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Church of Ireland parish record collections more discoverable with online links to RCB Library hand–lists

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 in its custody. 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 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 into 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 which parish registers survive, and where they are held – whether by the Library, the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (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: www.ireland.anglican.org/news/6537/online–launch–of–the–list, 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.

Reflecting the perspective of the worldwide research community on this latest phase of the Library’s work, the Chairman of the IGRS, Steven Smyrl, commented: “It was a pleasure for the IGRS to celebrate its 80th anniversary last year by collaborating with the RCB Library to produce the colour–coded parish register list. Now with the addition of hyperlinks to the detailed hand–lists for each parish collection, Church of Ireland parish records have never been more accessible. Well done to all RCB staff involved.”

Speaking from the RCB Library, Dr Susan Hood, Librarian and Archivist, said that “between them the Library staff – Jennifer Murphy, Robert Gallagher and Bryan Whelan – had completed a mammoth task of cross–checking all 1,110 lists, adding information about printed sources and converting them from an in–house database format to accessible PDFs.” She commended their efforts and strong team effort and also thanked Charlotte Howard, who had systematically created the links and uploaded each one, for her invaluable IT support from Church House.

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. To complement the re–launch of the List of Church of Ireland Parish Registers, this month’s online presentation includes links to the hand–lists of recently deposited registers and other parish materials, highlighting some of the more unusual items that have recently come into Library custody and the aspects of local and family history that they bring to light.

The new exhibit and link to the list is available here: www.ireland.anglican.org/library/archive

For further information please contact:

Church of Ireland Press Office 
Church of Ireland House 
61–67 Donegall Street 
Belfast, BT1 2QH 

Tel: (028) 9082 8880 (from NI)
Tel: (048) 9082 8880 (from RoI)
Email: Press Office 

Paul Harron

+44 (0)7787 881582

Peter Cheney

+44 (0)7774 295369

Janet Maxwell

+353 (0)87 948 4412