Paul Gorry has had a lifelong interest in local and family history, dabbling in both by the age of ten. He has been engaged in genealogical research on a professional basis since 1979, when he began his career as a freelance researcher for the Genealogical Office in Dublin. He is a founder member of
the Association of Professional Genealogists in Ireland (APGI), which was formed in 1986. APGI is the only accreditation body for professional genealogists in Ireland. Membership is limited to professional genealogists whose work has been tested and approved by an independent Board of Assessors. Once admitted to membership of APGI a genealogist is bound by a strict Code of Practice. Paul Gorry served as President of APGI in 2007-2009. On behalf of APGI he is co-ordinator of the Diploma in Family History course at Independent Colleges, Dublin, run in association with APGI.
Paul has written extensively on genealogical and local history topics. He was a frequent contributor to Family Tree (UK) in the 1990s and, more recently, he has had a long association with Irish Roots magazine. He has also published articles on Irish golf history and he is currently preparing a book on Irish golf records. With his APGI colleague, Maire Mac Conghail,
he was joint-author of the book Tracing Irish Ancestors, (HarperCollins, Glasgow, 1997). He also wrote Baltinglass Chronicles, 1851-2001, published in 2006.
Paul will be assisting those who want to work at the Registry of Deeds.
The Registry of Deeds was established in 1708 as part of the mechanism of the Penal Laws, to ensure that land already in Protestant hands did not fall into Roman Catholic ownership. Until the late eighteenth century, when the Penal Laws were dismantled, the Registry of Deeds contains very little on Catholic families but afterwards it is a major source for prosperous Catholics. Obviously, if your ancestors were landless labourers this is not the place to look for them. If they were from the gentry, the professional and classes or were "strong" farmers, a visit to "the Deeds" is worthwhile.
Not all deeds were registered. Those that were tended to be transactions between people of roughly the same economic background. The majority of deeds are leases or mortgages, but there are outright sales, marriage settlements, annuities and wills. Summaries of the wills have been published. To be prepared for visiting "the Deeds" it would be advisable to (A) know the townland, barony and county in which a family property was located, and (B) know the names of people with whom the family might have done business, and in particular their landlord.