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Carlow County - Ireland Genealogical Projects (IGP TM)

Pat Purcell Papers

Indexation Project,

Birth and Marriage Registers

By kind permission of Michael Purcell

Indexation Project, Birth and Marriage Registers.

The Nationalist.

Feb. 7th 1997.

By Michael Godfrey.

Paul Doyle has an ambition. He wants to meet his ancestors in heaven.

But he believes he must first have them baptised according to the rites of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

To do that he must first see if what is known as "an ordinance" has been carried out on them.

Last week Paul, a native of Escondido, California, had the distinction of being the first tourist of '97 to visit the Carlow County Heritage Society at the Methodist Church premises as he searched for documentation concerning his ancestors.

Paul, now retired from the Department of Correction in California, suffers from a terminal illness known as Frederick's Ataxia.

This was his first trip to Ireland and due to his illness, he does not believe he will be able to make a return trip.

He visited the Carlow Genealogical Index Centre premises in College Street, but he was not given access to files in the centre. Paul had to return to the USA having failed in his task.

He is the only member of his family to have been baptised into the Church of Latter-day Saints, better known as Mormons. One of the objectives of the Mormon Church is to accumulate names from registers and archives and baptise them into the church. That way the family unit will be intact in the next life, they believe.

Reared by his grandfather, Paul wants to trace all his ancestors to have an ordinance carried out on them. His search began in the US where he discovered that his great grandfather, Laurence Doyle, was born in Carlow in 1827.

He also discovered that Laurence's father was Joseph and his mother was Catherine.

Laurence emigrated to Massachusetts in 1848, and 14 years later joined the 43rd Voluntary Regiment Infantry of the Union Army. He fought at the battles of Kingston, Whitehall, Springbank Ridge and Goldsboro.

Paul gave a few facts relating to his great grandfather to Michael Purcell and was soon told that there was a record of Laurence Doyle marrying an Elizabeth Dempsey in 1826.

Accompanied by Michael, Paul then visited the Carlow Genealogical Index Centre at College Street, where the Church Registers are stored, to see if he could view the records in more detail.

Mr Purcell said: "When Paul was brought to the centre, the young staff were courteous but it would appear that according to Mary Moore, the supervisor, they have to comply with a directive which does not allow them to show the records to anyone, even a person suffering from a terminal illness".

Mr. Purcell continued, "That kind of treatment to overseas visitors is something I will have to bring to the attention of the County Manager.

But County Secretary Jim Kearney who is also secretary of the Carlow Research Ltd who run the Index Centre said: "There is no directive forbidding people from viewing the records. However, he pointed out that the records are only on loan from the various parishes.

"We have no right to let anyone look through them, because they are not ours. They are parish records and consequently Church property. If anyone wants to view them, they must first go to the parish and obtain permission from the parish priest. If they do that, we have no problem letting anyone look at the records." Mr. Kearney said.

[Note added 2010 by Michael Purcell.]

Paul Doyle wanted to look at the index (not the Registers) the young people were compiling, he was refused.

During the life of this project (3 years) no one was allowed to view the progress of the indexation project, I was assured by Jim Kearney that regular checks were being carried out, matching the index against the data in the registers.

When the project was closed down, I discovered that there were numerous errors and omissions, with whole pages skipped in some instances. For Carlow Cathedral alone there were over 500 transcribing errors.

Before I realised how bad the results were I had nominated our County Secretary and secretary of the indexation programme, Jim Kearney, for the Joe T. Ford Award which included a return trip to Tempe, our Sister City, in Arizona and to New York as a reward for "overseeing" the indexation project.

Jim and his wife travelled to the USA the following year as proud recipients of the Award,

The above is a true and accurate transcript of the original document.

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