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Day 8 - The Registry of Deeds

Paul Gorry with researchers Barbara and Joan in front of the Registry of Deeds

The Registry of Deeds began operation in 1708 and records not only land deeds, conveyances marriage settlements, mortgages among other documents. There was never a requirement to file a deed so it does not represent every transaction. It was mostly used when there was the possibility of a legal action in the future. The vast majority of the records, especially in the early years was for Protestants. You might find your Catholic ancestors mentioned in the mid to late 19th and 20th century.

Paul Gorry, met four researchers there today to explain and assist in the use of these records. There are two sets of indexes...a Grantor index and a Placename Index. There is no Grantee index. Once you find a entry of interest in one of the indexes, you need to take down the year, volume, memorial number and page, and then go to another set of books to find the memorial (which is a transcription of the document).

Since not everyone needs to go to the Deeds, the rest of the researchers were off at various repositories they visited earlier in the week.

Here are some highlights of the trip.

Hi Donna. I would like to share with you my  exciting find at the NAI. Filling in time waiting for another requested file to be delivered, I perused the filing boxes on the side wall.  A label caught my eye...”Memorandums to Chief Secretary.“ Worth a look as I had read previous Memorandums in Australian Convict Records.  And there I found a file card for a letter to the Governor of Ireland, the Marquis of Wellesly  from Mary Wooll.  The letter still intact after 198 years was her begging the Governor to grant clemency for her husband sentenced to Transportation to Australia for life. He had changed a 1 pound note to a 5 pound note and was caught by authorities.  Mary described her husband as a good man, the father of 7 children. She wrote that the children were starving and recently had Typhus.

  In spite of the letter James Wooll was transported in 1825.  But I do know the happy ending of the story.  James was sent to work for a land owner who treated him fairly. The landowner petitioned the governor of the colony for James Wooll’s family to be sent to join him. They arrived 5 years later. The daughters all married well and James and Mary lived comfortably until old age. Mary my great, great grandmother died at 91.

Thus without being on this trip I would have never seen this letter and would have not known the beginning of the story.  Thank you for your help.  Glenis Hickey


I'm having such a great time here. I really appreciate Donna's 'hand-holding' with experience with directions and most especially, with how to successfully navigate the repositories and arranging orientations too.

Monday I found a signature for my great-great-grandfather at the RCBL. Fun to discover that he signed his name with the O (in O'Harrigan) in 1860 -- not all records spell it that way! The Valuation Office Wednesday was particularly successful and valuable. I discovered previously unknown kin who shared rented plots after the Griffith's valuation, and learned when my ancestors left the area too.

Can't wait to see what today's research brings! Ann Raymont


I have some additional stories I'll share tomorrow.

This evening the group had an evening of music and storytelling at the Brazen Head Pub...the oldest pub in Dublin. A good time was had by all.

Happy Hunting!

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