Cork Ancestral Project Church Records

Cork County Examiner supplement – March 21 2006 reported on developments at the Cork Ancestral Project.

Article removed.

It is now seventeen years since the Cork Ancestral Project, funded by Fas, started their digitization work and none of it is on the internet. Their work has been partly superceded by a digitization project which digitized many Cork Catholic parishes within a short time frame from micofilm and which put them on the website. This work which is hosted by the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport is ongoing and more records are promsied to be uploaded to the internet this year. I quote “These Church records were computerised with funding from the Department of Tourism, Culture and Sport and through the work of the Dublin Heritage Group and Kerry Genealogical Research Centre.”

To date, there is only a hard copy of the index of St. Mary’s and St. Anne’s (North Parish), Cork City, available in the Cork County Library. It is not online and no-one seems to know when it will be made available on the internet.

Here is the email address of Mr Jimmy Deenihan, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht:

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61 Responses to Cork Ancestral Project Church Records

  1. EMcCarty says:

    Thanks very much for posting the article from the Cork County Examiner from 2006!

    This project was such a worthwhile endeavor. It’s a pity that the fruits of their labors hang from a branch I can’t quite access from where I sit, or stand, in California, USA.

    Ironic since the stated purpose was to assist those of us in our family history researching.

    The struggle continues.

    Ed McCarty

  2. Catherine says:

    Look what it now says– more records Oct 4! Maybe your nudge helped!

    • mjordan says:

      Thanks for the news. I doubt if my nudge helped but it is good to see things moving ever forward.


  3. Barb says:

    Just sent feedback to the site asking about the inclusion of all Cork City records into their data base….REPLY…The Cork Ancestral Project is run by Cork County Library, it has computersed 9 of the 11 Cork City Roman Catholic Parishes. This Department has had discussions about the addition of these records to this website. Currently these records are not available to view on any website.

  4. Barb says:

    I sent another message this past week and received this reply ( a joke)
    Dear Barb

    With regard to the records that have been indexed by Cork City Ancestral Project, our Director
    of Services who oversees the operation of the Library Service, is currently considering the options open to the library, for the future of the digitised records.


    Karen O’Riordan
    Project Co-ordinator

    I sent her a reply….
    Thank you for taking the time to respond, however I don’t know anymore than
    I did, before I wrote the e-mail. I understand that you, personally, have
    no input, but from what I understand, this has been going on for a very
    long time. Surely, long enough to have made a decision by now.
    In my opinion, someone has had plenty of time to make a decision, but
    has continually put it off.

    My intent is not to be rude, but only to resolve the issue that no
    one seems interested in doing. May I have the name and e-mail of
    the director so I can voice my concern?

    • mjordan says:

      It is a crazy situation and as you said so ongoing. I have also emailed various people and I also got nowhere.

      Margaret Jordan

      • Barb says:

        I sent their response to Joan Sharkey, whio is doing some research for me in Cork. They must keep after these people to publish what they have

      • I have also ‘jumped on the bandwagon’, and written to to ask whether they are any nearer in obtaining, the remaining Cork City parish records, for inclusion on their site? Their reply was: “They are awaiting the response of Cork City Council, but as they hold the copy of these records, it is entirely a matter for them.”

      • mjordan says:

        Hi Kathleen,

        I think you mean the Cork County Council in your comment above. Although the Catholic parish of St. Mary & St. Anne is in Cork City, it is the Cork County Library under the auspices of the Cork County Council which is involved in the digitization project not the Cork City Council. In fact the Cork Ancestral Project is housed over the Cork County Library which is attached to the Cork County Hall. The Director of Services at County Hall seems to be the person who is unwilling to make a decision regarding these records which cover most of the Deanery of Cork.

        Margaret Jordan

  5. Barb says:

    I also see where the 2 churches (cathedral) are now offering a service look up of their own. Money making machine.

  6. Hi Margaret,
    I hadn’t realised I had transcribed the wrong information but you are quite right so thank you for pointing out my error.


