Maintaining a Parish


This tutorial is aimed at anyone who has recently taken over the task of looking after the GENUKI pages for a parish (or town). We'll take you step-by-step through the things to to check to ensure that the most important elements of your parish/town page are in-place, giving you a platform on which to add more detailed information.  We'll cover:

  1. Checking & editing the parish location & boundary.
  2. Checking & editing the list of associated towns, villages, hamlets & townlands and their location details.
  3. Checking & editing the list of associated churches & cemeteries, and their details.
  4. Adding & Editing Information about the parish
  5. Some Guidance on Topics & Information

Whilst our examples will be civil parishes in Ireland, the same principles will apply to pages for towns, Church of England parishes and Church in Wales parishes; although some aspects may not apply (for example, plotted boundaries apply only to parishes, and lists of townlands apply only to civil parishes in Ireland).

We'll assume that the GENUKI Place page is already in-place, and that you've been given a GENUKI Username & Password that allows you to edit that page and any other pages associated with that parish.


Getting Started

If you haven't done so already, go to GENUKI Maintainer log-in page and log-in.  Then navigate to the Place page for the town/parish you wish to edit which, for this example, will be the civil parish of Ballyhay, in County Cork, Ireland. 

If you need to find the Place page for a civil parish then, on any GENUKI page:

  1. Select “UK and Ireland”.
  2. Select the appropriate country.
  3. Select the appropriate county group.
  4. Select the appropriate county.

This will open the main Place page for that county which, in our example, is County Cork.

Select a county


When the Place page for the county opens, click on the link labelled “List of Parishes in this County” (or similar wording) in the centre of the page, just below the map.



In the list of towns & parishes that then appears, find the name of the parish that you wish to edit and click on it to open the Place page (the main page) for that town/parish.

Selecting the parish page

Task 1: Checking the Parish Location & Boundary

Note that GENUKI uses plotted boundaries for parishes & counties, but not usually for towns, and not for villages, hamlets or townlands.

As with all Place pages, the page for Ballyhay parish features a map with a pin-marker (in this case a pink diamond shape) indicating where the parish is located. 

This pin should indicate the approximate centre of the parish but, if the parish bears the name of a town, village, hamlet or townland within it's boundary, then the pin may well mark the centre of that place; which is often not near the geographic centre of the parish. 

If do you need to relocate the pin, how to do that can be found here.

For parishes (but not towns) on this map you should be able to see an irregular shape surrounding the pin marker, which shows the parish boundary.  The parish boundary is denoted by a green line for parishes in Ireland & Wales, but a blue line for parishes in England & Scotland.

If the parish boundary you can see is a regular shape (that is, a rectangle or polygon) or if you can see no shape at all (as in this example), then the parish boundary has not yet been properly plotted. The instructions on how to do that can be found here.

Ballyhey civil parish Place page


Once the parish boundary has been plotted, the Place page for Ballyhay looks like this screenshot. In this particular example you can see that there is more than one green shape.  That's because Ballyhay - like many parishes in Ireland - consists of two separate areas of land, albeit that they are quite close together (and look like 3 areas!) in this case.

The pink line of dashes that you can see denotes the approximate position of the county boundary.  Some parishes straddle the county boundary, so don't be alarmed if the boundary of a parish includes an area in the neighbouring county.

Ballyhey Place page 2


Task 2: Checking the Places Associated with a Parish.

Most parishes have other place-names associated with them, such as villages, hamlets, townlands (in Ireland only) and other localities.  The first part of this section deals with Townlands and applies only to parishes in Ireland.  If you are looking after pages for a parish other than in Ireland, then you can skip to Checking the Location Markers below.

Checking the List of Townlands (Ireland only)

For civil parishes in Ireland, having an accurate list of the townlands is important because the townland name often functions as a “street address” in church registers and many other records.  So one of your priorities should be to check the list of townlands for your civil parish, looking for errors or ommisions.

To check the list of townlands, on the civil parish Place page, click on “Historical Geography” in the list of topics, or scroll down to the “Historical Geography” section; where you will see a list of the townlands linked to this cvil parish in the GENUKI Gazetteer. 

We'll cover how you alter the list later but, suffice to say for now that you cannot simply directly edit the list, as it is automatically generated from data held in the Gazetteer. 

Historical Geography topic example


You need to check that all of the townlands listed are within this civil parish, and that no townlands are missing.  You will find a list of townlands on several websites, including:

Note: that the last two show the townlands on the 1840s 6-inch OS maps, though not as a list)

However, be aware that you will find some discrepancies between these various sources because:

  • Many townlands straddle boundaries and some sources simplify things by listing a townland under the civil parish within contains the largest portion.
  • Quite a few boundaries have changed over time and some townlands have been moved from one civil parish into another at some point.

