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Day 3 - National Library & National Archives

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Entrance to the National Library

    Today was partly cloudy with a brisk breeze, but no rain (although my weather app tells me it's raining lightly).  Like Florida where the forecast for every day during the summer is a 30% chance of showers, I think it just depends on where you are.  For my genealogy friends who are wondering why the weather report each day, I will be joining 80 members of the Key Chorale who arrive in Ireland next Saturday for a concert tour.  The Internet forecasts for Dublin have made it sound like the middle of winter in Florida, so  I'm just providing an update for them so they'll know what to pack<g>.

    I started today at the National Library where I'm pleased to report they have made some changes since my last visit.  The Roman Catholic parish register microfilms have been moved to the mezzanine level with the readers and are now self service.  You no longer have to run upstairs with a request form and wait for someone to deliver the film your microfilm reader.   In addition, they've brought in four new PC based microfilm readers/printers (like the ones in Salt Lake City) so you can actually print a copy of a register page.  Even better, you can enhance the pages that up to this point have been unreadable.  There wasn't a problem today, and I was able to work on one of the new machines, but I'm sure at busy times the machines will be reserved for those printing.  They appear to use the same software as the Family History Library, but unfortunately they don't have the ability to save the document to a USB drive.  You need a copy card to release and print your documents…the cost is a reasonable .10 per copy.  

   As for the parish registers, the ones I viewed today were in Latin.  If you don't read Latin, not a problem..you can pretty quickly tell which are baptismal records and which are marriage records (death records are very spotty).  To bone up, just go to the Latin Word List on the FamilySearch Wiki.  I struggle more with the given names…Jacobus for example can be either James or Jacob.  A good resource for converting Latin given names is by Judith Werner on RootsWeb.

    When I got back to my hotel (the library has no Internet connection) I decided to test the results.  It's very time consuming to read parish records and since this was for a client I decided to compare the results I got from manually searching with the Irish Family History Foundation (IFHF) database.  According to the source list for Sligo, the parish of Ahamlish is included in their database for the dates I was searching.  However, when I searched for either of the records I found, there were no results in the database.  The only male indexed for 1842 was in the parish of Sligo.  The accuracy of the IFHF database has always been questioned.  The databases were created in the late 1980s for the Heritage Centres as a computer training program for unemployed youth and when many of the Heritage Centres closed they were pulled together by IFHF and made available online.  The records for this parish go back to 1796 which for Roman Catholic records is a very early date, but it would take me days to go through all of them and the client has not authorized that much time.  None of the surrounding parishes have records from the period of 1835 - 1845 so this was my one hope of finding the children (based on their ages in US census records, which for the Irish are always suspect) to verify the parish and townland.   Not to throw the baby out with the bathwater, the IFHF database can be a tremendous benefit if the names are there.  By having the date and parish information you can then go the parish registers and print out a copy of the original.  But, if the names are not there, it doesn't mean they don't exist.  

    I had a wonderful lunch with my friend, Eileen O'Duill, a Dublin based genealogist, at the Museum Café (just across the courtyard from the Library).  Eileen, along with her husband, Sean, will be doing presentations for the Dublin Research trip in October.

    That didn't leave me a lot of time over at the National Archives, but I wanted to check the Tithe Applotment Books to see who was listed in the townlands of Laughta and Unshinagh in Leitrim.  Neither of my ancestors, who do appear in Griffith's, are in any of the Tithe indexes.  We know that indexes aren't perfect, and I wanted to see who was listed…maybe they had been transcribed incorrectly.  Remember, we always want to get back to the original document if possible.  I went through the entire film for the parish of Rossinver in Leitrim and it turns out that neither townland is listed.  Now I have to figure out why they're missing…were the lands not subject to the tithe or are they missing.  Stay tuned!

   Happy Hunting!

© Donna M. Moughty 2007- 2013