  7. Barb says:

    I sent an e-mail to Mr. Deenihan this morning. Do you know who the name of the person in charge of making the decision on these records, at the Cork Library? Do you have an e-mail address? I will continue to pursue.

    • mjordan says:

      Hi Barb,

      I am afraid I don’t know the name of the person in charge. I think the Cork County Council is in charge. Here is a link to the contact page for it:

      Margaret Jordan

      • Paul Healy says:

        I would like to add that the retention of the St Mary’s & St Annes records is causing grief to people like me,of devoted Irish descent!I have done a massive daily search at my home in Worcestershire since last April,using the Government site.Based on that & family knowledge,I have got quite far.However it has been difficult,and I am lucky in that I have a Gaelic certificate from Carraroe.Irish names are immensely difficult.Mac Lysaght of course is a masterpiece!The Director at the County library should take a leaf out of his book,and realize that the release of these records is essential for the integrity of the notion of the Irish Office of Arms and the well-being of the expatriates of our beloved nation!Please keep shooting arrows over at that County Library!I feel like singing “Sine fianna fail…..” from the roof of that building in protest!

      • Barb says:

        Get your pencils ready and spread the word. I suggest we all write a nice e-mail to Mr. Duffy.

        Dear Barb,

        The Director of Services is Louis Duffy. He can be contacted at


        Karen O’Riordan

      • Barb says:

        I just e-mailed Mr. Duffy

      • mjordan says:

        Thank you Barb for getting this information. I have also emailed Mr Duffy.

        Margaret Jordan

  8. Barb says:


    If you get any type of response, please post it.

  9. Hi Barb,
    Just to show my solidarity, I too have written to Mr Duffy.


    • Barb says:

      Thank you Kathleen. Too bad we can’t have others joining the fray. I have not heard from Mr. Duffy or Mr Deenihan from I will write to Mr. Duffy once a week if necessary. Anyone know the if the mayor of Cork has an e-mail address or any address. I will write to him too.

  10. Hi Barb,

    This is such an important issue, and I would urge people to ‘rally to the call’ and join in.


  11. Barb says:

    Found an e-mail address for Cork City mayor and sent him an e-mail yesterday. Apolgized for bothering him with a such a trival matter, but hoped he would be able to nudge the Cork Library. I will write to Mr. Duffy again next week….just to let him know I have not forgotten.

  12. Barb says:

    I sent a 2nd e-mail to Mr. Duffy this morning. I received a response (although vague)
    Thank you for your email about the above records. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner.
    Cork County Council is working to get the records online in the near future. Unfortunately there are a few technical and legal matters that may take a number of weeks to resolve.
    I will keep his address and write to him again, in time, depending upon what happens.

    • mjordan says:

      It is good that you got a reply. I did not get one yet. What is a “number of weeks”? This digitizing project has been going on for over 17 years so I assume “a number of weeks” is less than a year! We can keep an eye on the situation.


      • Kathleen Cork says:

        I didn’t get a reply from Mr Duffy but I am pleased to hear that Barb did, however, I fail to understand what is causing the delay with this long awaited project, and feel that once again we are being given the run around. Surely, we deserve better?

    • Barb says:

      I only received a reply because I sent him a 2nd e-mail; he probably thought I would go away, but I am not. He is probably thinking you will go away too. I will keep his address and write again in another month. I suggest both of you e-mail him again, sending him your original e-mail. Force him into addressing the situation in a nice way. Margaret, you can speak on behalf of all the professional genealogists in Ireland.

      • Kathleen Cork says:

        Hi Barb,

        Mr Duffy did get back to me after all, and guess what! It was exactly the same letter as yours. The communication between us, is as follows….
        From: kathleen cork
        Sent: 24 April 2012 22:04
        To: Louis Duffy
        Subject: St. Mary and St. Anne Parish Records
        Dear Mr Duffy,
        I am writing to ask why it is that the Parish records of the North Cathedral are taking so long to be released. Like thousands of others I am desperate to advance with my family history research but cannot due to the present situation we find ourselves in.
        I look forward to hearing from you.
        Yours faithfully,
        Kathleen Cork.
        FROM: Louis Duffy
        TO: kathleen cork
        Friday, 4 May 2012, 17:39
        Thank you for your email about the above records. I apologize for not getting back to you sooner.
        Cork County Council is working to get the records online in the near future. Unfortunately there are a few technical and legal matters that may take a number of weeks to resolve.
        Cork County Council
        Louis Duffy
        Director of Service

