RCB Library Acquisitions: A Resource for Local and Family History

Each year, the RCB Library’s managing committee – the Library and Archives Committee – delivers an annual report of the Library’s recent activities and developments to the General Synod, the governing body of the Church of Ireland.  The report includes a detailed appendix of all of the acquisitions that came into the Library’s custody and were processed throughout the previous year. This is broken down under the following headings: parish records; cathedral records; diocesan papers; records of the General Synod and RCB and their respective committees; and finally manuscripts.

Now that the annual report for 2018, including the detailed list, has been received and published (following the General Synod held in Derry/Londonderry in May), the Library is particularly keen to promote those materials that may be of value for local and family history. So the focus here includes the summary list of the parish records received during 2018 – an unprecedented 82 collections, many of them from parishes that had not previously transferred collections before and also including several parishes in Northern Ireland, which is a most welcome development.

The Representative Church Body Library, Churchtown, Dublin 14

When new materials come into the Library, they are accessed and listed. For parish materials, there is a hand-list for each one, each with a unique identity number. As and from September 2019, a total of 1,159 collections of parish records in the Library and each of their corresponding hand-lists are available to download through the Library’s colour-coded List of Parish Registers available at this link: www.ireland.anglican.org/about/rcb-library/list-of-parish-registers

This master list originated through a collaboration between the Library and the Irish Genealogical Research Society (IGRS), resulting in the production of a simple-to-follow listing, to account for which parish registers survive, and where they are held – whether by the Library, by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), or in local custody, with the additional benefit of live links to online copies and transcripts.

An excerpt from the RCB Library’s colour-coded List of Parish Registers.

The re-launch of this resource was covered here in August 2016 (http://bit.ly/2ZruZvz) when the List was widely acclaimed by the research community.  Additionally, it is kept up-to-date by RCB Library staff who have enhanced its value by uploading the detailed Library hand-list of each parish collection in its custody, thereby enabling researchers to both view and download the Library collection master lists as PDFs. When a new collection is received or additional materials are added to existing collections, the lists are updated and re-loaded.

The Library continues to be proactive in encouraging local clergy to transfer non-current records from their local provenance to the Library’s permanent and secure centralised custody and to date during 2019, has received records from 42 different parishes, island-wide, all of which are accounted for from the master colour-coded list. Now in the new online presentation, to enable the research community to focus on some of the recent acquisitions, the summary of the intake for 2018 is listed alphabetically by parish union or group (including their diocese), highlighting the extent of the materials that have been processed and listed. A similar list will be made available for 2019 at a later stage, once it has been reported to General Synod in the Library’s annual report for 2020.