Civil Records Index at Familysearch.org

I have been meaning to blog about this wonderful resource for quite awhile now but a recent letter to the Irish Examiner newspaper has spurred me on. I was reminded by the writer that the online free Civil Records Index is not well publicised in Ireland…and certainly not by the GRO, although they benefit from a much larger number of people applying for certificates and photocopies of certificates.

The link:https://beta.familysearch.org/
enables you to search through many different collections which are useful for family history research. These include the Irish Civil Records Index upto 1958 as well as some Irish church records. The website is described as “beta”, which means it is being tested. I use it frequently and with practice, it can be utilized to a high level of success. I advise using the “advanced search” which can be carefully manipulated to produce excellent results.

The slightly older: http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#start is described as a “pilot” website in the title and a “prototype” on the original website: http://www.familysearch.org/eng/default.asp.

I am not sure what is going on behind the scenes but I welcome the provision of these absolutely wonderful search facilities.

Along with the 1901, 1911 Census returns and the addition of some Irish church records to the web, Irish genealogy has become a lot easier. I am still waiting for more Catholic Church records to be added to the website:http://www.genealogy.ie. I am especially looking forward to seeing the Catholic records for St. Mary’s and St. Anne’s, Shandon added. These have been digitized by Fas and the Cork County Library.

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2 Responses to Civil Records Index at Familysearch.org

  1. Susan says:

    I rely on it very heavily too, though I have to remind myself that indexing is not perfect and not everybody got indexed.

    I am facing a problem right now in which I have a baptismal record from September 1880, and if the birth had been registered it would probably have made it into the third quarter, maybe the fourth quarter. As things currently stand, no amount of online searching has turned up the birth registration equivalent. Nor can I find the parents’ marriage even after making long lists comparing entries with the mother’s name with those of the father’s, even looking in other counties, even considering just about every permutation of Johanna (the mother’s name) that I can think of. I did manage to find entries for some of the later children though, and I have a birth record of one, born in 1890 and from the same place as noted on the baptismal from 1880. As far as I can tell from the 1901 census, the father was a farmer (and widowed), so the family wasn’t in a traveling circus or otherwise moving around. 🙂

    I have found other “gotchas” in the online indexes too, for instance if you search McCarthy and exact matching is turned on, you’ll miss entries logged as Mccarthy (silly me, I had not considered that!) Nora may be cross referenced with Honora, but not necessarily Hanora. I was trying to find death records for elderly people in the early 1900’s, and thought I could narrow the matches down to the truly elderly by specifying year ranges for their birth dates (1800’s, 1810’s, 1820’s, 1830’s) rather than their death dates (1900’s, 1910’s). Unfortunately that strategy still missed people too.

    There are lots of subtle ways I can miss somebody that have left me no choice but to forego the online indexes and just go straight to films, checking index films if necessary. And if the films aren’t available, I have to leave the question unanswered and find another way to solve my problem.

    • mjordan says:

      I agree that there are some issues with the online Civil Records Index but it has changed the face of doing genealogical research.

      I love doing my research from the comfort of my own home when I want to do it. I can instantly cross-check results with the other online resources to get the best results and it is free!

      Margaret

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