A number of blogs have mentioned the new Catholic Parish Registers at the National Library of Ireland website.
I have three branches of the family that came from Ireland: on my husband’s side, the Marshalls from OldLeighlin, Carlow, and the Mansfields from Tralee, Kerry; on my side, the Russells of Cork.
I have already found some parish registers for these families at the Irish Genealogy site. This site only had parish registers from Cork, Carlow, Dublin and Kerry, which worked well for me, as that happened to be where my ancestors were from. For ancestors in Cork, Carlow, Dublin and Kerry, the collections at the Irish Genealogy site are easier to use, as they have a search engine, while the parish registers at the National Library of Ireland website are browse only.
What I now wanted to know was whether there may have been additional records on the National Library site that weren’t available at the Irish Genealogy site.
I started with my own branch, the Russells. I had received an email from a family member, which stated that Martin Russell married Mary Moore on 23 April 1811 at St Mary’s Parish, Cork. This marriage wasn’t on the Irish Genealogy site, but I was able to find it on the National Library of Ireland website.
I had also found baptism records for the following children for Martin and Mary on the Irish Genealogy site – they were all christened at St Finbarr’s in South Cork:
- Anne christened 24 September 1815
- Garrett christened 13 April 1817
- Margaret christened 17 June 1821
- Patrick christened 31 October 1824
- Edward christened March 1835
One of the drawbacks with trying to use the National Library of Ireland site (apart from having to browse through all the entries to find a record), is the time it takes for a page to load, so that the image comes into focus. Another drawback is if you don’t know the parish the event took place in – although I knew my family are from Cork, Martin and Mary were married at St Mary’s, but their children were christened at St Finbarr’s. There is a gap between the marriage in 1811, and Anne’s christening in 1815, time enough for one or two children to have been born – do I search St Finbarr’s, or St Mary’s? There is also a large gap between the christening of Patrick in 1824, and Edward in 1835. The index for the christening record for Edward didn’t specify which parish within South Cork he was christened in, so there is a possibility there were other children I don’t know about, who were christened in another parish.
I therefore found that the National Library of Ireland Catholic Parish Register collection would be useful if you have a parish and approximate date of event, but without this information, it becomes more difficult to find records for your family. Even searching for events that I had an approximate date for, without knowing which parish the event took place in, it was difficult to know where to start looking.