The confirmation, announced today, of the discovery of extensive children's remains in the grounds of the Tuam Mother and Baby Home, along with the absence of any related burial records, reminded me of a related matter.
I was in Glasnevin cemetery some years ago chasing up my family history. As I passed the old Angels' Plot I was reminded of a mother who had a miscarriage many years earlier in a Dublin maternity hospital where she was assured the baby would be buried in that plot in Glasnevin.
I thought why don't I check out the records and be in a position to confirm to the mother where her baby was buried. I rang her to get the details of when she had the miscarriage and made my way to the office where a very nice lady gave me full run of the Angels' Plot ledger.
However, there was no sign of an appropriate entry and I found this very upsetting at the time. I clearly regretted my call to the mother as I knew that the absence of such a record would be very upsetting news, to say the least.
Fortunately the matter was never pursued and she was never aware of the absence of the record.
It did make me wonder, though, what ever happened to the baby and were there other cases like this lurking in the shadows?
Perhaps she should never have been reassured that the baby would be buried there but the whole thing made me wonder what did happen to the baby.
Perhaps there is a job of research to be done there. Unfortunately it would have to start from scratch as I have forgotten the date in question and the mother and father concerned are no longer with us.
Every time I pass the plot in Glasnevin I am overcome with sadness at the thought of all those parents who have lost their babies, but I am also filled with apprehension about the fate of those babies who may never have made it to this sacred resting place.
Beware the Ides of March. Well, after meeting Lynn Brady, resident Glasnevin cemetery genealogist at the DCLA Family History Day, and discussing the missing baby with her, she has come up trumps and I'm glad to say the baby is actually resting in St. Patrick's angels' plot.
Not that I ever doubted the accuracy of Glasnevin's records. In fact it was my faith in them that convinced me that the baby never arrived, whereas the fault lay in my own failure to find the record.
That failure did, however, get me wondering about this area, and in particular how things are handled at the hospital end, and I hope this is fully examined in the course of upcoming official inquiries.