In the course of grinding one’s way through online haystacks in search of ancestral needles, shortcuts and workarounds sometimes … become evident. Quite often, it’s not clear that these are known to the website owners themselves, so I’m always a bit nervous about broadcasting them. But what the hey … here are are two of my favourites.
Heavy users of the civil records on IrishGenealogy.ie can get very irritated by being regularly forced to jump through this particular hoop:
No. The form is pure civil-service territoriality, the Registrar-General marking these records as belonging to him and not to the Dept of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht who run the site. My dog does something similar to gateposts and trees every time I take him for a walk.
Just enter anything in the two name fields, tick the box and you’re past: “a “->Tab-> “a”->Tab->spacebar->Enter. It takes about a second, can be rattled off without even lifting your hands from the keyboard and hey presto.
My other favourite is a spectacularly powerful wild-card search available on rootsireland.ie, still the only absolutely indispensable Irish genealogy subscription site. Like most search sites, it is apparently necessary to enter a minimum of information, usually at least one surname. So if I want to see everyone with forename John in Ballinlough registration district, it’s theoretically impossible:
The uses are endless: reconstructing causes of death in an area over decades from civil death records; picking out all baptisms with the same godparents as evidence for extended family; looking at patterns of use of unusual forenames to pick out wider social or family connections. The world is your oyster.
As long as they don’t decide to stop allowing it.