The Cataloguing process in brief

Original order maintained

  • In keeping with archival principles the original order of the documents as established by the 19th century clerks has been maintained or reconstructed.
  • Documents which have become separated from their ‘file’ have been reunited where possible.
  • Documents which have been misplaced in the papers have been placed in their original position where possible.

Item level description

  • A description has been created for each item or ‘file’. A single description can, therefore, cover either (a) a single document (b) a ‘file’ containing two or more documents
  • The catalogue contains the following information in separate fields – reference code, title, scope and content, extent, date, original number.

Description style– from ‘general’ to ‘specific’

  • Each description has a one sentence ‘Title’, summarising in broad or general terms the subject matter of the document(s).
  • Each description also has a ‘Scope and Content’ which provides more specific information on the document(s). It includes information on the type(s) of document; author(s); any office(s) they held; address(es); the addressee(s); synopsis of the document’s (documents’) content; annotations etc.

Renumbering system

  • The documents have been renumbered using new codes1.
  • The new numbering scheme for the ‘regular series’ is as follows –
    • CSO/RP/year/consecutive number
    • e.g. Documents for the year 1828 are numbered CSO/RP/1828/1, CSO/RP/1828/2, etc.
  • The new numbering scheme for the State of the Country Papers or Outrage Papers is as follows –
    • CCSO/RP/SC/year/consecutive number or CSO/RP/OR/year/consecutive number
    • e.g. Outrage documents for the year 1828 are numbered CSO/RP/OR/1828/1, CSO/RP/OR/1828/2, etc.
  • The new numbering scheme for the Catholic Association Papers is as follows –
    • CSO/RP/CA/year/consecutive number
    • e.g. Catholic Association documents dated 1823 are numbered CSO/RP/CA/1823/1, CSO/RP/CA/1823/2, etc.
  • Occasionally clerks mistakenly used the same number twice – in this case two new numbers have been allocated – the same original number is noted in both cases and the anomaly is noted.
  • Unnumbered documents or misplaced documents which cannot be reunited with their ‘file’ have been assigned new numbers and the anomaly is noted.

Comparison of a new description with an original CSORP index/register description

  • The following example demonstrates how many valuable records have remained effectively hidden from researchers until now due to the sparse amount of information recorded in the original indexes/registers.
  • Original register description
    • ‘89. Sinclair James – Remonstrats agt the appoint of addl constables in Cy Donegal’ Filed under ‘S’ in the register (S for ‘Sinclair’)
  • New archival description
    • NAI Reference Code: CSO/RP/1828/85
    • Title: File of documents arising from a resolution of Donegal magistrates calling for additional constables to be appointed to the baronies of Raphoe and Kilmacrenan.
    • Scope and Content: Resolution signed by 20 magistrates of County Donegal assembled at Lifford Quarter Sessions, addressed to the Lords Justices stating that an additional 30 police constables are required for the baronies of Raphoe and Kilmacrenan. Also covering letter from William Edward [Mason], Lifford, [County Donegal], to William Lamb, Chief Secretary. Also letter from James Sinclair, magistrate of Donegal, Glasnevin, [Dublin], [to William Gregory, Under Secretary], stating that the majority of Donegal magistrates are opposed to the increase and enclosing supporting returns; includes annotation stating that no other objections have been voiced to the proposal and that the Lord Lieutenant has decided not to change the decision of the magistrates. Also returns of unexecuted warrants for Kilmacrenan and those received by James Taylor, Chief Constable, dated 1827 to 1828, noting the names of individuals against whom warrants have been issued and names of complainants. Also return of the names of 43 prisoners and 18 debtors confined in Lifford Gaol, prepared by William Fenton, Governor of the Gaol of Donegal, for James Sinclair. Also letter from Thomas D’Arcy, Dalystown, [County Galway], to Thomas Taylor, recommending that sufficient time be allowed to the magistrates to assemble. [Contains list of names not given in this description].
    • Extent: 8 items; 17pp
    • Dates: 14 Jan 1828-28 Jan 1828
    • Original Reference Number: CSORP/1828/89

  • 1 ‘CSO’ = ‘Chief Secretary’s Office’; ‘RP’ = ‘Registered Papers’; ‘SC’ = ‘State of the Country Papers’; ‘OR’ = ‘Outrage Papers’; ‘CA’ = ‘Catholic Association Papers’.