Today was the first research day and it began at the National Library with an orientation by one of the staff. Unlike most U.S. libraries, the National Library is a closed stack library and material must be ordered. The main reading room (pictured) is on the top floor and is where you receive books, journals or other materials you order using your Reader's Ticket. The mezzanine level contains the Genealogy Service and the microfilm room for parish registers. The Genealogy Service also has computer workstations with many of the Library's digitized resources as well as some databases such as FindMyPast.ie, Irish Origins, and Irish Newspaper Archives. This is a great opportunity to check out these databases that are only available as a subscription to individuals.
A few members of the group jumped right into the heavy duty stuff…the manuscript collections which are housed in a separate reading room down the street from the library. Most people began with Roman Catholic church records which are on self service microfilm. Knowing the civil parish is key to finding the right microfilm and finding aids in the Genealogy Service list by Diocese, the various Roman Catholic parishes, the years covered in their records and the microfilm number.
A few brave souls trekked over to the General Register Office in the afternoon to put in their first requests for civil births, deaths and marriages (only five per visit). Cathi hit the jackpot on her first request finding her ancestor's death certificate.
The Library is open until 8 p.m. on Monday - Wednesday but reading parish registers is hard work <g> and many quit to go out for dinner around 5:30. I did some searches for individuals in the Irish Family History Foundation database in the evening and we scored on some of those as well.
Tomorrow some of the group will be visiting the National Archives, while others return to the Library to continue their research.