Wednesday, 28 September 2016

PRONI stakeholder forum update

I was unfortunately unable to attend the most recent stakeholder forum at the Public Record Ofice of Northern Ireland (, but I have been kindly sent the minutes from the meeting. The following are a few highlights from current developments of interest for family historians:

New accessions to PRONI include papers of the Belfast Naturalists Club (with cataloguing to commence in early 2017), and a smaller collection relating to the life of Samuel J Edgar and the York Street Flax Spinning Company (one of my lot worked there, should be a useful set to look up!).

A significant amount of cataloguing was completed in the summer months on the Londonderry Papers (D3099), and likewise, cataloguing is ongoing on the papers of the Irish Council of Churches (D4602).

The new GIS mapping application (see, which provides OS maps with historical information overlays, should be released imminently.

The archives new Rules and Fees legislation should come into force on 16th November 2016, though final approval has still be passed at the Assembly. This will be the first time that they have been revised since 2009, and amongst new changes there will be clearer rules, a Code of Conduct, and a new table of fees. Most significantly for users, photocopying will no longer be offered, with visitors allowed to use their own equipment to photograph documents, subject to signing a copying and declaration form. To be allowed to do this, users will have to sign an undertaking about copying and copyright awareness before any documents are issued.The facility to obtain high quality copies will still be available.

A conference with the Western Front Association is to be held on the 8th October 2016. A £10 admission fee will be charged by the WFA to cover lunch.

PRONI now has four terminals providing access to GRONI's Geni service, offeirng access to digitised civil registration birth, marriage and death records, up to the present day (unlike the online service, which has imposed closure periods for each category). See for more on this story.

Finally, PRONI’s new Director is Maeve Walls.

(With thanks to Gavin McMahon)

For details on my genealogy guide books, including A Beginner's Guide to British and Irish Genealogy, A Decade of Irish Centenaries: Researching Ireland 1912-1923Discover Scottish Church Records (2nd edition), Discover Irish Land Records and Down and Out in Scotland: Researching Ancestral Crisis, please visit

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