At an event on the 3rd July attended by representatives of CIGO, the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan TD, launched a database index to Ireland’s civil registration records. The database covers all civil records from 1845 (when registration first began) right up to 2013 – encompassing all non-Catholic marriages from April 1845 and all births, deaths and marriages from January 1864.
Achieving this was one of CIGO’s primary aims at the time it was founded in 1992 and yesterday’s announcement by Mr Deenihan vindicates CIGO’s long years of lobbying the Department of Health (which originally had oversight of the General Register Office) and the Department of Social Welfare (which assumed responsibility at the time of the passing of the Civil Registration Act 2004).
The index entries in the database are “enhanced” because they note more information that those currently available in the GRO’s Public Search Room or those that were microfilmed by the Church of Latter Day Saints in 1959 (and which are now available through FamilySearch.org, Ancestry.com and Findmypast.ie). A good explanation of what information is provided can be found here at Irish Genealogy News.
However, a word of caution, on Social Media sites some queries have been raised about the new database and its accuracy. Particularly, this has been where in the original hardcopy indexes a birth, marriage or death entry noted more than one first name. In the new online database only the first name appears and this is a big drawback where a researcher is trying to identify one possible record from among many with the same name (Mary Murphy for instance!).
On a happier note, even more exciting news is that at the launch the Minister for Social Protection (and since yesterday, the leader of the Labour Party), Joan Burton TD, announced that the publication of the long awaited Civil Registration Amendment Bill will take place soon and that among various measures will be one to allow the publication online of “historic” civil registration records. She intends that scanned images will be made available of birth records registered more than 100 years old, marriages more than 75 years ago and deaths more than 50 years. Again, more detailed information about this story can be read here at Irish Genealogy News.
All-in-all, Thursday 3rd July was a good day for CIGO: one more of the issues it has long lobbied for having been delivered and another one promised.
Here is the link to the new Civil Record database:http://www.irishgenealogy.ie/en/