  13. Hi Barb,

    With regard to my earlier email, I would just like to add: if we only knew the reason why this project is taking so long to materialise, then maybe we could understand, but how can we, when the facts are not disclosed, and the general public is ‘left in the dark’, so to speak.

    • Barb says:


      You are 100% correct. I thought he would have given some inkling as to what the holdup was. All he mentioned were technical and legal issues. One would have thought after 17 years these issues would have been resolved by now. I don’t know if you are aware, but the Cathedral is “selling” their information now also. I wonder if there is an issue with the Cathedral and the library.

  14. Barb says:

    Well, I wrote to Mr. Duffy for the 3rd time and received an immediate response which I will share with you. It is more detailed and more reasonable. I wrote back to him to thank him.
    The technical issues relate to the resources that are required to support the online use of the information. While I accept that it is frustrating that the records are not available now, once online it is necessary for us to be able to respond to queries and any errors identified. Public sector finances and a recruitment embargo have reduced our staffing by 30% since 2008. Furthermore, repairs to our library headquarters flooded in 2009, have only just been completed and we will be relocating services and stock next week. I cannot be specific about the timescale for all of this as it requires cataloguing and sign off by our loss adjusters.
    The legal matters are in fact more straightforward.
    He is hoping for the end of June, but it depends on the above things.

    • Hi Barb,
      I did wonder if the delay had something to do with the downturn in the economic climate.

      It would appear that the staff involved in this project have had a lot to put up with and no doubt they want an end to this enquiry as much as we do. I look forward to the day when those prized records are finally released, into our eager, and long awaited hands.

      Thank you for chasing this up.

      Kindest regards,


      • mjordan says:

        Hi Barb and Kathleen,

        I do not believe that the delay had anything to do with the downturn in the economy. The flooding is another stupid excuse. These records are on computer and have been for many years. They are also on CD and could be mailed or handed to the representatives of (who have been in negotiations with the Cork Ancestral Project for months). The Cork Ancestral Project and the library didn’t have a plan…that is the real problem.

        Here, below is my letter to Mr Duffy, to which I have not had any reply:

        “Dear Mr Duffy,

        I am emailing concerning the fact that the Cork Ancestral Project has digitized most of the Catholic records for the Deanery of Cork and that they are not online. As you know, this digitization includes the records for St. Mary & St. Anne’s, Shandon, Cork City. Over six years ago, the Cork County Library announced that these records would be made available to the public. See my blog for the article which appeared in the Irish Examiner, March 2006. Here is a link to my blog post and the ongoing discussion:

        Six years ago, Brian O’Shea and I met with Ruth Flanagan and Tim Cadogan in the Cork County Library, to ask for these records to be made public, as they were not accessible, despite the article in the Irish Examiner which indicated they were. Subsequent to our meeting in the Cork County Library, a copy of the index of the St. Mary & St. Anne records was placed in the Co. Library. We hoped this was an interim position as tax payer’s money had paid for Fas and the Cork Co. Library to digitize these records and we felt very strongly that they should be made accessible to the public in a comprehensive global way. The Cork Ancestral Project has been ongoing for over seventeen years and the public is still waiting to benefit from this project! It is a farce.

        Government policy is actively promoting access to church records via so it would seem an easy solution for the Cork Ancestral Project and the Cork County Library to add their digitized records to this database. It is not an excuse to say that the project is not finished….. seventeen years later.

        The Irish public and the Irish diaspora worldwide deserve to see these records. Baptisms and marriages are often the only record left behind by people who lived in Ireland in the 19th century and their descendants are desperately trying to piece together their ancestors’ lives so they can be remembered and included in family histories. Obviously people will visit the areas inhabited by their ancestors but if they feel thwarted in locating these ancestors, tourism will lose out. People applying for the Certificate of Irish Heritage is another example of the interest people have in learning more about their Irish heritage. Please help them by releasing the Deanery of Cork church records.

