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  • Irish Independent 19 January 2000
    Service at office abysmal Proposals to ease congestion at the offices housing birth marriage and death records by depositing microfilm copies in the National Library have been made in a report to the Minister for Health The report compiled by the Council of Irish Genealogical Organisations CIGO follows a public meeting last year held to discuss the abysmal level of service supplied to the public at the General Registrar s

    Original URL path: http://www.cigo.ie/IrishIndependent19January2000.html (2016-02-09)
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  • AGM Address 2000
    GRO s Public Search Room has been completely reversed with the public counter now being located at the opposite end of the room and the Search Room itself has been completely refurbished And for the first time a member of the GRO staff has been permanently assigned to the Search Room to offer help and advice and this innovation has proven to be very popular with all the users However the GRO s unilateral decision to enforce a stringent new rule that ends almost twenty years of direct public access to the Search Room indexes is lamentable The unfortunate implementation of this new access rule has caused lengthy and unnecessary queues Many regular users are voicing concern at often having to spend half the time the Office is open standing in line to gain access to the indexes Almost none of the regular users of the Search Room now feel that there is any value to be gained from paying a IR 12 General Search fee Because of this new system the provision of on the spot photocopying has come to a complete stand still as the running of this new service needs every available member of staff CIGO is currently involved in consultation with The Registrar General Mr Tony Enright about the GRO s new access policy and the full implementation of CIGO s Report On The General Register Office At a recent meeting Mr Enright gave me his personal assurance that he was actively seeking solutions to the GRO s current difficulties and hoped at least to restore on the spot photocopying facilities in the very near future CIGO s Report On The General Register Office as suggested by the meeting in August 1999 deals specifically with the short to medium term It is CIGO s intention to publish a detailed report about what it sees as the issues surrounding the long term future of the GRO at a future date However in this regard I welcome the contributions made to the whole GRO debate by the Genealogical Society of Ireland which celebrates its first birthday this month The GSI s own report on the General Register Office deals with the long term future of the GRO and puts forward a number of imaginative and ambitious proposals As a Final point on the issue of the GRO CIGO urges you all to lobby your local government T D s at their next constituency clinics and to make strong representations In the early part of this year Des Clarke proposed to council that there was a growing need for a series of guidebooks dealing in detail with specific aspects of Irish genealogy As an example the London based Society of Genealogists has published a very successful series of guides on specific subjects relating to British genealogy under the title My Ancestor Was Some of the titles in the SOG s series are My Ancestor Was a Freeman My Ancestor Was in the British Army and My Ancestors Were Londoners

    Original URL path: http://www.cigo.ie/AGMAddress2000.html (2016-02-09)
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  • Executive Liaison Officers' report 2003
    the Internet and at this stage for the period 1837 to 1900 68 528 050 have been entered on to a database This figure represents approximately half of all the events registered in that period The website where this database can be found is at here Although CIGO does intend to lobby for changes to the new Bill at this present time we have concentrated on the issue of improving the information recorded in future Irish death registrations In this regard we have has a measure of success Since the passing of the Social Welfare Miscellaneous Provisions Act last year when the Minister for Social Welfare refused to amend that Bill to include a deceased person s place of birth and the maiden surname of married widowed or divorced women and subsequent to our lobbying and letter campaign in The Irish Times last year the new Bill includes provision to register the surname at birth of a deceased person if different at the time of death However the issue of recording the place of birth is still to be resolved and although it is not mentioned in the Bill it is still hoped that it will be taken up by the Department at any of the Bill s various Oireachtas stages Included in the latest edition of CIGO NEWS is a copy of a recently compiled submission on this issue A few days ago I met with the Minister for Justice Equality Law Reform Mr Michael McDowell who having listened to the arguments agreed to contact Mary Coughlin Minister for Social Family Affairs in support of our proposal With regard to establishing greater access to the Republic s civil registration records compiled one hundred or more years ago I can inform you that CIGO is currently obtaining a legal opinion

