Indexation Project, Birth and Marriage
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
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
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
[Note added 2010 by Michael Purcell.]
Paul Doyle wanted to look at the index
(not the Registers) the young people were compiling, he was
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,