Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Irish Petty Sessions Court Registers 1828-1912 Added by findmypast.com

I have been distracted lately and haven't been commenting on new additions to genealogical databases. I think it is time to start noticing that huge blocks of data are going into the online sites and some, like this present addition, are significant.

findmypast.com has been extremely active in adding valuable new data. If you do Irish research, you realize that Irish records are difficult because of the destruction of various records at various times in different locations. So, if you want to find someone in a specific location, the records you need might or might not be available. An addition of a huge block of previously difficult to access records is therefore
welcome news. Here is a description of these records from findmypast.com:
These were the lowest courts in the country, which dealt with the vast bulk of lesser legal cases, civil and criminal. The Court was presided over by two or more unpaid Justices of Peace, or by a single paid (stipendiary) Magistrate. Judgements were made summarily by the JPs or Magistrate. In other words there was no jury. Each Court met daily, weekly or monthly, depending on the volume of cases to be heard. Every Court had a Clerk who kept the registers that are published here, and collected fees from those involved in cases.
This system is still in place in Northern Ireland and Britain and usually referred to as the Magistrates Court. In the Republic the courts were replaced by the District Court in 1924.
In the future, findmypast.com has plans to expand their offerings of these records. Here is their description of what they are going to do in the future:

There are very few registers which pre-date 1851, and none for Dublin city, Dun Laoghaire (Kingstown), and some other districts either because they were excluded in the 1851 act, or because the records do not survive.Most surviving records for the Republic are held by the National Archives of Ireland. This is the source for most of the records that currently appear on this site, and will do in the future. Other records are held privately or by local libraries and we hope to include them as well. The records for Northern Ireland are either held by the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland or still reside in the court houses. We hope to digitise these too.
I hope to be more diligent in the future about commenting on new records online.



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