As you can see from one of my blog pages, I have an interest in emigration to Australia from East Clare, and in particular from Broadford, Parish of Kilseily. The Clare library site has been an invaluable tool in my research.
This week is Library Ireland Week with the slogan “Smart Libraries for Smart People” so this is an opportune time to post on why I am so in love with Clare County Library and the adjacent Local Studies Centre. While many Irish counties seem to give little thought to history and genealogy for those with Irish roots, Clare County Library has been making its presence known to those with Clare ancestry – and most amazingly in the Irish context, free-of-charge. Their forward-thinking deserves all the kudos it can get! http://www.clarelibrary.ie/index.htm
Over the past perhaps 10 years or so they have been steadily increasing the information available on their genealogy and history pages (but don’t forget to look at the others “tabs” available. http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/genealogy/genealog.htm and http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/coclare/history/intro.htm
This is another achievement for family history volunteers as much of what is on there has been transcribed by people around the world. Specified formats are used for each source and cross-checked prior to publication. This helps to ensure optimal accuracy. It also tends to mean that the people transcribing the records probably have a fairly good idea of the place names etc, and care whether they are right. These are not mass-indexed publications by people who have no idea of the people, names or places they’re indexing.
So what might you find on the library website? There are:
- An index to townlands in Clare
- An index to all Clare parishes
- Indexed Griffith Valuation records and Tithe Applotment records, searchable by name or parish
- Maps of the parishes throughout Clare as they apply to the above.
- Digitised copies of the Griffith Valuation maps that previously had to be viewed in Dublin
- Historical reference books of travel through Clare
- Information on the Great Famine
- The Bodyke and Kilrush evictions
- 1901 census data for Clare, searchable by name or parish
- Some graveyard transcriptions
- Some transcribed parish records (complete or partial). My only concern about these is whether there are publication or copyright issues around the transcriptions.
While some of this information has been overtaken by official government releases, or commercial organisations, this remains a free-to-view site. It really is a wonderful site for any with Clare ancestry, and could provide background information for other Irish research as well.
The Clare Local Studies Project (CLASP) has written a large number of the historical background “stories” for the library site but they have also printed books available to order, which can provide wonderful background information for your family. http://www.clarelibrary.ie/eolas/library/local-studies/clasp/index.htm. For example, Sable Wings over the Land highlights the impact of the Famine on one area.
There’s also some information detailing an action plan for those lucky enough to visit Clare and Ireland: http://www.ourlibrary.ca/phpbb2/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=1548. Paddy Casey’s tips are excellent and a great boon to anyone going to Ireland.
As a disclaimer, I have no official involvement in the Clare County Library, nor do I receive any benefit other than that available to all researchers. I just want to keep singing their praises! If your family come from other counties you are much less fortunate, sorry.