We'll look at adding a townland missing from the list later, and also editing a townland entry.


Checking the Location Markers for Places within a Parish

We'll now take a look at the places in the GENUKI Gazetteer that lie within this parish (that is, the towns, villages, hamlets, townlands & other localities) and ensure that we have their locations reasonably accurately described. Open the main Place page for your parish and click on the "Nearby places" tab.  That opens a map showing pin-markers for all places in the Gazetteer that are located within - or close to - the parish. On this example (Kilmoe civil parish in County Cork) you can see four different shapes of pin:

  1. Indicates the approximate centre of the village/hamlet/townland from which the parish takes it name, or else the geographic centre of the parish itself.
  2. Indicates places for which we think we have a more-or-less accurate location.
  3. Indicates places for which we have only an approximate location.
  4. Indicates places which lie somewhere in this area, but we don't know where.

These individual pins represent the locations of towns, villages, hamlets, islands, townlands (in Ireland) and other localities. To correct the position (and/or the indication of "precision") of a pin:

  • Click on the pin on the map, then select "Edit" in the pop-up box that appears.
  • Move the pin to the corrected location on the map (instructions on how to do that can be found here).
  • Select an appropriate "Gazetteer precision" value from the list above the map.
  • Click on either of the two "Save" buttons.


Map showing examples of townland location pins

Adding a Place within a Parish

If you spot a town, village, hamlet or (in Ireland) townland that is missing from the GENUKI Gazetteer (that is, not represented by a pin marker on the map we looked at above), then you can add an entry to the Gazetteer as follows.

Supposing we've spotted that a townland called Ballysallagh was missing from our example parish of Kilmoe in County Cork.  We first need to check what townlands of that name are already listed in the GENUKI Gazetteer for County Cork and to do that:

  1. Click on Gazetteer on the main menu on any GENUKI page.
  2. Enter the name of the place (Ballysallagh) in the "Place name" box.
  3. Select the county from the drop-down list.
  4. Select "2. Tabular List.."
  5. Click on the "Select" button.
  6. A list of places in the Gazetteer with that name appears.

We can see that there are two "Ballysallagh" entries but that (from the right-hand column) neither of them is linked to Ballyhay civil parish. 

Gazetteer search form


So the "Ballysallagh" missing from our list of townlands needs to be added to the GENUKI Gazetteer.  To do that, on any GENUKI page:

  1. Click on "Add Content" in the Top Menu.
  2. Select "Gazetteer entry"

You will now be presented with a "Create Gazetteer Entry" Form, which we fill-in with the details of the place that is missing from the Gazetteer.

Add Gazetteer entry 1


Fill in the details of the missing place in the Create Gazetteer Entry form as follows:

  1. Enter the name of the place as the "Title". In some cases you might want to differentiate it from other places with the same name by entering something like "Ballysallagh (southwest of Charleville)".
  2. Enter the name of the place as the "Place Name".
  3. Enter the name of the county.
  4. Choose "Exact" for the precision of the pin marker on the map.
  5. Move the pin marker to the correct location on the map.  Instructions on how to do that can be found here
  6. Select "Townland/hamlet/village" (as appropriate) for the Location Type.
  7. Select the appropriate parish as the "Parent Place". Instructions on how to do that can be found here.
  8. Enter a URL Alias (see below).
  9. Press either of the two "Save" buttons (near the top & bottom of the page).





    Add Gazetteer entry 2

    The "URL Alias" is a unique shortcut to the Gazetteer entry for this place and it must be of the format: /gaz/CCC/Place where:

    • CCC is the Chapman Code for the county or island (for example: LAN for Lancashire, DOW for County Down, BEW for Berwickshire, FLN for Flintshire, GSY for Guernsey).
    • Place is the name of the place but it must be unique within the county. Hence in this case, since we know that there are two other places with the same name in County Cork, we've used "Ballysallagh3" rather than "Ballysallagh".



    Add Gazettter entry 3


    If you have just added a townland to a civil parish in Ireland, the list of townlands in the "Historical Geography" section on that parish page will now include the townland you've just added (Ballysallagh in our example).

    Historical Geography example 2


    Editing Details of a Place within a Parish

    If you find a place associated with a parish that shouldn't be (for example, a townland listed in the "Historical Geography" section for a civil parish in Ireland that shouldn't be there), then you'll have to do a little research to find out which parish it should be linked-to. 

