One often overlooked source is the vestry minutes produced by the local Church of Ireland. Historically the vestries were committees responsible for the upkeep of churches and welfare of all the people within the parish boundaries irrespective of religion. These can provide much personal detail about who lived where.
As manuscript books, they are usually not indexed, and in theory are arranged chronologically. They are business minutes of the parish, and can include a wide range of data. The parish committees or vestries prior to the disestablishment of the church in 1871, acted as a local council. They levied taxes for general services such as the upkeep of roads, poor relief, and security.
The record keeping process varies from parish to parish. Some are very neatly kept and chronological in order. Others are haphazard in nature as if thrown together, with a poor dating system to mark off new days, months or even years.
At times the minutes have vital information in them. Sometimes they can include rare items such as emigration lists, property owners and ratepayers. There are sometimes parish censuses.
Some vestry minutes were deposited at the Public Record Office prior to 1922 simply because they did contain vital information in them. However, most were not deposited, which may make them the main Anglican collections left for a given parish.
An excellent collection of the vestry minutes can be found at the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland in Belfast: www.proni.gov.uk and the Representative Church Body Library in Dublin: www.ireland.anglican.org Each have their own online catalogs.
Leave a Reply
You must be logged in to post a comment.