Library Holdings

The Society’s Library is a substantial and unique collection of books and manuscripts that has been compiled since the Society was founded in 1936. The core of the collection was originally formed from the private library of our founder, the renowned Irish genealogist Fr. Wallace Clare.

Books & Journals The collection of books comprises works on Irish history, biography, gravestone inscriptions, family histories, journals, trade directories, poll books, published indexes, catalogues etc. A downloadable catalogue is in preparation and will be uploaded as soon as possible.

Manuscripts The library holds a considerable amount of unique manuscript material, including a substantial collection of manuscripts presented by former members about Irish families of all religions and backgrounds from all parts of Ireland; these can vary from one or two pages of family notes to large collections of transcripts and extensive pedigrees. The manuscripts are divided into two main series: the Ancestry Files and a number of larger collections presented by their creators.

Ancestry Files The Ancestry Files (also known as the Box Series) comprise small collections of family notes, correspondence and family trees presented to the Society and are divided into two series of box files, arranged in alphabetical order. The first (old) Ancestry Files series is now closed and is fully indexed, while the second series is still growing. Together, both Series of Ancestry Files comprise tens of thousands of pieces of genealogical data. Select from:

Larger Collections The Society’s larger collections include material compiled by members over many years and subsequently presented to the Society for permanent preservation. The various collections represent the results of extensive family research and/or years spent painstakingly transcribing or abstracting notes from original records. The work of many of the Society’s early members includes notes taken from records subsequently destroyed in the fire which consumed the Public Record Office of Ireland in 1922. In the list of larger collections below, those which include pre-1922 transcript material are marked with an asterisk [*].

*BETHAM, Sir William (1779-1853): This collection includes ‘Index of Irish pedigrees’, formerly in the possession of Sir Arthur Vicars, Ulster King of Arms and of Sir Bernard Burke, Garter King of Arms. The collection also includes transcripts of wills abstracted by Betham and copied by W. M. Brady in 1862.

BLAKE BUTLER, Theobald (1888-1965): One of the founding members of this Society and a life-long genealogist. The Library holds an extensive collection of his pedigrees covering the whole of Ireland; also his typescript transcripts of the Ormonde Deeds 1603-1715. These are in three volumes, fully indexed by person. A fourth volume was compiled by the IGRS from copies of deeds found to have been omitted from Butler’s transcript. The collection also includes a large number of Butler manuscripts, including Chancery and Exchequer Bills and Butler Wills.

BLAKENEY, Major Herbert de Courcy (1873-1943): Two volumes of manuscripts mainly covering Cos. Galway & Roscommon including abstracts of deeds, wills, etc. from Irish parish records, marriage licenses and newspapers and also from English Admiralty records, War Office Records and obituaries. Click image to view a sample.

CLANCHY, Captain Henry (1894-1966): An early member of the IGRS. He built a considerable card index of Irish marriages, gleaned from various sources.

*CLARE, Father. Wallace (1895-1963): Fr Clare was the founder of the Society in 1936. His life-long passion for genealogy led him to acquire an outstanding personal collection of Irish manuscripts and antiquarian books. These now form the nucleus of the IGRS library. One of his most important contributions to Irish genealogical research was his detailed work on the families mentioned in the Conformity Rolls; that is of Catholics conforming to the Established Church during the Penal times. The second edition of this work has been published by The Irish Manuscripts Commission in The Convert Rolls edited by Eileen Byrne (Dublin, 2005).

de BREFFNY, Brian (1931-1989): a genealogist who also made a considerable contribution to the field of the Arts in Ireland. He published, with Rosemary ffolliott, The Irish Ancestor (1969-1986) and wrote articles for that Journal. We hold some of his unique genealogical papers and pedigrees.

de MONTFORD, Simon: a collection of biographical indexes to Irish provincial newspapers from Longford and Westmeath for the early to mid-19thcentury.

de la PONCE, Amédée:  He was born 1796, was an officer of Irish background in the Regiment of Huzzars in the French Army and he is known to have been a member of the Royal Irish Academy.  He was an educated man, with a sabre scar running down the left side of his face! He was friend and teacher of Count Alexandre Dumas to whom he taught Italian and German and literature. His collection of genealogical material (all in French) was collated in the 19th century and relates to the genealogies and military service of officers of the Irish Brigades in France in the 17th and 18th centuries. Click image to view sample.

EAKIN, Terry: Based in Australia, Terry was elected to the Fellowship of the IGRS in 2012 in recognition of his  many years of outstanding work in the promotion of the study of Irish genealogy. In 2014 he presented the Society with copies of the results of his work transcribing and indexing Irish records. Among many subjects these include gravestone transcriptions, parish registers, school roll books and townland names. We will be making his work available to members in due course.

