Irish family history research can be difficult and time-consuming because of the lack of records. The biggest stumbling block is the lack of complete census records before 1901 although other records do exist. One such set of records is the Irish Pension Records. A new web site now has transcriptions of the hand-written Pension Records available for a fee.
Appropriately named Ireland Genealogy, the web site contains extracts from the pension application forms (green forms) that give essential information from the 1841 & 1851 censuses for the whole of Ireland. These pension records are only available on microfilm and are held in the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (in Belfast) and The National Archives (in Dublin). In some cases they are difficult to read and are in no particular order. The pension records were hand written, and in many cases the handwriting is very difficult to decipher. This, coupled with the fact that much of it was written in pencil resulting in some words or letters having faded before the transfer to microfilm, has made the job of transcribing particularly difficult. In addition the records held by P.R.O.N.I. are not indexed.
The new web site allows anyone to search the records by surname.
When you are searching a name, remember to enter variations on the surname – for example - "O'Harrow'" for "O'Hara", or "Smyth" / "Smythe" for "Smith". You can search all these variations at once by typing "O'Harrow OR O'Hara" in the search field for surname. You can also use the wildcard '*' character to search for variations, for example, "O'Har*"
And you can also use the "extended search" box to widen the search to all parts of the document record - including the Observation written on each record.
You can also choose to view more details of the record. Click 'Details' and a popup will show you the Ireland Genealogy File Number, Applicant's Name, County, the Microfilm Number (as held by PRONI or National Archives) a Thumbnail of the research document, and the file size.
When a record is found, you will see a thumbnail-sized image of the (transcribed) record. The image is far too small to read but does give an idea as to how much information is on the page. Typically, it will be a few lines of text. To view the entire record, you must pay a fee. All the records that I found cost £2.00 (roughly $3.30 US dollars).
You can click on “Order” to place the document into your shopping cart, and you can then resume your search. When you have finished adding all your research to your cart, enter the customer information as required and click “Purchase Document”. You will then be taken to the secure PayPal website. If you do not have a PayPal account, you will also find an option on the PayPal website to pay by credit card. When the transaction is complete, you will receive an email containing your research.
If you belong to a Family History Society or similar organisation, your members can take advantage of a 20% discount on all Ireland Genealogy research. However, the organisation must apply in advance for the discount. Details may be found at http://goo.gl/K319e
Again, the searches are free but you do need to pay to view the records that are found. You can find the Ireland Genealogy web site at http://www.ireland-genealogy.com/
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