Although I have been patiently scouring the Grantor Indexes and Townland Indexes for many years as I attempt to track down registered deeds, I was not previously aware of the Abstracts Books and haven't really been able to find out much about them anywhere online or in my reference books? They were fleetingly mentioned in a recent talk I listened too when I learned that they were initiated in the 1830's to aid legal researchers in finding the deeds they sought. Clerks compiled far more expansive index entries with columns spanning 2 pages and listing so much more that the sparse entries of the other 2 indexes i.e. more names, townlands, dates, reference numbers and also for the first time, a classification of the type of deed that had been registered.
These Abstract Books ran from 1833 to 1969 before being replaced by digital records and are only available to consult onsite in the Registry of Deeds in Dublin. Apparently, there was also an attempt to retrospectively create them for the earliest records as a volume covering 1708-1717 came to light during collaborative work on the new Anglo-Scottish digital humanities project that I blogged about earlier. Sadly, it appeared enthusiasm quickly fizzled out and no more volumes are believed to bridge that substantial gap until 1833.
However, I'm not going to quibble about that, but what I am going to release a massive wail of anguish about is that the Abstract Books that do exist were NEVER DIGITISED by FamilySearch when they did all the other books! Having these online today would make a massive difference to being able to confidently track down the right deeds and make sense of them from a financial and legal point of view. I've been in touch with the Property Registration Authority of Ireland to see if these books might be included in their new digitisation strategy but no response as yet.