        Margaret Jordan
        Co. Cork”

      • Barb says:


        You, obviously had more insitght into this matter than I, and your letter thoroughly ecplains the detalis that have taken place. Have you written 1 or 2 letters to Mr. Duffy? I do think we have encourraged Cork Lirbrary to speed up their process. I hope you receive a response to your e-mail and if you do, please let us know. In the mean time, i guess we just have to sit back and wait some more. Between the 3 us, we will get this done.

  15. Margaret,

    I had no idea of the extent, or the facts, concerning the background to this project, and to think, that your eloquent letter has not received a reply. I am at a loss for words. Thank you for filling me in and I look forward, with interest, to see what Barb, or indeed anyone else, has to say about all this.

    Warmest regards,


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  17. E says:

    Having just recently began to delve into my family tree, I have been surprised by the very large amount of progress that can be made without leaving the computer desk! It’s surely much easier than ever to find out about a family’s past.
    Equally though, it is frustrating when one comes up against blockades such as this one. To be fair, the person I’ve been in contact with at the Cathedral has been most helpful but they too are severly hampered by technical and financial issues. If truth be told, I also feel there is a lack of drive and determination from a higher level to be bothered about such issues.
    It would take pressure off the over-pressed parish staff as well as the Cork County Library staff if the simple and inevitable decision to make these records publically available on Irish Genealogy was taken. The sooner the better! I’ll watch with interest for the result of this saga.

  18. Your letter has once again highlighted this sensitive, and pressing issue, simply because the ‘wider world’ cannot get to the North Cathedral. Like you, when I started out, this was my first port of call, and I was amazed, by the wealth of information, that the (then) Sacristan found for me. Everyone deserves to feel, the way that I did, that day!

  19. Ed McCarty says:

    While I certainly support having the Cathedral records added to the website, it seems like the indexed information could be posted to an online database fairly easily. It’s static information which doesn’t need much in the way of maintenance. Perhaps this could be a project for a UCC computer technology class! I have concerns about the time it may take for to actually complete their inclusion of the Cathedral records, given the fact that they have been promising to provide Co Monaghan RC church records for more than 2 years. When I have managed to get a response to my requests for updates on this project, the answer I get is always non-commital and vague. Still, it’s good to see that some slight progress seems to be happening on the Cork cathedral front.

  20. Hi Ed,
    Thanks for joining in, we certainly need ‘all hands on board’ if we are to get anywhere.

  21. Jim says:

    From Australia. Keep up the good work Kathleen C & Margaret J . I suppose those in the Cork County Library want to be sure. To be sure.
    The brickwall in the Cork is certainly frustrating to many folk over the world. We have been waiting anxiously for years to some questions about our young 18 year old girl who left Cork to start a new life in Australia.
    The carrot has been dangling just out of reach for toooo long.

  22. Hi Jim,
    Thanks for the input. I am sure that Margaret Jordan and Barb will appreciate your kind comments, considering the efforts they have put in to get this project moving. Let us hope that we will see an end to this endless waiting before too long.

  23. Barb says:

    As a reminder, Mr. Duffy told me in an e-mail, he hopes to have the records on line by the end of June. I am not confident, but we shall see. I will write to him again if they are not on line by the end of the month.

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  25. Jim in Wales says:

    It has been two weeks since I sent a records search request to Cork Cathedral. No reply, and they haven’t taken their €15 either. Maybe a change in procedure really is coming.

    • Barb says:

      I sent a payment through Paypal on June 21st. They took my money and have not responded to 3 inquires by me, nor have I received any information. I sent an e-mail to parish web site today asking them what is happening.

  26. Jim in Wales says:

    Sounds bad. That’s why I don’t use Paypal. I used the Mastercard procedure. I assume a live person must actually do something to finish the transaction with Mastercard.

