Monday, August 25, 2014

Irish Genealogy website closes access to records

The Irish government closed part of its genealogy website last month, after the country's data protection commissioner warned that potentially sensitive personal details were available to all.
Irish Genealogy, a website created by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, offered people born or married in Ireland the ability to search for civil records such as birth certificates as part of their research into their heritage. But those records contain data such as dates of birth and mothers' maiden names, information which is frequently used as security questions for accounts such as online banking. That information is not legally defined as "sensitive" under Irish data protection law, but the commission stepped in to prevent the data anyway.
Billy Hawkes, the Irish data protection commissioner, said his office had been consulted on the site, but that it had not been made clear that the information available would be contemporary as well as historical.
The information contained on the website has always been publicly available, but before online access to civil records was turned on, it had required payment of a fee to get a copy of an individual record. But online, free searches offered the potential of malicious actors bulk downloading data in an effort to match up information with records from other sources.
The site, which only launched the search on Thursday 3 July, now notes that "Civil Records Search [is] temporarily unavailable … Further update will be provided."
In March 2013, when the Irish Genealogy site launched, it focused on historical records, offering users the ability to search the 1901 and 1911 censuses.

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Teapot Genealogy

Kaye Vernon & Billie Jacobsen, of Teapot Genealogy, have been indexing original New South Wales Archives records for over a decade, and have now created a searchable database covering all their work. You can now perform a name search across their entire database. Their resources include:
Individual indexes for each resource are available in CD format and are held at Manly Library. Kaye & Billie provide a range of research services, so it is worthwhile checking out their website

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

More on FamilySearch's Indexing Day

A follow-up on the FamilySearch International Indexing Day –
A new record was set with 66,511 volunteers participating. While there was a minimum requirement for participation - a single batch of indexing or arbitration work - it is appears that many volunteers continued working throughout the day as they produced the second-highest combined (indexed or arbitrated) total of submitted records at just over 5.7 million, which is a monumental crowd-sourcing effort. So now is the time to check FamilySearch again with nearly 6 million records recently indexed.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Worldwide Indexing Day

FamilySearch will run its next ‘worldwide indexing day’ on Monday July 21. This has been held for the past few years and is intended to inspire many to start indexing, while also prompting existing indexers to do a little more (at least on that day). FamilySearch, on average adds about 500,000 images to their website a week, and through their current volunteer indexers they get about a million entries indexed in the same timeframe. A single scanned image might have one name on it, or it might have fifty names on it – it simply depends on the type of document, so you’ll see that there’s a whole lot of indexing that needs doing. Worldwide indexing day runs for 24 hours and starts on Sunday July 20, 6pm MDT time in the US, which for us here in Australia translates to Monday July 21, 10am (AEST).

If you are interested in indexing, you don’t have to wait to the last minute to get involved. You can get started right away. Go to and find a project that interests you and get involved. Do some practicing before the July 21, 2014 Indexing Event.

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First World War Graves

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has just launched two new websites to make it easier for families to find relatives killed in the first world war, including the release of 300,000 original documents. The documents include details of personal headstone inscriptions, date of death, rank, and regiment. Some will give details of the journey of the deceased to their final resting place. They can be seen on the CWCG website. The commission's new Discover 14-18 microsite is designed to enable the public to visit the memorial sites more easily. The site will also feature a timeline and calendar of events and major battles of the first world war. The commission is responsible for marking and caring for more than 1.7m war graves. It operates in over 23,000 locations in 153 countries across all continents except for Antarctica.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Irish Census Records

Thousands of Irish census documents, many dating back to the early 19th Century, have been made available to the public online for the first time. The vast majority of pre-1922 records were destroyed in the Irish Civil War by a fire at the Public Record Office, but some of the documents that survived the fire, and others held elsewhere, have now been collated and put online. They include partial census records from 1821 to 1851, a substantial amount from counties now in Northern Ireland. Surviving documents from the 1821 census include household returns from large parts of County Fermanagh. Many of the 1831 census records for County Londonderry have survived, and a substantial amount of 1851 census documents from County Antrim also remain intact. Most of them are not the original documents, but are contemporaneous copies of census forms archived in offices in what later became Northern Ireland. The surviving documents had previously been available to order from the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) but they have now been published online, to access free of charge, by the National Archives of Ireland, which undertook the project in partnership with genealogical companies, FindMyPast and FamilySearch. In total, the newly available documentation relates to more than 600,000 individuals on the island of Ireland. Many of the records are from the years leading up to the Irish famine, which is reckoned to have killed nearly one-eighth of the entire population.
For people of Irish descent, tracing their family roots is notoriously difficult because of a series of documentation disasters. Full government censuses for the whole island of Ireland began in 1821 and continued at ten-year intervals until 1911. No census was taken in 1921, because of the Irish War of Independence. However, many of the records were completely destroyed prior to 1922, by order of the British government, on grounds of confidentiality. The original census returns for 1861 and 1871 were destroyed shortly after they were taken. Documents from the 1881 and 1891 censuses were pulped during the First World War. The majority of the returns for the four censuses carried out between 1821 and 1851 were destroyed by a major fire at the Public Record Office of Ireland. When the Irish Civil War began in June 1922, the government-owned building based at Dublin's Four Courts was among the first casualties. Almost all of the records it held, some dating back to medieval times, were destroyed in bomb explosions that set fire to the office on 30 June of that year.
As a result, the 1901 and 1911 Irish censuses are the only pre-partition censuses to survive in comprehensive form. Census records are normally kept confidential and only released 100 years after the original surveys were completed. However, because so many Irish census documents have been destroyed, the 100-year rule was suspended and the public were given early access to the 1901 and 1911 censuses. Further information and other related stories can be found at

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Biographical Database of Australia

             The Biographical Database of Australia  (BDA) is a new genealogical resource which is now up and running with over 500,000 records on line already. This new research tool for historians and genealogists comprises transcripts and indexes of many original records and published biographies of deceased individuals who arrived in or were born in Australia, starting from the earliest times. This first release contains convict, muster, census, baptism, marriage and burial manuscript records for most of the New South Wales population 1788-1828, for Norfolk Island and Tasmania 1802-1811, and many immigrant and convict records from 1829-1837 along with full text of short biographies of 11,000+ residents of most colonies/states published 1881-1907. You can search the indexes for Free to see if this database is of use to you. This is a not-for-profit project, but there is a small annual subscription of $25 for access to the records. That is cheaper than one certificate from BDM.
Records of life events are linked to create a Biographical Report. From one report, subscribers can hyperlink to another biography to spouses, parents, children, witnesses, employers, employees and so on, through the entire database. (SAMPLE) . Future stages of BDA will add data from all states and territories, expanding from early records towards the present, including Aboriginal people, convicts and immigrants of all nations.

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