Quick and dirty are my middle names

Anyone who’s had to deal with my coding knows, the top priority is to get the damn software to do something, not to code it properly or securely or intelligibly (sorry Eoin). As Dr Johnson said about a dog walking on its hind legs, the wonder is not that it’s done well, but that it’s done at all.

Not wonderful, just creepy

As with software, so with research. I detest traveling hopefully. Just get me there as fast as possible. Here are a few of my FamilySearch and IrishGenealogy quick and dirty shortcuts.

No two transcripts are identical and there are some wonderfully  fruitful differences are between IrishGenealogy and FamilySearch.  Yes, IrishGenealogy has a name index by Registration District, but try finding John son of John Murphy and Mary Ford, born in Co. Cork 1864-1874. There are almost 1000 John Murphys listed in the 14 Cork Districts and the only way to find the one with Mary Ford as mother is to go through each of them one by one. No no no, that way lies madness and death. FamilySearch has a (partial, flawed) transcript of the same birth registers from 1864 to the second quarter of 1881, which, Hallelujah, you can search using the mother’s maiden name. And there he is, in Blarney in Cork city registration district, allowing you to zero in on the IrishGenealogy original and get all the luverly luverly detail omitted in the LDS transcript.

FamilySearch also has transcribed copies of the original printed birth, marriage and death indexes. So they have duplicates of what’s on IrishGenealogy? Not at all. The IrishGenealogy indexes leave out all middle names. If you’re searching for a John Francis Murphy born 1890-1900 in Co. Cork, IrishGenealogy gives you zero results, leaving you to wade through another endless morass of John Murphys. FamilySearch gives you ten.

Many John Murphys

My favourite hack is between death indexes and full death records. Because the original gives age at death, on FamilySearch, it’s possible to specify both a birth range and death range to zero in on possible matches. So if you’re looking for a John Murphy who was born between 1890 and 1900 and died in Carlow between 1948 and 1958, IG gives you 17 to grind through, FS gives you three. Quick and dirty.

I’ve always liked the definition of elegance as “economy of effort”, which I take to mean laziness.  I’m just sooo elegant.

Sooo elegant

15 thoughts on “Quick and dirty are my middle names”

  1. Will help with the many John Henry Hughes from Tyrone, but sadly due to the Penal Laws, we only know of our ancestor who emigrated to Canada. I went to the Archives in Armagh (?) and also spoke with a Historian near Lisduff from whence he came, but no luck. They were flax farmers…

    1. On Ancestry you will find information about Irish Flax Growers
      Title: Irish Flax Growers List, 1796
      Link: https://www.ancestry.com/search/collections/3732/ Please read the information explaining the contents and the steps necessary to obtain the information from Ulster Historical Foundation.
      There are 3 John Hughes from Co. Tyrone. No middle name provided.
      The first John Hughes ID# 50297
      The second ——– ID# 50530
      The third ——— ID# 50284

  2. Yes, double-step to get the best from both records! Too bad most of my people left Ireland well before 1850 when data left minimal traces.

  3. Hi John,

    I first want to say that it dawned on me that your site has become the site I most often start my research at. Your blogs provides me great ideas & methods, a necessary dose of reality and in the best Irish tradition, sorely needed humor.

    My question is, if the data are available, why would IG not provide the ability to include both birth date/place and death date/place in a query? As a Data Architect & DBA by profession, I can tell you that it’s not that difficult to provide.

    The difference can be huge as you said. I see it as similar to the easy to miss but invaluable feature you’ve provided of searching parishes for two surnames. This is done by going to the page of one of the two surnames of interest and next to the map you’ll find:
    “Parishes where and a second surname are found together”. Here’s how I used it in case it may help others:

    I’m from Melicans of West Clare and am having a devil of a time getting past my g-g-grandparents Patrick Melican b 1825 and Margaret Meehan b 1831, who we believe were from Kildysart. I searched for Parishes containing both surnames and found three Clare parishes containing a number of Griffith’s Evaluations. Only Liscormick of Clonderlaw contained both a Patrick Melican residence as well as Meehan residences. Now, I just have to determine if that was as it appears, Patrick & Margaret living in Liscormick down the street from her parents & siblings.

    Are there any statistics to say how common it was for families to live in the same neighborhood as one or both of their families of origin? Nothing is guaranteed, but do you think it is a productive predicate to search on, even down to the Griffith’s neighborhood level?

    Thank you in advance,

    Michael Patrick Milligan
    Hooper, Utah

  4. John, FYI because of the automatic formatting that removed paragraph breaks and some of my verbiage, my comment above is far too long. Feel free to edit it, or just reject it and I’ll re-write it to fit the formatting.

  5. And if your ancestors were in Northern Ireland, you can tie together death records with poor rate records (including revaluation records) to confirm familial relationships.

  6. Ancestry is pricy enough and now to add Family Search ? Is this the road to perdition and bankruptcy? Aren’t these two sites linked through LDS , but don’t share information ?
    I’d be interested to know how common is it for non professionals to retain multiple Genealogical websites?

    1. FamilySearch is completely free after registration. Ancestry has licenced some (but not I think all) of FS’s content.

  7. Maybe someone has mentioned this. If so sorry 🙂 On IrishGenealogy there is one trick I use to find births for common surnames. In the last name field put the fathers name and the mothers maiden name. ie. Murphy Ford. It will bring up all possible matches for Murphys with mother Ford and obviously all Fords with mothers Murphy.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.