Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Derry records go online

The records for County Londonderry (Derry) are now online through the Irish Family History Foundation website:

The Irish Family History Foundation is pleased to announce the availability of the records of Derry ~ Londonderry Genealogy covering the parishes and districts of County Derry on its Online Research Service (ORS). This adds another 0.8 million more baptismal, birth, death, marriage, and census records to our online database. The total number of records now searchable online is 16.2 million.

Just go to the following site and login using your existing IFHF login details.

Happy days - marred only by the continued high cost of the records at five Euros each, though you can narrow down the options both by using the index at Emerald Ancestors (
www.emeraldancestors.com) and the LDS online indices for Irish statutory records, at http://pilot.familysearch.org/recordsearch/start.html#p=collectionDetails;c=1408347.

With this release, all the counties of Northern Ireland are now available, with only one Ulster county still to be uploaded, being the records for County Monaghan. However, be advised that the collection for each county is not complete.

UPDATE: I have done a search for the name Watton in this collection, one of my ancestral lines, and have realised that the collection is woefully incomplete, but let's go with what is there. There are 88 Watton birth records at 5 Euros each. The total to view them is therefore a staggering 440 Euros, at an equivalent cost in Sterling of about £385.

At the ScotlandsPeople centre I can view 88 equivalent Scottish records in about an hour - total cost just £10 (yes, not a typo, just ten pounds), unlimited access for a day. These are fully digitised and fully indexed records going back to 1553, not transcripts. If I access these same records on the external site, that is £1.20 per record = £105.60. No doubt the response to that would be "go to ScotlandsPeople then!", but they of course do not have the Irish records.

However, the GRO at Roscommon (http://www.groireland.ie/) does have the statutory birth and death records for the north from 1864 up to 1922, and marriages from 1845 to 1922. It charges 6 Euros per record, and for this you don't get transcriptions, but copies of the original records themselves. If you can be patient, and are willing to use the LDS index, I would suggest you might possibly get better value for your money.

It is a pity when Ireland has set a new benchmark that is the envy of the UK, with free access to census records and other materials for the north via PRONI, that the country's family history community (north and south) still appears to view its customers with such low regard in charging such high prices.

One can get hoarse saying it, but if they lowered their prices, their income would surely increase - how more satisfying would it be to pay 5 euros and to get two records for that cost than just one? More importantly, how much more customer loyalty and positive press would the IFHF get for that, in what is a time of recession affecting everyone?

IFHF, please speculate to accumulate - lower your prices and welcome in the hordes of happy customers...! It is honestly not rocket science.


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