THE CULMINATION of years of work, Wexford County Council has launched a new website and brochure as part of its contribution to Heritage Week.
The website showcases for the first time many collections of private origin that have been deposited in the archive over the last number of years, including estate papers, business records, maritime archives, school records and solicitors' collections.
'I am tremedously relieved, it is something that has been in the offing for the past number of years, but due to considerably work commitment it hasn't been possible until now,' said archivist Grainne Doran.
She said she wanted to thank her depositors and to acknowledge the support of her part time staff on community employment schemes 'for getting to this launch.'
Wexford County Archive, located, at 6A Ardcavan Business Park, is the official repository in the county for the archives and records of Wexford Local Authorities and for local private collections.
Grainne was appointed by the county council in 2002 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.
The Archive carries out a range of services including:
• Collections care (ensuring collections are appropriately preserved and stored);
• Facilitating research (academic, local and family history research is facilitated in the Archive's reading room - by advance appointment only);
• Conservation (halting the further deterioration of certain vulnerable documents by engaging a professional conservator);
• Exhibitions (regular displays of material from the Archive in appointed venues. The archivist also supports and advises local groups in developing and exhibiting their own heritage events);
• Outreach (including participation in workshops around the county; delivery of talks to local businesses, societies, clubs, schools and community groups; preservation advice given to individuals and organisations; school and group visits facilitated in the county archive).
The website includes a section on family history and outlines the various sources available in the county archive for family research. Information is provided on how to donate a document or a collection in the 'Deposit your archives with us' section which acknowledges the support of the many individuals and organisations that have deposited collections in the county archive since its establishment.
Grainne said a number of digitisation projects are currently under way in Wexford County Archive and will be rolled out online from September.
In addition to enhancing access to a wider audience, the process also ensures that collections, once digitised, are made available only in that format, thereby preserving the originals.
Coming online before the end of 2013 are Wexford County Council minute books (1899-1997); Wexford County Council burial registers (1909-2003) and Wexford Borough Council minute books (1776-2000).
A number of transcription projects are also under way in the county archive to enhance access to handwritten documents that might otherwise be regarded as 'difficult to read' materials because of the handwriting employed.
The new website can be accessed at www.wexford.ie/archives