    Original URL path: http://www.cigo.ie/ExecutiveLiaisonOfficersreport2003.html (2016-02-09)
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  • GRONI Submission 2003
    1844 and 1863 Acts specifically allows the diligent researcher to link life events together in order to trace people either forward or backward in time thus a very vital and valuable public service is performed 3 3 With the advent of formal Adoption procedures in the 20 th century Civil Registration added to its services a means whereby Adoptees could should they so wish search for their birth parents or the families of those parents We have already mentioned in 3 1 above one way in which an Adoptee could be disadvantaged in their searches and another way would be the denial in future of certain information from the Register entries Addresses and occupations are pieces of the jigsaw in any form of genealogical research and are vital if connections are to be made with other records It is a chicken and egg situation For many people researching their families a holistic view is taken and it becomes more than just a collection of names and dates Medical information from death register entries is increasingly being used to plot ill health trends in families It is accepted internationally that when searching for ill health trends in families a researcher must not restrict their searching to the immediate family group only but must look also at the extended family 3 4 Whilst CIGO speaks for all researchers we have a number professional genealogists amongst our membership who provide valuable input on matters that impact on research generally One of these areas is that of probate research In their searches for inheritors of estates Probate Genealogists are probably amongst the most valued customers of the Registration service Proposals to restrict information on events would severely hamper such research that is difficult enough already Also professional genealogists are working for people who for whatever reason are unable to carry out their own family history research Since family history research is now accepted as one of the fastest growing leisure pursuits in the world it seems to us to be unfair to make distinctions between researchers 3 5 Restricting disclosure of full information on an event to those other than individuals their families or agencies having legally prescribed access will create a two tier system of accessibility which is contrary to the original ethos of the Registration Service the legislation which set it up and to its present day values As there is not differing levels of citizenship then there should not be differing levels of access Civil Registration is there for every citizen to make use of It is a citizen s right to know certain basic information about any and every other citizen in society If anything there is a case for enhancing the information that can be provided so that events can be properly linked together through the information recorded Issuing certificates with little or no identifying information about those named will only make the perpetration of fraud easier Further how can any of the information recorded in Northern Irish birth death or marriage records to restricted when the actual full register entries along with their corresponding indexes are already held on microfilm by the Church of Latter Day Saints Mormons for the period 1922 to 1959 These films are already available throughout the Mormon s Church s several hundred worldwide family history libraries Also if the period of restriction to certain data fields is set at 100 years then what account is to be taken of the fact that records relating to the six counties of Ireland which now constitute Northern Ireland are at present readily available at the General Register Office Dublin As the proposals state that only the subject of the record or their next of kin if deceased will have the power to authorise another person to access the restricted information this means that any person who is unable to conduct their own research will in future not even be able to commission another person or organisation to do it for them This effectively means that for those who die without known next of kin nobody will be entitled to undertake any research to try to locate their relations as there are no known relations to ask for the permission required Very clearly beneficiaries to estates will loose out under the proposed access restrictions and eventually is bound to lead to litigation Further in the case of a death record the informant whose name address and relationship to the deceased are noted in the record might not be the deceased s actual or closest next of kin In such an instance the informant s data could be made public by the deceased s executors or next of kin giving permission to a third party to access the full data in the death record In such an instance what rights will the informant have Rather than generally restricting certain data fields in some periods of the records would it not make more sense and prove to be a much cheaper service to fund if all applicants for certificates had to provide proof of their identity and a computerized note was made which records they were obtaining copies of Such a system has operated in more recent years in the GRO London Further a new type of certificate could be issued which would state something to the effect that This certificate was issued to someone other than the person s named there in Again we also express our concern at the points raised in 3 1 above as to who the agencies having legally prescribed access will be and upon what criteria access will be granted to them 3 6 CIGO poses the question What has changed in society generally that the proposed privacy measures are even being considered In an age of freedom of information there should be no curbs or restrictions on existing rights without good reason So far Government has not come up with any good reasons Vague references to fraud prevention from some quarters are

