07 February 2010

IRISH GENEALOGY PROJECT (IGP): Bookmark it NOW, Check it often!

I have a personal pet peeve about genealogy talks and articles that list ten or so record groups that would surely break my brick walls (as if I were a less than diligent researcher and simply forgot to look for a death certificate!). You know the list--census, wills, birth/marriage/death records, etc--most likely, we researchers have already checked those sources twice, if not a hundred times (as well we should!). As I noted in a previous post, Irish research IS different. For most Irish researchers outside of the Emerald Isle, finding the county/townland of origin is the key to jumping over the pond and finding ancestors in Irish records. I have rarely found an Irish family researcher who found the townland of origin by plodding through the usual American records.
On the contrary, most of us Irish researchers are rabid for the odd list--the census substitutes, the headstone transcriptions, the newspaper abstracts. And no website is a more valuable general online resource for the Irish researcher of any skill level than the IRISH GENEALOGY PROJECT (link is posted below). Not only does it have a huge collection of the "odd lists," it is a wonderful website for the beginning researcher to explore. In my Irish basics class, I urge all beginners to explore the IGP immediately, and I remind experienced researchers to check it regularly, because the IGP content is updated constantly.
One recent update to a newspaper collection in the IGP archives (see the "Repealers List" link below) has resulted in major research breakthroughs for two researchers of whom I am aware. That is quite a quite a feat in my small pond and makes me wonder how many people around the world have made breakthroughs using the IGP.
It is hard to describe in a blog posting the huge amount of resources available on the IGP websites. My advice would be to begin exploring the county sites first, then peruse the archives. Take your time, and do not forget to bookmark pages you want to check regularly for updates.
Christina Finn Hunt, one of the website's fantastic administrators, says that the aim of the IGP is "to provide Ireland with a resource akin to the USGenWeb Archives....Of course, our main thrust is to add information coming from Irish records. There is more out there than people might think."
Recent updates to the archives include such treasures as three 1803 ship lists, Co. Donegal and Co.  Laois landowners in the 1870's, Co. Kerry marriages, plus cemetery listings in Dublin, Co. Limerick, Co. Waterford, and Co. Westmeath.  Rhode parish, Co. Offaly, baptisms are another recent addition.
Christina reminded me to alert researchers that we, too, can help the IGP to help us: "Please encourage people to contribute items from their own research. Even a record for the wrong person might help someone else. We can use things like obits from the US if they name the county or town in Ireland the person came from."
Contributing to the IGP is easy. There are submission forms on the website.
I want to thank the IGP for the work they do, and also, to thank Christina for taking the time to educate me about the IGP.
Here are the links to the IGP:
Main IGP County site: http://www.igp-web.com/
Link to the IGP archives: http://www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/index.htm
Link to newspapers containing lists of "Repealers" in the US who supported Daniel O'Connell's campaign for the Repeal of the Act of Union (which formed the United Kingdom): http://www.igp-web.com/IGPArchives/ire/countrywide/news.htm