Stiffs ‘R Us

Back in 1998 when we were casting around for a title for the soon-to-be-launched Irish Times ancestry sub-site, one of the suggestions was “Stiffs ‘R Us”. Needless to say, it was vetoed. But it’s always stayed in the back of my mind, awaiting the right moment. And that moment has come.

‘R not us

We’ve just launched surname maps of all Irish death records 1864-1922. Have a look at Buggy, or Mungovan,  or Scahill. All precisely where they should be.

These maps are a little different from the others on the site. The data that underlies them comes from the old printed General Register Office indexes, specifically from the transcripts of those indexes made by the website of the Mormon Church. They very kindly shared a copy with us, the only quid pro quo being free access to our site in LDS Family History Centres.

In all the other maps, the links on the map will take you back to the original records they’re based on. Linking back to images of the printed indexes would be pointless, though. So these death entries point back to the full death records on IrishGenealogy. But … the IG records use a fresh set of indexes, not the old printed volumes.  So there are discrepancies – 70 Scahill entries in the old index, 72 in IG, 127 Finns in Boyle as opposed to 129 and so on. As ever, there are mistakes in both indexes, but they’re not the same mistakes.

Once again, I got a real kick from seeing these things work and from the way visualising the information brings it to life. So to speak. More and more, though, I feel the most important aspect is the list of surname variants that also appear in the original records. Forty years doing this stuff and I’m still astonished at the new ways record keepers torture names out of shape. And looking at the Grenham variants, I found the long-missing death of my own great-great-grandmother tucked away under an obscure misspelling.

So roll on up. Enough deaths for everyone in the audience.

And a video at

5 thoughts on “Stiffs ‘R Us”

  1. Thanks very much indeed, John! I’m about to dive in, hoping that in some cases deaths may lead me where no births have.

  2. John,
    This looks marvelous! Nothing like a shiny new drill bit to stimulate another go at those brick walls. Thanks!!

  3. Townland-parish-barony-plu mapping tables by county are freely available on wikipedia but have yet to find a civil reg office-sub office-townland mapping table.
    Would be immensely useful, especially so for plu that cross county boundaries, e.g. family that originated in Mayo townland, Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim are on ancestry either assigned to Co. Mayo or Cavan because of Bawnboy civil registrations.
    Folk in Dowra hinterland came under Holywell, Co. Fermanagh sub office until Dowra village emerged as a village and sub office in 1870’s.

  4. This is excellent news, including that your site will be available at Family History Centers in the U.S. And because of your post , when using the new feature on your website for SINNAMON (and variants) deaths, I stumbled onto the record of my correct GGGG grandfather. The FamilySearch transcription had multiple errors (as you mentioned) in the spelling of the surname (came out William “Cinnamora”) but at least it actually included the transcription of the witness at his death, son-in-law Henry “Jodd” (correct spelling is Todd). Since Henry Todd is my 3G ancestor who married Charlotte Sinnamon, I know this is the correct record. A huge find, placing William’s birth around 1777. Thanks very much.

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