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Genealogical Services in Ireland - 07 Sept. 2011


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Presentation by the Genealogical Society of Ireland to the seminar organised by the Minister for Arts, Heritage & the Gaeltacht, Jimmy Deenihan, TD, on September 7th 2011 at the National Library of Ireland.

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Genealogical Services in Ireland - 07 Sept. 2011

  1. 1. C u m ann G e ine alais na h Éire annGenealogical Society of Ireland Presentation prepared by Michael Merrigan, MA, FGSI General Secretary & Fíona Tipple, MA, DipLib, DipGen, ALAI, MGSI Senior Librarian 1
  2. 2. Introduction to the Society• Founded in 1990 in Dún Laoghaire• Adopted present name in 1999• Incorporated in 2000• Received a Grant of Arms in 2001• Nominating Body for Seanad Éireann• Registered Educational Charity• Irish and international membership 2
  3. 3. Objective & Activities• To promote the study of genealogy, heraldry and social history as open access educational leisure pursuits available to all ... through• 12 Lectures and 11 discussion groups• Publications – monthly, annual & occasional• Archive & Research Centre – An Daonchartlann• Courses – weekend genealogy courses• Group projects – Irish DNA Atlas & others• Advocacy – legislative matters & accessibility 3
  4. 4. Public Policy Principle• At its 1997 AGM the Society adopted the important ‘Principle of Public Ownership and Right of Access’ to our genealogical heritage.• This is now accepted as the bedrock of good practice by progressive institutions throughout the State. 4
  5. 5. Legislative IssuesAdvocacy on legislative matters relating to genealogical records and heritage issues since 1992 and covering circa 20 Bills, including: Statistics Act (1993) Heritage Act (1995) National Cultural Institutions Act (1997) Civil Registration Act (2004) Genealogy & Heraldry Bill (2006) National Cultural Institutions (Amendment) Bill (2008) Statistics (Heritage Amendment) Bill (2011) Proposed integration of NAI, IMC and NLI and many others. 5
  6. 6. Legislative Programme• The Society welcomes the inclusion in the Programme for Government of commitments on the release of the 1926 census and the reform of the delivery of heraldic services.• The National Archives Act, 1986 and the National Cultural Institutions Act, 1997 require updating to meet the current and future requirements of the institutions.• Opportunity for the legislative integration of the NAI, IMC and NLI in a new National Cultural & Archival Institutions Bill which maintains these bodies as separate institutions. 6
  7. 7. Genealogy – Resource or Product?• The fundamental question!• As a product genealogy benefits the few – those who can afford to buy it and those selling it.• As a national resource genealogy has the potential to benefit important sectors of the economy and many communities throughout the country in a sustainable manner. 7
  8. 8. Sustainable National Resource• Our genealogical heritage is part of what we are as a people and it’s the cherished inheritance of over 70 million people throughout the world.• Genealogy is the ‘gateway’ or ‘introduction’ to Ireland and its culture, heritage, goods and services for millions of potential customers, clients, visitors and investors around the world.• Genealogy is a sustainable national resource.• To successfully compete with the growing trend towards ‘pay for view’ genealogy, we should concentrate on developing and marketing internationally accessible ‘free to view’ on-line genealogical resources. 8
  9. 9. Public Access• The ‘Principle of Public Ownership & Right of Access’ to our genealogical heritage is fundamental.• Free public access must be maintained to all genealogical records held by the State, Local Authorities and State funded institutions.• An enlightened and progressive approach to providing free public access to historic records such as the Land Commission records is essential.• The paper and computerised genealogical records of the State funded network of Heritage Centres should be transferred to the custody of the County Librarians in each area. 9
  10. 10. The Irish Diaspora• Seventy Million and growing!• The ‘Principle of Public Ownership & Right of Access’ extends to our diaspora.• The promotion of an awareness, appreciation and knowledge of Ireland’s genealogical heritage amongst our diaspora will create a sustainable affinity and a purposeful connectivity with Ireland’s past and present.• This ‘gateway’ to Ireland should not be obstructed by virtue of cost – access to their genealogical heritage must be free of charge to maximize its appeal, its sustainability and its potential for development. 10
  11. 11. National Policy Required• The delivery of genealogical services by the State institutions and State funded NGOs is fragmentary and often simply an adjunct to core functions.• Genealogy is a valuable national resource and should be developed, managed and promoted accordingly.• Designation and preservation of genealogical records, coordination in the delivery of services, maintenance of standards, and the commitment to public access is essential.• A national advisory body representing all stakeholders to assist in the formulation of a National Policy on the Provision of Genealogical Services and to advise on its implementation. 11
  12. 12. An Bealach Romhainn• Identification of key objectives• Legislative reform – updating of 1986 National Archive and 1997 National Cultural Institutions Acts.• Identification of stakeholder partnerships / collaborations (State, semi-State, NGOs, commercial & voluntary sectors)• Establishment of implementation processes, frameworks and timetables• Source sustainable funding streams• Research, Innovation & Development – planning & strategies• Formulation of a National Policy on the Provision of Genealogical Services in Ireland. 12