Sunday, August 2, 2015

Mike & Mary Ever After: 2 August 1954

Today, on what would have been their 61st wedding anniversary, I fondly review images from their wedding as I remember our mother and father, Mike and Mary, lovebirds for all time. You are both much missed and remembered with love and laughter.

On her father's arm, Mary Ball and the stroll into St. Patrick's Church, Ringsend, Dublin.
The marriage ceremony as viewed from the choir loft of the church.
Now husband and wife - Michael and Mary Geraghty
From left to right:
John Geraghty (Dad's brother), Michael Geraghty (my dad), Mary Ball (my mam), Kate Ball (Mary's sister).
After the church wedding, the very serious business of signing the register.
It's time to celebrate.
At their wedding breakfast, the cutting of the cake.
Family all together, outside St. Patrick's Church, Ringsend, Dublin, Ireland


Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Tuesday's Tip: The NLI Parish Registers & IFHF: Working in tandem

The National Library of Ireland, Dublin City, County Dublin.
No doubt the launch of the National Library of Ireland's Roman Catholic Parish Registers website has elicited reactions running the gamut from joy to despair for researchers mining the registers for ancestors and other relations. If you have access to the website of the Irish Family History Foundation (IFHF), a.k.a. Roots Ireland, then you may find using the site in tandem with the parish registers swings the pendulum of your emotions more toward the side of joy.

Over the years I have been fortunate to have had many opportunities to consult the microfilm in person at the National Library in Dublin, and in doing so have been able to trace my maternal tree back to the 1740s. Although the poor condition of some registers remains a nightmare in terms of the search — using the inverse image function makes them a little more legible — I am grateful to have the registers now so easily accessible online. Sitting at my desk in the comfort of my office, with a nice steaming 'cuppa' tea in hand, while negotiating my way around the wonderfully intuitive site, makes searching a most pleasant task.

Online access also makes it possible to view the digitized microfilm images of the registers in tandem with the transcriptions of the IFHF, simply by opening a second window on the browser on my Mac. Where possible, comparing the original images with the transcriptions has proven to be a worthwhile exercise. Be sure to look in the lower left hand corner of pages for parish registers, where the NLI wisely makes note of the Roots Ireland [IFHF] and the Irish Times Ancestors websites, as well as, as aids for collaborative consultation when possible.

Look for this in the lower left hand corner of any given parish register page.
The lack of images of original records accompanying the transcriptions has always been my biggest gripe with the Roots Ireland site. The fact is I know my own skill set when it comes to research and transcription, and know my strengths as well as weaknesses when it comes to interpreting data. However, I've never had a clear idea about the skills of those who provide the transcriptions to the IFHF, so have long wanted to see the images next to the transcriptions, just as they are for the most part on

In the course of comparing parish register entries to IFHF transcriptions, since the inception of the IFHF site, I have come across numerous transcription errors. Recently, I found one in which the transcription notes the date of baptism as 30 May 1851 and the date of birth as 2 July 1859 for one Bridget Geraghty. As powerful as the Catholic Church was in days of yore, I am quite certain even they were not capable of baptising Baby Geraghty 8 years before she was born.

Given the fact that transcribers are still of the human variety, these kinds of errors are to be expected. However, being able to compare the parish register entries with the IFHF transcription offers the reassurance of getting a more accurate picture. The parish register entry for Bridget Geraghty bears this out. It reveals 2 July 1859 as Bridget's date of baptism, and in fact, offers no date of birth at all. The other details match those of the transcription.

While continuing to search the registers on the trail of other delights, where possible I will consult the entries in concert with the IFHF transcriptions, all the while being well and truly grateful to the National Library of Ireland for delivering on their promise.

Have you used the Roots Ireland site, or another site, in tandem with the NLI parish registers site?

What has been your experience so far on the NLI site?

Some transcriptions conjure up odd images.

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