    Original URL path: http://www.cigo.ie/GRONISubmission2003.html (2016-02-09)
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  • GRO submission E&W 2003
    to the records relating to her siblings but likely the grandson would have no right to the same records as his grandmother s siblings would likely have been born within the last one hundred years In this instance if the grandmother then applied for the records on behalf of her grandson for him to use in family research would she have committed an offence As the proposals state that only the subject of the record or their next of kin if deceased will have the power to authorise another person to access the restricted information this means that any person who is unable to conduct their own research will in future not even be able to commission another person or organisation to do it for them This effectively means that for those who die without known next of kin nobody will be entitled to undertake any research to try to locate their relations as there are no known relations to ask for the permission required This is plainly a farce Further in the case of a death record the informant whose name address and relationship to the deceased are noted in the record might not be the deceased s actual or closest next of kin In such an instance the informant s data could be made public by the deceased s executors or next of kin giving permission to a third party to access the full data in the death record The Minister suggests that the proposed 100 year restriction reflects the majority opinion expressed in 1999 in response to Registration modernising a vital service This is simply not the case Only 40 of respondents expressed the view that there should be any kind of restriction and of those half favoured a 75 year rule Of the 40 suggesting any type of restriction only 46 suggested 100 years This equates to fewer than 20 of all respondents which is far from a majority opinion and in fact the true majority opinion was that 60 of respondents favoured no restriction at all 103 The proposals impose a number of new burdens We would welcome your views on whether the tests of proportionality fair balance and desirability are satisfied in respect of these new burdens Who will be responsible for withdrawing microfilms of church copy civil marriage registers currently held in local archives In almost every instance it will be found that a roll of microfilm holds the records of baptism marriage and burial of a number of churches or chapels Will archivists be expected to resolve the problem by cutting out the offending portions of films If these proposals are to be implemented then this will surely be the only solution Whatever definition of family is arrived at a considerable burden will be placed on any organization including the GRO in applying the access framework CIGO is concerned that those charged with the task of deciding who is a family member and therefore entitled to full information from register entries may

    Original URL path: http://www.cigo.ie/GROsubmissionEW2003.html (2016-02-09)
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  • CRA 2003 Press Release (deaths)
    19 sample countries of diverse economic status surveyed with regard to civil registration practices 17 recorded a deceased person s date of birth and 14 their place of birth Currently in the context of the data recorded in Ireland s death registrations such records are by far the least informative across the entire European Union However even with the changes now built into the new Bill Ireland s death registrations will continue to fall far short of standards set by its European Union partners Attached is a schedule of what data it is proposed to record in future All current member states of the European Union other than Greece record the place of birth of deceased persons In the case of Greece it records the deceased s parents full names When the Department of Social Family Affairs was challenged about the importance of recording a deceased person s place of birth as well as their date of birth the Department responded in a letter from Minister Mary Coughlin TD on January 8 th by stating that it would not be necessary to record such data as it would be of no tangible benefit to the registration system or State organisations and in direct contradiction to Article 115 of the UN s Model Law stated that such data was outside the requirements of civil registration 24th January 2004 Main Points in Brief The information recorded in Irish death registrations has remained unchanged since registration first began in 1864 Other than the age no information is currently recorded relating to the deceased person s date and place of birth Since 1973 all deaths registered in Northern Ireland have included the deceased s date and place of birth and the maiden surname of married women In a 1970s survey the United Nation s found that of the countries included approximately 50 registered deceased people s place of birth in death registrations In a 2002 survey the United Nation s had found that of the countries included 85 registered deceased people s place of birth in death registrations In the early 1990s the United Nations produced a Model Civil Registration Law that included provision in Article 115 for the registration of deceased people s place of birth Currently date and place of birth is recorded in death registrations in all 15 member states of the European Union except Ireland and Greece Future use of the PPSN in computerised Irish civil registrations will not allow for existing birth registrations to be linked to future death registrations as inclusion of the PPSN will be entirely prospective Including only the date of birth in future Irish death registrations will be the cause of much confusion as Ireland has only a small pool of surnames Consequently it is all too easy to find examples of namesakes born on the same day although in different parts of Ireland Including the place of birth in death records will remove such confusion Including the place of birth along with the proposal

