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Out of the Ashes - Irish Genealogical Collections


IGSI Quarterly Program Notes, May 19-20, 2006

Presented by David E. Rencher AG, FUGA

© 2006 David E. Rencher. All rights reserved.

With the destruction of many precious original documents in the Public Record Office in 1922, (now known as the National Archives) the genealogical collections accumulated prior to that date became vitally important. Collecting them into the Public Record Offices in both Dublin and Belfast and the Genealogical Office, Dublin became a major area of focus. The creators of these facilities pleaded with the public at large and with noted historians and genealogists to bequeath their transcripts, notes, correspondence and official copies of documents to their various facilities. Many of these collections resemble our notes today. They are often handwritten on scraps of paper and have little or no organization. Others are well-organized typed transcripts with indexes. Thus, the researcher who investigates the various collections will find the complete spectrum of organization, material and content.




Before embarking on the search for any mention of your family names in these records, it is a good idea to get a general knowledge of what potential records sources may have held the information you are seeking.


In 1919, Herbert Wood, then Deputy Keeper of Records in the Public Record Office, Dublin completed and published by H. M. Stationery Office, A Guide to the Records Deposited in the Public Record Office of Ireland. A copy of this work is in the collection of the Genealogical Society of Utah and at the Society of Genealogists, London. This work is very useful in determining if a record of an event ever possibly existed. Knowing this before the search begins can provide the incentive to continue looking. For example, if you are looking for a will or parish register abstract for a year that was never recorded, hours of searching will be fruitless. If however, you first identify a person in the probate indexes, then you know for certain that a will or administration once existed.




Genealogical Office, Dublin


The Genealogical Office Manuscript collection comprises a large portion of the miscellaneous material available in the Genealogical Society of Utah. There are approximately two hundred microfilms in this collection containing various abstracts of parish registers, wills, pedigrees, directories, obituaries, and miscellaneous heraldic sketches. The Genealogical Society of Utah microfilmed this collection in two series. The first and larger portion was filmed in 1949-1950 (FHL microfilms #100,103 - 100,249). The second filming was done in 1959 (FHL microfilms 257,780 - 257,822).


This collection is cataloged by manuscript number under the card catalog heading "Ireland-Genealogy." The second filming obviously supplements the first filming and serves to fill in gaps. Both filmings were selective and did not film all of the manuscript numbers available. A brief description to most of the records is listed in the Guide to Manuscripts, Genealogical Office of Arms (FHL microfilm 928,034 item 1).


The pedigrees in this collection are indexed in a three volume work produced by the Genealogical Society of Utah (FHL microfilms 100,103 - 100,105). The manuscript numbers indexed in each of the three volumes are listed in the front of each volume after the title page. The manuscript numbers are listed in the left-hand column, but are not identifies as such.


National Library of Ireland


Manuscripts in the National Library of Ireland are indexed in Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation, edited by Richard J. Hayes. In addition to indexing the manuscripts in the National Library, the collections in all of the other major repositories are also included i.e. Public Record Office, Dublin (National Archives) and Northern Ireland; Marsh's Library; Trinity College Library; King's Inn Library; British Museum; Royal Irish Academy; Representative Church Body Library; and others. A supplement also indexes articles in periodicals. The work was published in 1965 and was exhaustive in compiling the known miscellaneous manuscripts available at the time. Documents which have come to light since that time are harder to identify since there isn't one singular source.




Albert E. Casey Collection


Covers counties Cork and Kerry. It contains extracts from parish registers, wills, marriages, emigrants and other miscellaneous source material. Mr. Casey was conducting epidemiology studies in these two counties and used this source material to compile genetic studies. There are fifteen volumes in the collection (FHL microfilms 823,801 - 823,809) with a one-volume index titled Index of O'Kief, Coshe Mang, Slieve Lougher, and Upper Blackwater in Ireland by Albert E. Casey, Eleanor L. Downey-Prince and Ursula Dietrich. There is also an annotated bibliography by Georgia V. Fleming-Haigh titled Ireland, The Abert E. Casey Collection and other Irish Materials in the Samford University Library.


Louise Howard Collection


This collection covers various counties. It includes a consolidated index to printed records i.e. the Diocese of Dublin Wills and Grant Books, Diocese of Ferns and Kildare Marriage Licenses taken from the County Kildare Archaeological Society. Alpha-betically arranged by surname in 10 volumes.


Volume Surname FHL Microfilm No.
Vol. 1 A - Burrow 538,138
Vol. 2 Burser - Deen 538,139
Vol. 3 Deering - Gedges 538,140
Vol. 4 Gee - Hutson 538,141
Vol. 5 Hutton - Maloy 538,142
Vol. 6 Malpas - Neynoe 538,143
Vol. 7 Nial - Row 538,144
Vol. 8 Rowan - Tippen 538,145
Vol. 9 Tipper - Zurhorst 538,146
Vol. 10 Supplements 538,147


Rosemary ffolliott Collection


This collection consists of items of genealogical interest taken from newpapers in counties Cord and Kerry. These biographical notices are for the years 1756-1827 and include a large number of obituaries. The collection of 4 volumes (1732pp.) is on FHL microfilm 537,921 Vol. 1-3 A-Po, and 537,922 Vol. 4 Pocock-Z with supplement. Rosemary ffolliott has transcribed a large collection of parish registers from the Cork area, but refuses to have them microfilmed. Some of the abstracts are published in the periodical she produced The Irish Ancestor, the complete run is now available on CD from Eneclann. For more information about The Irish Ancestor 1969-1986 or to order it online via a safe and secure shopping cart system, go to the Eneclann publications page.


