Throughout this last year I have received sprinkles of exciting news on the horizon for those searching their Irish ancestry. The country of Ireland senses the interest of their Diaspora and in turn, understands the significance this awareness brings to their country. As a result, the Irish Government has began digitizing their records and making them free and downloadable on their website.
The National Archives of Ireland launched a new genealogy website in November with the 1901 and 1911 census fully searchable. Also, all Tithe Applotment books from 1823-1837 are searchable as are Soldier's Wills, 1914-1917. But the real beauty of the website is that the actual records are digitized and printable.
No typed indexes, just real...actual...records...for free.
The ability to search through the genuine records, not indexes, provides a wealth of information to a genealogist. Studying your ancestor's handwriting and examining the names of his neighbors or the villages he lived next to can be of tremendous value to a family historian. It involves looking at the whole picture and gathering additional hints that can lead to more discoveries.
Indexes flirt with us but leave us wanting for more. The digitized records satisfy our hunger and sometimes lead us to a more intriguing story.
And the best part is this is only the beginning. The National Archives of Ireland is committed to digitizing the Calender of Wills and Administrations, 1858-1922; Nineteenth century census survivals, 1821-51; Valuation Office House and Field Books, 1848-60 and the Census Search Forms for the 1841 and 1851 censuses. An unfolding of valuable ancestral records precious to family historians on the hunt for their Irish ancestors.
The New Year is ripe for the unveiling of ancestral records from Ireland and I, for one, cannot wait to experience it.
As the Grinch said: "I feel all warm and tingly inside."
Keep searching for answers,