    Original URL path: http://www.cigo.ie/CRA2003PressReleasedeaths.html (2016-02-09)
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  • News About CIGO in Irish Roots 2004
    to report a minor success in the long running saga of improving access to the GRO records in Joyce House Dublin In November 2003 the GRO re instated the lunchtime opening so this now gives continuous opening Monday to Friday from 9 30am to 4 30pm There was at some stage talk of one late night opening per week too but nothing more has been heard of this since The lunchtime closure was first introduced in 1987 and at the time a promise was made that it was to be only a temporary measure The number of photocopies to be issued upon demand has now been increased to eight per day A small victory perhaps but very significant to CIGO which have been pressing the Registrar General for many years to improve service delivery at Joyce House We are also pleased to hear that other libraries are now becoming interested in participating in the LDS s film circulation library scheme For instance Tallaght library Co Dublin has applied and we have also heard that the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland PRONI might also follow suit The Annual General Meeting in November was held at the Freemason s Hall in Molesworth Street Dublin and was well attended by members and friends An entertaining though thought provoking talk on Archivists and Genealogists Some Reflections was given by Raymond Refauss é of the Representative Church Body Library We were extremely grateful to Raymond for coming in at short notice and as he was launching his new edition of The Directory of Irish Archives the next day it gave him the opportunity to try out some of his anecdotes Member Societies bookstalls enabled some early Christmas gifts to be purchased Des Clarke of Raheny F H S is Chairman for 2003 2004 and

    Original URL path: http://www.cigo.ie/NewsAboutCIGOinIrishRoots2004.html (2016-02-09)
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  • ELOS Report 2006
    reply we were informed that it would not be possible at this time to transfer the holdings of the Registry of Deeds to the National Archives because of issues of space but that such a move was not ruled out for the future In relation to access to the Registry of Deeds records we learnt that the Land Registry is currently presenting costings to the government for project to digitise the deeds from 1708 to present Although in all likelihood the later deeds would be scanned first The resulting database would be made available to public consultation We were given assurances that the original records would continue to be made available The records of the Land Registry which date from the 1890s have already been scanned and can be viewed on the Internet although the website is a pay per view site National Library In June we made a submission to the National Library in answer to its call for readers views for the creation of the Library s Strategic Plan for 2007 to 2009 We highlighted two areas of concern access to Roman Catholic parish registers and the Library s important collection of electoral registers In relation to parish registers we suggested that there was now great need for the Library to consider microfilming Roman Catholic parish registers beyond the original cut off date of 1880 which is now over 126 years ago Also we requested the Board of the Library to look again at the Diocese of Cloyne s iniquitous access policy to the filmed registers from that diocese s parishes This policy has been imposed upon the Library by the Bishop of Cloyne and should be resisted The ongoing complete lack of access to the films for the Diocese of Cashel Emly was also raised The Library has a fairly complete set of annual electoral registers for the Republic dating from the middle years of the 20 th century A similar collection for the city of Dublin is held by the Dublin City Archives and has recently been digitised creating a fully searchable database We asked the Library to look at whether it would be appropriate to consider such a project for its own holdings General Register Office of Northern Ireland Later in the year in July Rob and myself made a short joint submission to the GRO in Belfast in relation to its latest consultation document about the modernisation of civil registration in the province On this occasion CIGO had felt that it was imperative that as many as possible made submissions to GRONI about its draft policy document which included clauses to restrict public access to certain data in registration records compiled less than one hundred years ago In this instance CIGO s work ensured that over eighteen submissions were received by the North s GRO each indicating an unwillingness to accept any diminution in access to civil registration records in Northern Ireland Shortly after in words careful not to suggest any form of climb

    Original URL path: http://www.cigo.ie/ELOSReport2006.html (2016-02-09)
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