389,501 gravestones (and growing) from 851 cemeteries in ten Irish counties.
The Importance of Gravestone Inscriptions
In addition to complementing other sources of genealogical data, gravestone inscriptions constitute a valuable resource in their own right. Just as much as birth, marriage or death records, gravestone inscriptions are an important link with our ancestors. They often provide additional or incidental information for instance on family relationships, occupation or place of residence that may not be accessible via the more obvious channels of church or state records. Indeed, in those cases where no other written documentation is available, a gravestone inscription may be the only tangible link to a forebear.
The local context
In a sense, too, every graveyard is a repository of local history, commemorating the names and achievements of a community. One need only visit Thomas Greys wonderful poem Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard for verification of this. But a thoughtful walk through any graveyard will surely impress upon the observer the riches that attend such often neglected places. These riches are often of immense value to social historians and folklorists, as well as to genealogists, students and teachers. It is in the context of genealogical research that the material in Irish Gravestone Inscriptions is offered.
A permanent record
Gravestones are durable but, as the old saying about equality might have it, some are more durable than others. However, we must remember that centuries of weathering, erosion, vandalism and well-intentioned removal do take their toll. Inscriptions become fainter with time, and as the stone deteriorates there may well be no legible record left to posterity. By collating the information available on gravestones and transferring it to computer, Irish Gravestone Inscriptions has ensured that valuable data is retained for the use of present and future generations who might wish to discover the path to their Irish roots.
Making the Index available to all
Up to now, gravestone inscriptions data have been used by a number of family-history centres in Ireland for their own research purposes. But in response to requests from clients worldwide, and to show the wide extent of material available, Irish Genealogy Limited (IGL) is now making an index available to a wider public. This index comprises in excess of 421,000 gravestone entries from across Ireland and will be added to as time goes on. It comprises information from many hundreds of graveyards, large and small, of all denominations and encompassing several centuries of burials.
Using the Gravestone Inscriptions Index
Step (i) Free search of Index:
Customers start by entering the surname and forename[s] of the person they are interested in. Following this, they will then indicate the county and parish (if known) and approximate period in which the person died. The results will list one or more possibilities.
Step (ii) Order the full gravestone inscription:
When a customer decides which, if any, of the full inscriptions are required and made the required payment, IGL will then forward the information via e-mail, within ten days. In many cases, a simple map or plan of the gravestone location is available and this can also be ordered.
The cost of ordering the full inscription(s) is as follows:
A note on the type and amount of information
Some gravestones contain more information than
others. Most will include full name[s] and date[s] of death and age, while
some will have information on the area the person came from and relationship
to other people commemorated on the gravestone. However, some inscriptions
will be brief, perhaps just a name and date of death. Further, the available
information can vary according to the age and condition of the stone. Therefore,
inscriptions will reflect these variations. In some cases there will be omissions
or deletions, where the letters or numbers are missing or otherwise unreadable.
These partial inscriptions will be more likely in the case of very old stones.
Where such information is not available, this will be indicated by dashes
or dots. Many inscriptions will contain information on more than one person,
and when a client purchases an inscription, this will include all the names
on the stone.