    Having established that, you should search the Gazetteer in the same way as shown at the beginning of the "Adding a Place within the Parish" above.  Except that this time click on the name that you wish to edit in the "Place Gazetteer Entry" column.

    When the Place page for that townland opens, click on the "Edit" tab.  The "Edit Gazetteer Entry" form that then opens is exactly the same as the "Create Gazetteer Entry" form  that we've already covered above.

    So scroll down to the "Parent Place" box, click on the "Replace" button and set the new Parent Place value to the correct parish.

    When you finished editing, click either of the "Save" buttons, which you'll find at both the top & bottom of that page.

    Edit townland 1


    Task 3: Checking the List of Churches & Cemeteries

    Knowing the locations of churches & cemeteries near to where their ancestors lived can be a big help to genealogists; so GENUKI tries to document all of the places of worship and burial that are - or once were - within each parish. 

    Each church/cemetery has its own GENUKI page where full details (location, denomination, dedication, etc) can be recorded and that page is linked to a "Parent Place". Usually that Parent Place is the parish within which it lies, but sometimes the Parent Place has been set to a town or village within the parish instead.  Any parish, town or village which has had churches/cemeteries linked to it in this way, will have an automatically-generated list of those churches & cemeteries on its Place page. 


    Listing the Churches & Cemeteries in the GENUKI Database

    First of all, we need to see which churches & cemeteries in or around this parish, that are already in the GENUKI database.

    To do that, on the Place page for your parish:

    1. Click on the "Nearby churches" tab.
    2. If the parish is very large, adjust the "Change distance" setting, to ensure that all of the parish is covered.
    3. If several churches/cemeteries are close together (as is often the case in towns) adjust the "Zoom" setting to help separate the pin-markers on the map.
    4. The green line indicates the boundary of this parish (towns and villages do not have a boundary plotted).
    5. Each pin-marker indicates a church or cemetery already in the GENUKI database.
    6. Clicking on "Listed as a table" changes the view from a map to a list.

    On the map view, a Key below the map explains the symbols, but basically the colour of the pin indicates the denomination of the congregation, whilst the shape of the pin indicates the accuracy of its location on the map. 

    Checking the List of Churches 2


    Identifying the Churches & Cemeteries in the parish

    There is no easy way to indentify all of the churches and cemeteries that are - or were - located within your parish.   You could:

    • Systematically browse Ordnance Survey or other online maps of that area; using historical maps to identify churches & cemeteries no longer in existance.
    • Search the Internet using the name of your parish together with selected other words (for example: "Mytown church", "Mytown chapel", "Mytown methodist", Mytown baptist", Mytown catholic", etc.).
    • Repeat the internet search using the names of the main towns and villages within the parish.

    Obviously you will need to check each church/cemetery you find in turn, to see if they already appear on that "Nearby churches" list/map. 


    Adding or Editing Churches or Cemeteries

    If you do find a church/cemetery that isn't already listed (so needs to be added), or that is listed but linked to the "wrong" Parent Place (so needs to be edited), then instructions on how to do those things can be found here.


    Task 4: Editing & Adding Other Information about a Civil Parish.

    List of Topics

    On GENUKI pages, the information is normally listed under a standard list of Topic headings, with a list of the main topics near the top of the all place pages, often either side of a location map, as in this example for Ballyhay civil parish, County Cork.   These toipc headings are those used by the Family History Library Catalogue.

    A small triangle (◬) to the right of a heading in the list (as there is against both "Census" and "Church Records" in this example) indicates that we currently don't have any information on that topic relating to this specific place.  For that reason, clicking on the small triangle will take you up to the county page, where there may be some useful information.

    Conversely, for the topic headings which don't have a triangle (Gazetteers, Historical Geography, Land & Property and Maps in this example) we do have some information, and so scrolling down that page will reveal sections under each of those headings with information specific to this place.



    Ballyhey civil parish Place page

    Editing an Existing Topic

    If your parish/town page already has some information under a particular topic that you need to correct (or add new information to), then:

    1. Open the parish/town Place page.
    2. Click on "Edit" tab near the top of the page.
    3. Scroll down to the relevant Topic (the Heading is in the "Topic Type" box).
    4. Edit the text in the "Topic Content" box.
    5. Click either of the two "Save" buttons (at the top & bottom of the page).

    See below for some notes on the contents of each topic section.


    Adding a Missing Topic

    Only topics that currently hold information will appear on your Editing screen, so if you want to add information under one of the other topics you will need to add that topic to your editing form. 