Tenison Groves Collection (1863-1938) [scattered among many places]


This is a massive collection of over fifty rolls of microfilm and is both hand and typewritten. It covers various counties and holds numerous complete transcripts of muster rolls, householder's lists, extracts of wills, deeds, parish registers, and miscellaneous documents. One portion also contains an alphabetical list of families and a breakdown by county. (FHL microfilms 258,471 - 258,524).


Document Collection Public Record Office, Northern Ireland [card index, 



This collection is indexed by the Public Record Office. A new microfilming of the index was completed by the Genealogical Society of Utah in 1990. The index may be found in the Family History Library Catalog under the heading "Ireland - Probate Records - Indexes" although it is an index to many documents in addition to probate records.


This collection contains many miscellaneous manuscripts from various collections i.e. Crossle, Leslie, Corry, Arendale, Dobbins, Edmonds, Myles, Massereene, and Antrim. In addition, a large segment is devoted to the London Society of Genealogists (9 rolls). It also contains family histories, estate papers, vestry and parish records. This collection was microfilmed by the Genealogical Society of Utah in 1960. The staff of the Public Record Office, Northern Ireland continues to add to the 3 x 5 card index.


Philip Crossle Genealogical Collection (1875-1953)


This collection also covers various counties. It contains collections of other authors, for example: Smith papers which in turn includes lists of inhabitants for the city of Armagh for the year 1770; extracts from parish registers, chancery, wills, lists of gentry, etc. Indexes to the exchequer and chancery bills. Numerous extracts from the Registry of Deeds and an enormous amount of miscellaneous material. The microfilm numbers are not consecutive since this collection is spread over several record offices and was filmed at different times. (FHL microfilms 597,132 - 597,142; 597,099 - 597,102; 597,114 - 597,126; 596,881 - 596,886).


An Inventory of Genealogical Sources in the Irish Collection of the Family History Library, Salt Lake City


This collection was created by volunteers working in the collection of the Family History Library, Salt Lake City, Utah. A similar collection has also been compiled for England, Scotland and Wales. The collection has been microfiched. It has a general volume pertaining to sources for all of Ireland and a separate volume for each county. It is arranged 1) By subject; 2) By range of years, and; 3) By other references by subject. This listing of sources greatly supplements the earlier work done by Richard J. Hayes, Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation. A complete list of subjects is in the front of each volume. With the good collection of Irish periodicals in the Family History Library, this work annotates a number of sources that would otherwise be lost in the catalog.


Pieces Originales


The documents in this collection are in French [and document movement between Ireland and France]. The collection is without page numbers, but is alphabetically arranged. It contains original documents relating to Irish families, 13th-18th centuries. Obviously relates to mainly Irish families with ties to France. (FHL microfilms 100,803 - 100,813).


Cope Collection


Alphabetically arranged by surname, this collection encompasses seventy-five rolls of microfilm (FHL microfilms 517,003 - 517,078). Numerous entries relate to Irish families and their connections to Ireland. This collection has heavy Quaker content, but it is not exclusively Quaker. The time period seems to relate to 17th - 19th centuries. The collection was compiled in Pennsylvania and contains predominantly U.S. families with foreign places of origin sometimes stated.


Upton Papers


This collection covers various counties. It is mostly a collection of wills representing all of the probate courts. Additional miscellaneous extracts and printed works cover a variety of subjects. (FHL microfilms 101,011 - 101,015).




Collections are difficult at best to use, but sometimes hold the only promise to compensate for destroyed records. Key points to look for in collections are references to your specific counties, dioceses, or surnames. Just as researchers do today, many of these researchers would "name gather" all of the entries for a particular surname. Others would "theme gather" i.e. all of the clergy, or other occupations from a particular area. Others would collect all surnames from a particular locality, thus recording numerous wills, census and census substitutes for a given parish or county. [Arranged by Church of Ireland diocese: 1) Use F. Smith's by County; 2) use with Director of Irish Archives; 3) Search collections that are near your area of research, many overlap.]


We can thank many of the genealogists of this period for long hours of transcribing by hand these precious records. The photocopy machine was still many years away when their work was accomplished.


  1. Hunter, Dean J. "Irish Collection of the Genealogical Society of Utah," The Irish Genealogist Vol. 8, No. 4 (1993).
  2. O'Byrne, Eileen. "Betham and Lodge," Aspects of Irish Genealogy II. M.D. Evans, editor. Proceedings of the Second Irish Genealogical Congress (Dublin: IGC, 1996
  3. Phair, P. B. "Sir William Betham's Manuscripts," Analecta Hibernica 27 (1976).
  4. Rencher, David E. "The Tenison Groves Collection," The Irish At Home and Abroad Vol. 3, No. 3 (1995/6).
  5. Wight, Judith Eccles. "Dr. Albert E. Casey's Genealogical Collection: An Rx For County Cork and County Kerry Research," The Irish At Home and Abroad Vol. 3, No. 4 (1995/6).
  6. Wood, Herbert. A Guide to the Records Deposited in the Public Record Office of Ireland. Dublin: H. M. Stationery Office, 1919.