FARNHAM, Lord (1799-1868): This collection of genealogical notes and papers extends to 29 large volumes, each containing between 150 and 250 pages.  They were compiled by Henry Maxwell, 7th Lord Farnham, in the early to mid-nineteenth century. They came into the possession of the IGRS through the private library of Fr. Wallace Clare. Among many things, they contain notes and pedigrees from 16th century Herald’s Visitations relating to many quite ordinary Irish families. The collection has been scanned and is available on CD at the Library. A short description of this collection, by the late Dr Anne Chamney, can be found in The Irish Genealogist, vol.11, no.3 (2004) pp177-178. Lord Farnham Manuscripts Series 1. Volume 8. Page 13.

ffOLLIOTT, Rosemary (1935-2009): a renowned Irish genealogist who edited The Irish Ancestor from 1969 to 1986 (see Books & Journals above) and who produced a considerable corpus of work, both published and in manuscript form. She produced extremely useful indexes to the biographical entries in Cork Newspapers 1756-1827 and Ennis, Limerick, Clonmel and Waterford Newspapers 1758-1827. With Michael Leader, she transcribed some of the Protestant parish registers of Cork; she also transcribed some Limerick registers too. Before her death in 2009, she donated to the Society these transcript registers, together with her genealogical working papers. The parish register transcripts are noted in the lists for the Michael Leader collection (see below).

FRENCH, Frances-Jane (1929-2002): worked as a professional genealogist for over 40 years, based in Dublin.  We hold all her case notes and family trees for families across Ireland – approximately 800 files.

*HUSSEY-WALSH, Valentine John (1862-1925): An extensive 12 volume set of chancery and exchequer bills, pleadings, wills and pedigrees transcribed in the Public Record Office, Dublin before its destruction in 1922. While pre-dominantly covering Hussey and Walsh families, his collection also relates to many other Irish Catholic gentry and mercantile families and is particularly strong for province of Connacht.  The collection, which is indexed, contains over 100,000 names with a separate index of contents.

*LEADER, Michael Edward B. (1915-1998): a former Vice President of the Society, and a leading genealogist specialising in Cork Protestant families.  His life’s work was the accurate transcription of the surviving Protestant parish registers for the diocese of Cork, Cloyne and Ross. The Society holds these transcriptions, together with his collection of Cork family pedigrees and his genealogical working papers. The collection also includes some Presbyterian, Methodist and Quaker register transcripts. An article, by Mary Casteleyn, on the Leader Collection appeared in The Irish Genealogist vol.10, no.2 (1999) pp.173-201. It lists the various parish registers transcribed and the surnames noted in the collection of pedigrees.

NUGENT, Oliver (1915-1988): The fruits of extensive research by Oliver Nugent of Antigua, West Indies and on the family Nugent of Drumaree, Co. Westmeath. The collection comprises details of that branch of the family and of Count Laval of Austria and lists Nugent material in the Farnham Manuscripts and from other sources too.

*SMYTHE-WOOD, Ian Alastair Patrick (1914-1997): This collection of notebooks and card indexes has a strong, but not uniquely, Northern Irish interest. Much is taken from biographical entries circa 1800-1860 in Irish provincial newspapers and Canadian newspapers. Patrick had a considerable interest in the RIC and other uniformed services, together with families of Northern Ireland, both in Ireland and overseas. There are also volumes of Wills and Administrations proved/extracted more than 20 years after death and extensive biographical information on card indexes for families from the North of Ireland. Our holdings include his card index to the Irish in Canada, which runs into many thousands of cards.

*SPEARMAN,Charles Richard (1920-1986): A former Honorary Treasurer of the Society who masterminded the creation of the IGRS Wills Card Index, held at the Library.

This was an early and praiseworthy attempt by IGRS members to build a central database of genealogical abstracts from a variety of testamentary sources.

This index holds more than 3,500 cards.

*SWANZY, Canon Henry B. (1873-1932): An enthusiastic early genealogist.  We hold his work on Irish Wills, and also his vast collection of Irish Chancery & Exchequer Bills concerned with Cavan, Monaghan, Fermanagh, Galway and Roscommon.  He produced an index to Kilmore Diocesan Wills 1701-1858 covering parts of Meath, Leitrim, Fermanagh and Cavan, and to Clonfert & Kilmacduagh Diocesan Wills from 1665-1858 covering Galway, Roscommon and Kings County. The 511 will abstracts relate to 132 Diocesan Wills and 379 Prerogative Wills predominantly, though not exclusively, from the North of Ireland. He also carried out extensive work on Church of Ireland Clergy biographies, much of which has been published.

WILSON, Dr Lorton Alexander (1879-1958): An early member of the Society, he left 26 volumes to the Library, containing meticulous research into approximately forty Protestant families of interest to him throughout Ireland. These have been scanned to CD and will eventually be made available online.


Main Members’ Area                                                                                         Page last updated on 05 November 2018


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