parish of Clontarf (Dublin) such as the minute book of the War Memorial Committee, 1919–20 concerning the erection of a memorial to the local men who perished during the First World War.
From the parish of Clooney (Derry) there is a run of preachers’ books between 1953 and 2012, and unusually detailed registers of confirmations including names of candidates, and comments on the service: this example highlighting the great service was particularly memorable because it was the first in the parish presided by the newly–consecrated Bishop of Derry and Raphoe, the Rt Revd Dr Robin Eames (bishop of Derry and Raphoe between 1975 and 1980).
The parish record collection for Glankeen or Borrisoleagh in the same diocese contains an original tithe applotment book for the year 1831, which predates by one year and contains different information to the applotment book for the same parish held in the National Archives of Ireland.
The earliest vestry minute book for the parish of Kilfithmone (Cashel) not only records the usual minutes of meetings and resolutions on parish business between 1790 and 1890, but also details of nine burials that took place in the parish between 1793 and 1804. Descendants of five families of Butler, Clarke, Golding, Lloyd and Woods who came from this parish may thus strike gold with this information because it does not survive anywhere else because regrettably the original burial register was destroyed in the fire at the Public Records Office during the civil war in 1922.
The record collection of the Cork parish of Teampol-na-mboct (the Church of the Poor) includes a run of visitors’ books, documenting the visits by tourists and others interested in the particular local history of this place. Also known as the Altar Church on account of its location in the townland of Altar on the Mizen peninsula, the building was constructed at the height of the Great Famine in 1847 and given this association and its beautiful location, is a visitor attraction as well as place of worship, as the records reveal.
All of the hand–lists for all 1,110 parish collections are free to view and download at this link: List of Church of Ireland Parish Registers