    To do that:

    1. Scroll down the page and click on the "Add Another Topic" button.
    2. Select the appropriate "Topic Type" (subheading) from the drop-down list.
    3. Type your information into the "Topic content" box.
    4. Click either "Save" button (near both the top & bottom of the page)

    See below for some notes on the contents of each topic section.

    Adding a Topic


    Some Guidance on Topic Content


    Some guidance on the Topics available and their use can be found here and here. What follows are just some suggestions as to the sort of content that might belong under the most commonly used topic headings and is not intended to be a definitive list.  You may find that some information seems to fit under more than one topic heading and, if so, don't be afraid of repetition!

    Some bullet points:

    • Remember, we are aiming to add information (or pointers to sources of information) that may be useful to those researching their family history or local history.  That could include any resource with information about people, organisations, institutions, community groups, religious groups or industries (etc.) from - or associated with - that local area.  
    • Try put information on the appropriate pages.  Parish pages should concentrate on listing information specific to that parish; with information covering a wider area often more appropriate on the County or Country pages.
    • Remember to mention the "who, what, when and where" (Who/what this resource is about, what time-frame it covers and where it can be viewed).
    • Whilst website details might seem to suffice as the contact details for an institution or Organisation, at the very least indicate the town it is located in, just in case the website address changes!
    • When referring to websites, try to indicate whether the information is free to view, or if a subscription is necessary.


    Archives & Libraries

    Contact details for libraries & archives holding books & documents likely to be of interest to those researching local history or their family ancestry in this area.  As a general rule don't list County or National archives/libraries on parish/town pages, as they should be listed on the county or country page. (However, if you know of books or documents relating specfically to this area, then they should be listed in the appropriateTopic, irrespective of where they are held.


    Details of books, publications, newspaper articles and websites (etc) relating to historical, notable or prominent people or families from - or associated with - this area.


    The locations & contact details for places of burial within the area.  For civil-parishes (and for some towns) this list will be automatically-generated from the churches & cemeteries in the GENUKI database. For places that don't feature the automated list (for example village/hamlet pages) you should consider pointing out the "Nearby churches" tab which, despite the title, also includes places of burial.


    Details of civil (or ecclesiastical) census returns, poll tax returns, window tax and similar "census substitute" documents pertaining to this area.

    Church Records

    Details of Church Records (Parish Registers, Minute Books, Sunday School attendance records, etc) for places of worship within this area.  This information should be on the GENUKI page for the individual churches and not on the parish/town page.  If you need to transfer this information to a church/cemetery page, the instructions for that can be found here.

    Civil Registration

    Details of the Registration Districts that cover, or once covered, this area.
    Details of any publications or websites specifically covering the civil registration of births, marriages & deaths for this area.  

    Description & Travel

    Details of publications or websites providing historical descriptions, general tourist information and public transport in this area.


    Details of Post Office and Trade Directories containing information specific to this area

    Emigration & Immigration

    Details of publications or websites providing historical descriptions or lists relating to emigration from (to immigration to) this specific area.


    Details of (or quotations from) Gazetteers specifically about this area.


    Details of any publications or websites covering information for this area that is likely to be of interest to genealogists.
    Details of genealogical societies covering this area.

    Historical Geography

    A good place to document known boundary changes that may have taken place over time. For civil parishes in Ireland, this topic will include an automatically-generated list of townland within that parish.


    Details of any publications or websites covering the local history of this area; including local families, industries, institutions and organisations.

    Land & Property

    Details of any publications or websites covering land & property ownership or taxation for this area.

    Law & Legislation



    Details of historical maps covering this area.  Note that all place pages will include an automatically-generated list of online maps that show this area, linked to the acual location on the map (where the map website allows that).

    Military Records


    Monumental Inscriptions

    Details of publications or websites detailing gravestones and similar monumental inscriptions in this area. Note that information relating to specific churches or graveyards should be on the GENUKI page for the individual church/graveyard and not on the parish/town page.  If you need to transfer this information to a church/cemetery page, the instructions for that can be found here.

    Names, Personal



    Details of local or regional newspapers that do (or did) cover this area.


    Details of publications, articles or websites listing or detailing obituaries for people from, or associated with, this area.


    Details of publications, articles or websites covering occupations or industries specifically associated with this area.


    Details of periodicals covering local life, or local history, in this area.

    Politics & Government


    Probate Records


    Religion & Religious Life


    Social Life & Customs



    Details of community groups & societies from (or covering) this area; especially those involved with local history or genealogy.
    Details of publications & websites covering the history of community groups & societies from (or covering) this area.

    Voting Records