This morning I have to take out my frustration with the Kerry Baptismal registers on this page. While all of us searching for our County Kerry ancestors are more than grateful to be able to log on to IrishGenealogy.ie where all the extant Kerry records are online, this at least puts us ahead of the twenty eight other counties who have not got anywhere near this convenience.
In most cases we can find the baptisms we are looking for, or even the marriages. In some ‘lucky’ parishes we can even go back to 1713 (Ballyseede COI). But most parishes are online from 1820 at best. The real frustration though, is finding ‘blanks’ – numbers of years missing from the site without any explanation. It requires some ‘digging’ and visiting local presbyteries to find the explanations. And the explanations are many. We must realise that the Parish Priests of the early nineteenth century, particularly in rural areas, lived a precarious lifestyle, didn’t have secretaries, a number didn’t have a permanent residence, not to mention an office and it is a miracle that so many registers have in fact survived.
Tell this though to an Irish American or Irish Australian, trying to find a grandparent’s baptism or marriage, having tracked down the locality from which the ancestor emigrated, to find he/she as good as did not exist. I intend building a page on MyKerryAncestors.com outlining the years/parishes where records do not exist, for all sorts of different reasons. From the Black & Tans (Ballymacelligott), fires in the Presbytery (Killorglin & Ballylongford) to simple fading of the old writing (Dingle), there are all types of valid explanations. I would be grateful if any other researcher could contact me if they find gaps in any of the County Kerry Parish Registers and we may eventually have a complete list.
As I said, there are all types of explanations most of them valid and at least we are not like a neighbouring County parish (which shall remain nameless) where the explanation is that the Parish Priest and the Housekeeper had a row and the Housekeeper threw the register into the fire.