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Day 6 - The National Library of Ireland

The main reading room of the National Library of Ireland

Up today, the National Library. We're staying across the street from the Library so it's just a short walk. First things first...lockers. No coats, sweaters, bags, etc. are allowed in the Library. You can, however, take your computer, a notebook and pencil, and the papers you need with you. We had an orientation scheduled for 9:15 with Niamh from the Library and Christina from the Genealogy Advisory Service.

Niamh shared the general information about the Library such as how to use the catalog and order material. This is a closed stack library so you need to order any material you wish to use. There are two reading rooms...the main reading room (above) and the manuscript reading room which is at 2/3 Kildare...just down the block. Manuscripts have to be ordered 24 hours in advance, so if your traveling and will only be in Dublin for a short time, you can order before you leave home. You can specify the date and time you want the materials available. You can order without having a Reader's Ticket, but you will need to obtain the Ticket before you pick up your material. Most of the books, journals, newspapers (microfilm) can be ordered for the same day, but are only fulfilled at specific times.

Christina reviewed the information about the Genealogy Advisory Service which is on the mezzanine level. There are computers there with various resources and databases. For example if you don't have a FindMyPast subscription or the Irish Newspaper Archive, it's great to be able to use those resources for free. They also have general genealogy resources such as John Grenham's Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, Tracing Your _______(name your county) Ancestors and other frequently used general resources. These computers are for patron access to the databases provided and you will not be able to use them for personal access (no email, social networking or logging onto sites not listed).

After a tour of the reading room, researchers were ready to jump in. First stop for the first timers, was the Reader's Ticket Office. You fill in an online form and they take a picture and you get your Reader's Ticket. You should also ask for Internet access and a password to use the Library Wi-Fi (unfortunately, it was down today).

If you are going to come to Ireland to research, I'd encourage you to use the resources of the Library or other archives and not spend the entire time on the databases you can access from home. There's may be a reason to use the databases; perhaps you've identified a new family member and you want to look up their civil or church records and that's fineI. On the other hand, the estate records for your ancestor's landlord are not going to be online or accessible from home...spend your time on the records that are only here. If your ancestors came from Timoleague in Cork, Tracing Your Irish Ancestors lists A history of Timoleague and Barryroe with a National Library call number Ir 941. Will it name your ancestor? Maybe or perhaps it will tell something about what life was like when your ancestor lived there. It might discuss the landlord in the area and provide you with an additional source to research. It will probably be more worthwhile than searching the same database you've searched in the past, with the same "not found" results. (Did you check to see if the records survive for the timeframe?)

Happy Hunting!

Someone asked me why I always use the same picture for the National Library. I took the picture many years ago, and no photography is now allowed in the Reading Room.😀

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