    • Barb says:

      I received an e-mail today, from the parish, telling me the person is on vacation and will return next week. This was my 2md e-mail to the parish, plus 2 e-mails to another address. They said I could wait until next week or request a refund. I said I would wait. They refunded the money to my account today.

  27. Jim in Wales says:

    That’s the answer I was hoping for — “Be patient, it’s just a one-person operation.”

  28. Jim in Wales says:

    I received a reply from the Cathedral late on Saturday night. (My family not found.)

  29. mjordan says:

    I have heard from the Cork County Council that the Cork Ancestral Project church records will officially go online on the paying Irish Family History Foundation (IFHF) website at the end of July 2012 at the earliest.

    I am personally disappointed that the records will not be added to, the government sponsored free website. It was my understanding that in the past, the Cork County Library did not want to add their records to the IFHF website (which was the only Irish commercial website at the time) as their policy was not to charge the public.

    However, I will be glad to see the end of the battle to get these records online!

    • Jim in Wales says: told me today that they have no time frame for when Cork City records may be available on their site.

      • mjordan says:

        Hi Jim,

        I am glad you asked and that you got a response from Rootsireland (IFHF). It is disconcerting that the IFHF do not have a time frame for adding the Cork Ancestral Project records to their database, especially as the Cork County Council indicated that they were in the process of getting them added to the IFHF database and that although there were delays, this was imminent. Such an ongoing, seemingly endless story!


      • Barb says:

        Why would anyone be surprised? IFHF has had Wexford records for several months now and put 8000 records up initially and nothing since; it has been dormant for 3 months. Now we face another problem….after waiting 17 years for Cork City records, now the IFHF will take forever to put them on line. I wrote to Mr. Duffy telling him the IFHF has issues now, whether it is lack of funding, lack of people, or lack of whatever…they have problems.

  30. Margaret, without the likes of you, we would not have got this far so I want to thank you for all you have done to push this “cause” forward.


    • Daniel Barr says:

      Danny Barr [Tyrone ] I have been in direct contact with Margaret Jordan in the recent past and would just like to thank her for her for her persistence. Even if I have to pay it will be a great relief to finalise some of my research.

  31. Mary Muller says:

    I have just added to the plethora of letters to Mr. Duffy, in the hope that being bombarded from all sides might speed things up. I see that “Find My Past, i.e.” has opened up a paying site, but whether one is able to get any further with research is a moot point.
    Thanks are due, particularly to Margaret Jordan, for her persistence in endeavouring to get these illusive Cork records on line.
    Mary Muller
    Alberta, Canada

  32. Mary P says:

    OK. City of Cork Tourism. I have thousands of US dollars to spend in your city on hotels, restaurants, gift shops, museums etc. But I am NOT coming to Cork City until the nimrod at the Library post the church records online and I can see my ancestor there. I don’t find paying a fee to search the database online. But you are hurting your own Cork City economy by your rediculous decision not to make the records easily available to tourists with $$$$ overseas. DO I MAKE MYSELF CLEAR.

  33. Bob Higgins says:

    I have to agree with Mary P. on any research trips to Cork City. I have been working on my mothers family line for over twenty years and have close to twenty trips to Ireland with most of them spending some time in Cork City. I’ll not be making another trip there without narrowing down the area I need to research before I go. Those records being added to an online program might make the difference in when, or if I get back there.

  34. Kathleen says:

    Like you, I have been backwards and forwards to Cork for as many years as I care to remember but with each visit I find another bit of information and this has spurned me on however, as much as I love Cork and the bond that ties me to the city of my ancestors, I long for the day when those records that are being withheld to us will be available once and for all, online.

  35. mjordan says:

    Today, at the Back to Our Past ( event in Dublin, I confronted representatives of the Department of Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht ( at their stand, about the fact that the church records which have been transcribed by the Cork Ancestral Project, are still not available online, to the public. I was fobbed off with statements like “if they gave us the records we’d take them” but they would not do anything proactive to acquire them and they don’t make public statments.

    So, it sounds like it is a waste of time contacting this government department!

    Margaret Jordan

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