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Statutory provision for the protection of local authority archives was introduced for the first time in Ireland with the passing of the Local Government Act in 1994. This makes it a function of local authorities to ‘make arrangements for the proper management, custody, care and conservation of local records and local archives and for inspection by the public of local archives'.
Galway County Council Archives, which works under the Library Service, is currently in the process of managing and preserving its large body of archives. This includes the production of extensive descriptive lists and finding aids in order to facilitate public access to the archive collections. It is a slow and time consuming task. Given the volume of archives to be processed it will be some time before much of our material is available to researchers.
What are archives?
Archives are important local and national resources that constitute our national documentary heritage and as such must be treated with great care and respect.
They are the accumulated records of an individual or institution which merit preservation because of their possible subsequent value to the originating source for legal, administrative or personal reasons. Archives are preserved for cultural and historical reasons. Their use as source material allows researchers to document fully and preserve the character and identity of an individual or organisation.
Archives come in a variety of media such as paper, microfilm, film, magnetic tape, disk, optical disk, video, audio-tapes. They also come in various shapes, sizes and formats, including letters, paper files, diaries, registers, index cards, maps, plans, photographs, video cassettes, computerised databases and electronic mail.
Personal records, such as births and marriage certificates, passports, employment contracts, tax certificates, bank statements, personal letters, diaries and photographs all capture our experiences, support our memories, and go towards forming for each of us a history of a life.
Access to archives is by appointment only, please contact the Archivist at 091 509 388.
Access to the archives is provided in conjunction with the Local History section of Galway County Libraries, Island House, Cathedral Square, Galway.
The access policy of Galway County Council Archives is to make its collections as accessible to bona fide users as possible, consistent with the preservation of material and the practical limitations on its resources. Researchers should note that access will not be permitted to unprocessed collections .
Access is governed by the Reading Rules and Guidelines
Researchers must complete a Reader's Registration Form
There is no charge to visit and use the archives.
Enquiries are welcome. We receive a number of enquiries every year, by telephone and email, and by visitors. We endeavour to answer queries as quickly as possible. We are however unable to undertake actual research on behalf of the public but advice is given on whether there are records held relevant to a query.
Galway County Council Archives is unable to provide a genealogical research service, but advice is given on archives of relevance.
Advice on genealogy and a list of genealogical researchers are available from the National Archives of Ireland . Those interested in genealogy may also contact Galway County Libraries, Local History Section which holds records which may assist with family research, including the 1901 and 1911 census records on microfilm, these are also available on-line at the National Archives, and also Griffith’s valuation.
We do not hold civil Birth, Marriage and Death , records these may be accessed via the General Register Office, Dublin.
The Irish Family History Foundation is involved in digitising genealogical information for investigating family history.