As mentioned in a previous blog post I am preparing to go to Ireland to do research this Fall. Since my first stop will be Belfast my main focus at the moment has been on the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland – PRONI.
They have a great website and an e-catalogue that I have been searching. The other online catalogue being searched is Sources at the National Library of Ireland because they have some information in that database that can be found in PRONI.
When you do research in Ireland you need to research in Dublin, Belfast, England and sometimes Scotland for your Irish ancestors. They may not have lived in all those places but records pertaining to them may be found in the repositories of these countries.
Sources is the online version of the Hayes Manuscripts. In the early 1940s Richard Hayes started an indexing and cataloguing project that would encompass 30 countries. He was going to source all the documents that related to Ireland and have a single place to search for them. You can read more about it here.
Thanks to Richard Hayes we have a wonderful resource to search for records relating to Ireland and her people. The records could be found in repositories around the world including PRONI. A search of several surnames provided links to documents I want to examine at PRONI.
Now I only have one full day and several hours to do research at PRONI. There is no way to get a readers ticket prior to my visit. Therefore there is no way to pre-order documents I want to examine before I actually get there.
When I get to PRONI I will be researching with military precision so that I can access all the information I need. Just to double check I emailed PRONI and they confirmed that there was no way to pre-order copies before my visit. Copies can be ordered and mailed to me but there is a £15.50 search fee plus copy charges for every document I want copied. Since the exchange rate is not very good at the moment this option is financially unfeasible.
In the reading room five documents can be ordered at a time and it takes 20 minutes to get the documents. Reading the website I have learned that a photocopy order form will have to be filled out for each document. Once the copies are ordered the next five documents can be requested. Since there is 20 minutes to wait for the orders to arrive the forms can be filled out while I’m waiting.
To date I have about 27 documents to view and about 10 microfilms to search. The documents are almost certainly related to my family. This can be deduced from the catalogue reference description. The microfilms are church records and finding something is less certain.
So my research plan for PRONI is almost complete. All that is left is to tidy up the cutting and pasting I have been doing from the online catalogues. This is a great way to make sure you have all the right information to order the documents.
Next are the research plans for the Dublin repositories!
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