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The National Archives and More

National Archives of Ireland, Bishop Street

Our second day of research began with the National Archives of Ireland. Located on Bishop Street (it's sometimes hard to find) it holds primarily Government records for Ireland, although it does have a collection of some donated Private Records. I had arranged for Probate packages (Wills and Administrations, referred to as Admons) to be available for various researchers. The materials, primarily after 1900 (since earlier material was destroyed in the Fire) are kept at Four Courts, so you need to order at least 2 days in advance. The Calendar of Wills, 1858-1920 is on the National Archives website, but you can search the index for material after 1920 in the Reading Room (remember, it takes 2 days to get them). Some people ordered the more recent wills to be delivered on Thursday or Friday.

The Archives close from 1 - 2 for lunch. Some people returned to the Archives for the afternoon; some went to the Representative Church Body Library (about a 20 minutes bus ride from the city); and another group headed to the General Register Office to pick up Civil Records (not yet available online). If you are planning a trip to the GRO, make sure you stay up to date on their Website. I did the schedule for this trip in August when the latest information was the GRO was open only in the morning, Monday - Friday. They took the entire month of August off, and when I got back on the site, they had changed the schedule to Tuesday only. You can also order online from the GRO in Roscommon, but you need to know the Year, Quarter, Registration District, Volume and Page number. If the event is prior to 1958 and not online at, you can get the index information from FamilySearch, otherwise, you need to research the volumes at the GRO (which costs €5 for five years) and then purchase the registration for an additional €5.

Here are some of the comments from Tuesday.

From Kelsey:

Today we went to the National Archives and the GRO. My favorite part was the Archives! When I was looking in one of the miscellaneous surname records index, I came across a card that really only listed 4 names, but I immediately knew what the record was just by looking at the names! I had seen a particular incident in a few different newspapers from Sligo that involved potential ancestors and I remembered their names. Seeing them listed on that card made me remember the article. Sure enough when I got the microfilm back, it was about the exact incident. Even though I’m not sure if they are my ancestors or not, the experience felt like Christmas! I can’t wait to get back to the Archives later this week.


Found the surname Mead on a list at the National Archives of those in need of famine relief that accompanied a letter to Dublin seeking further assistance for the wanting poor. At the VO did not strike gold, but gathered further information to evaluate.

Anne had a good day and also sent a picture of the Orientation with Archivist, Brian Donnelly.

Today was a busy and exciting research day. I felt a bit rushed and overwhelmed at The National Archives and yet I enjoyed delving into its resources. My highlight, though, was my time this afternoon at the Valuation Office. Ever since first hearing about the Revision books, it’s been my goal to see them for myself and today I did just that! I found it fascinating to be able to trace the change in tenancy for my ancestors’ homes and try to keep track of the dates with the varied colored inks. Tomorrow morning’s task will be to match the changes to what I know about marriages and deaths.

Marion was one of the participants that visited the Representative Church Body Library in Braemor Park. (Church of Ireland Library)

Thank you for arranging for our visit yesterday to the RCBL. Transportation to the library was as simple as you described. We spent 2.5 hrs there with kind assistance from their staff. We found a burial record from 1705, a reference to a relative in the Vestry books, and satisfying results in the St. Mary’s of Kilkenny Cess books, which act as both a city directory and an assessment of economic status. In the morning, we had great results at the NA: a will that validated our family tree, and letters between our Kilkenny relative and the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland. Already strategizing for a return trip next spring to the NA!

Happy Hunting!

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