The kindness of strangers

Wil. E. Coyote

I’ve often wondered about those individuals who run out of their own ancestors but just refuse to give up. Sometimes they seem like Wil E. Coyote, who runs over the edge of the cliff and just keeps going. But many turn to transcribing records  to scratch that itch, and in the process provide the rest of us with invaluable shortcuts for often-obscure sources.

The granddaddy of them all was Dr. Albert E. Casey, an Alabama pathologist who had ancestors from Sliabh Luachra on the Cork/Kerry border. Dr. Casey’s response to the lack of records was simple and breathtaking. He collected and transcribed every single record of any description for the region and adjoining parts, an area roughly bounded by the towns of Mallow, Killarney, Tralee and Newmarket: parish registers, civil records, property records, court proceedings, will indexes, newspapers, townland maps, gravestone inscriptions – everything.

And he didn’t stop there. He went on to collect anything he could find relating to all of Cork and Kerry before about 1825, everything on Munster before 1625 and an extraordinary assortment of early printed and manuscript works covering medieval Ireland as a whole. The whole compilation was published in 16 indexed volumes over the 19 years from 1952 to 1971, with the strange title O’Kief, Coshe Mang, Slieve Lougher and the Upper Blackwater in Ireland. You can see the full awe-inspiring list of contents at www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~irlker/caseydescription.html .

The Granard census

Now someone else has stepped up to the plate. John McDonald Pepper evidently has Longford ancestors – he has produced meticulously painstaking transcriptions of two Longford Catholic parish censuses, for the parish of Granard in 1834 and the parish of Streete in 1856. He approached me for advice about making them available, so I offered.

Initially, I was going to disassemble them into database tables, but the care John has taken to reproduce the precise written formats deserves to be preserved, so instead I converted them to searchable PDFs.

Enjoy: Granard (1834) and Streete (1856).  And full credit to John.

15 thoughts on “The kindness of strangers”

  1. Thank you both indeed. Great generosity. May your tribe increase. And so good to see another blog post with such interesting info.

  2. Thanks John,
    And thanks to John who sure went above and beyond that adds to our body of knowledge!

    Patty Barnett

  3. Thank you! The Granard survey is a mangled source I know well. Now I can’t wait to read through something that used to take days and cause a headache!

  4. John McDonald Pepper, a salute to you for your work that will be used by countless family historians, now and in the future. Thank you
    John Grenham thank you also, not just for recognising the value of these Longford records but for offering your service to share them to the world
    Geraldene
    New Zealand

  5. Thank you John,
    My maternal great grandparents lived in Gortdarrig. It’s very exciting to find a source for pre 1825.
    Thanks again, Irene Fennelly

  6. Thankyou so much John Pepper for your efforts , it takes personal commitment to achieve this .
    Can someone tell me how they would find this on the web in a digital format plz

  7. Thank you! Always hopeful, but I am way up in Charleville. Newcastle is a possibility, but not Newmarket!

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