The Journals of the Association for the Preservation of the ‘Memorials of the Dead.

The Journals of the Association for the Preservation of the ‘Memorials of the Dead in Ireland have recently been digitised by the IFHC.  I have always regarded these journals as treasured gems and perhaps mistakenly as one of those ‘last resort’ items.  The Association of The Memorials of the Dead was the brainchild of Colonel Philip D. Vigors, a keen antiquarian, who was dedicated to the preservation and recording of gravestones, tombs and monuments in cemeteries throughout Ireland.  The journals were published annually from 1888 to 1934 with volunteers reporting from various counties sending in transcriptions, rubbings, drawings and sometimes photographs.

The entries can be an invaluable resource for family historians, we have for example from the burial ground in Kellistown in county Carlow the following headstone inscription:

“Erected by DENNIS MURPHY of Kellistown in memory of

his Father THOMAS MURPHY who depd this life the 12

August 1829 aged 66 years also his Brother GERALD

MURPHY who depd this life the 5th of January 1841

aged 40 yrs also the above named DENIS MURPHY who

depd this life the 19th of January 1871 aged 74 years and

Also his Brother Revd Thomas Murphy Who depd this life

At Wilmington N. Carolina U.S. America 17th August

1863 aged 60 years   Requiescant in pace.”

Or the following from Old Dalkey graveyard in county Dublin:


“This stone was erected by Mr. MURTAGH DEMPSY of the

city of Dublin in memory of his affectionate son  HUGH

DEMPSEY block maker of sd. city  who departed this life

April 7th, 1790 Aged 33 years   ISAAC CHRISTY done

this in memory of his beloved Mother who departed

this life Jan. 4 1835 Aged 57 years.”

The journals also published a number of wills, death notices and extracts from parish registers.

It’s ironic given Colonel Vigors’s central role in the preservation and documentation of burial records that his ‘sudden death’ was mistakenly reported in the Irish Times on June 12th 1894.  The following day the same newspaper had to apologise to its readers and state that it had received a letter from the Colonel with the following polite request: ‘With reference to the paragraph in your paper … recording my death, I have to request that you will contradict it in your next issue.’

By Helen Moss

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