Awhile back, the National Archives of Ireland (NAI) launched a website specifically for researchers to use the 1901 and 1911 censuses of Ireland. Last week, NAI launched another new website, www.genealogy.nationalarchives.ie. The site represents NAI’s commitment to providing greater access to materials of interest to genealogists.
The new website points to smaller, individual sites that allow researchers to access original records. In addition to the census, there are sites for the Tithe Applotment Books and soldier’s wills.
The Tithe Applotment Books are a very valuable resource for pre-Famine Irish research. Between 1823, these books were compiled to facilitate the amount of money to be paid in tithe to the Church of Ireland. The tithes were a tax on agricultural produce. Because these books dealt with those who occupied agricultural land, those who lived in urban areas are not included. There is a book for almost every one of the civil parishes (which match the Church of Ireland parishes). The books provide the occupier, amount of land, and the tithe amount. Thus it is a substitute for a head-of-household census. The database is not only searchable, but can be browsed by location.
Another online collection consists of soldier’s wills. These wills are for soldiers who died in service to the British Army. Some date back to the South African War, which took place between 1899 and 1902. Most, however, are from World War I and date to 1917. Work is ongoing for the period 1918–1922, and NIA hopes to have them online in early 2013.
The best part of these databases is that they are not only searchable, but include images of the original records as well. And the best part is that this is all available for free! This is just the beginning of a plan by NAI to digitize all of the records in the collections of interest to genealogists and make them available to the public for free.