Friday, 13 April 2012

Kerry Burials - Ancestry's first Web Records non-NA

Earlier this week, database giant Ancestry added a collection of County Kerry Burial Records 1898-2010 to its online search capability. Nothing so odd about that, I hear you say. Except that this collection is the one created last September (see report) and provided absolutely free of charge at www.kerrylaburials.ie. So what's it doing on Ancestry, I wondered.

From further investigation reveals that Ancestry has started adding records or indexes 'belonging' to third-party online publishers. (This isn't anything very new – Mocavo has built its following on just this technique and now claims to have six billion records indexed.)

Ancestry started adding third-party indexes in May last year but initially restricted the sites it crawled to the USA; a quick glance at the list suggests they are all either death or obituary records. Since then, there's been a Canadian collection added but County Kerry Burial Records 1898-2010 seems to be the first third-party collection added from outside North America.

To distinguish the third-party, free indexes from the pay-per-view/subscription collections, Ancestry is calling the former 'Web Records'.

The Kerry burials remain free, of course. Ancestry is simply using its search engine to direct researchers to the collection. For example, if I search Ancestry Kerry Burials Web Records database for my relative Sarah Cahill, who I know died before 1920, I am offered a results display with a few options. Clicking the most likely one, I'm able to see the correct townland and I'm then directed to www.kerrylaburials.ie.

Irritatingly, I have to re-enter my search criteria but I'm then rewarded with an image of the burial register showing that 33-year-old Sarah died in 1913 of TB and is buried in Churchill cemetery.

If you already know of the Kerry burials site, the Ancestry route isn't necessary and simply adds another layer of searching. But if you were a researcher who didn't know of it, this third party search system would be most welcome.