I have to admit that I slept in a bit this morning and then caught up on some work. Early this afternoon I headed for the General Register Office (GRO) to pick up some certificates. This is a new location (about two years ago) on the 3rd floor of the Irish Life Centre on Abbey Street. For those who have spent time at the former home of the GRO, Joyce House, this facility is a vast improvement. It’s bright and spacious and as always, expensive. To search an index (up to five consecutive years) costs €2, or you can pay €20 for a full day. I don’t know why anyone would pay any longer since the indexes are available for free on FamilySearch.org, but the place was full of people going through indexes. My friend, Eileen Ó’Duill, a professional genealogist here in Dublin, tells me that she has found instances where the information is not in the FamilySearch Index, but they have found it in the books, so that might be one reason to check. I usually have my references all ready and just drop my forms and pay for the certificates. The cost €4 each, but here’s the catch. You can only get 5 certificates a day, no exceptions. They keep track of each one you request, and even if they’re not busy, if you’ve already had your five, you’re out of luck.
You don’t ever know if you’ve requested the right certificate until you receive it and check, for example the parents’ names and the townland location. With all of the common names, sometimes it takes two or three tries. If, however, you’ve used up your five for the day, you just have to come back tomorrow and try again. They will mail the additional ones to you, but if you’re back in the States and you get the wrong one it’s frustrating. If you are visiting Ireland and plan to go to the GRO, go early, so you don’t end up getting disappointed on your last day.
So here’s what happened...I had looked up the index information on a death for an Edward Donnelly. I was copying the information down on the form and discovered it didn’t give the page number on the FamilySearch index, however all the other information was there. I get to the GRO and show them the form and they say I have to pay the €2 to look up the page number in the book. I pay my money, get the book and low and behold, the page number is partially missing...it says 3 9. Is that 39, 309, 319, 329, etc. I show the entry to the clerk and say, that’s why the number wasn’t transcribed...it’s not there. She goes and gets another index to check and it’s the same way...so I asked for my €2 back and surprisingly, I got it! Well, understandably it took them a little longer to get the certificates since they had to check a number of different pages (it was 359).
After I left the GRO I walked over to the National Library for some more fun reading Catholic parish records. More tomorrow!