Wednesday, March 16, 2016
There's been a different kind of "going green" this month—and no, while the environment is a worthy consideration, this has nothing to do with ecological sustainability.
Perhaps it's on account of the marketing possibilities of thirty-some-odd million Americans claiming Irish descent combined with the upcoming Saint Patrick's Day festivities.
A flurry of press releases on genealogy blogs earlier this month gave us some clues, with offers of free access to Irish records at Find My Past and Ancestry—well, at least the United Kingdom version of Ancestry. While some offers expired as early as March 7, some are still out there to be grabbed.
The instigation behind it all may possibly be such accomplishments as the indexing of those Catholic Parish records, which in digitized (but, alas, not searchable) form made their appearance first on the website of the National Library of Ireland. Though all a-buzz over the immense opportunity digitally served up to us by that release last summer, most people realized even then that we've become a spoiled bunch, we online researchers. We've come to expect a name entry plus a click of a mouse to serve up instant results.
And so, my observation quite some time back still serves me well: if at first you don't find what you're seeking on your favorite genealogical website, try, try again. It may be a matter of mere months before someone puts that file within your digital reach.
Working on my presentation regarding John Tully, I didn't want to limit myself to only his Irish records, so while I was in the neighborhood, I decided to check out the most recent hints for our other Irish kin. I was rewarded with this second peek, at least in the case of Johanna Falvey, wife of John Kelly of County Kerry, whose eldest daughter became mother of my husband's other policeman great-grandfather, John Kelly Stevens. Courtesy of Ancestry.com, I was brought straight to the likely image of the marriage record for John Kelly and Johanna Falvey in March, 1859. Rather than rely on some kind soul to decipher the chicken scratch on the record, I can now look at it for myself and decide whether this is the best fit.
That Ancestry.com and Find My Past both put out announcements of their new releases nearly simultaneously at the beginning of the month makes it seem as if there is a race to the finish line for these competitors. Although at some point these companies may realize that specialization rather than competition may be the most viable survival tactic, for now, this trend can only benefit the Irish-heritage researcher.
One can hope that this will be the trigger that releases a cascade of resources for those researching other ethnicities as well, even if the celebrations are not as widespread for Sainte Geneviève or Saint Urho as they are for Saint Patrick.
Above: The March 1859 marriage record for John Kelly and Johanna Falvey, second entry in the month, from the Catholic parish in Kilcummin, County Kerry; courtesy National Library of Ireland via Ancestry.com.