Book Review: Irish Family History Resources Online by Chris Paton

Irish Family History Resources Online, 2nd ed. by Chris Paton

Irish Family History Resources Online. By Chris Paton. Published by Unlock the Past, P.O. Box 675, Modbury, SA 5092, Australia. 2011. 75 pp. Illustrations, index. Softcover. AUS$19.50.

Online access to indexes and images is growing rapidly for Irish research, often with the same sets of records being available in multiple locations. This book is an expanded adaption of a lecture Mr. Paton gives, it shows and I loved the format and writing style.

The book begins by discussing records to identify who the Irish were, specifically: civil registration; church records; burial records; wills and probate; biographical databases and heraldry. It moves on to examine where the Irish were: censuses; street directories; land records; maps and gazetteers. Further sections address the major archives and libraries, newspapers and books, and a final catchall section covering: gateway sites; military, police and law; emigration; and some miscellaneous sites. The book is not a listing of websites.

So what makes this book different and so useful? Unlike many Irish research books that describe what the records are and contain, this book clearly presents how to search and use the records. For example, in the section on Civil Registration the book clearly shows how to access the indexes using FamilySearch and Ancestry, what different information each provides. It continues by showing how to use the information provided to obtain a certificate or photocopy of the registered birth, marriage or death event through different avenues, with clear suggestions on cheaper alternatives. For the section on Church Records the book online identifies resource guides, commercial and free websites, often outlining their specific strengths, contents, limitations, costs and search techniques.

Throughout the book there are numerous clear color screen captures of numerous websites giving it a lot of visual appeal. All web addresses are in bold so they stand out in the text making them easy to locate and retype into your own browser. The book is also well indexed by subject and location.

This is a book that I intend to keep close and handy to my computer. It is a very practical guide to Irish online research with lots of good practical suggestions.

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