July 2015  CalendarWednesday 8th July 2015

Wednesday the 8th of July 2015 is the date you need to write on your calendar – especially if you have Irish ancestry, as that is the date the National Library of Ireland are going to launch their Catholic Parish Registers online.

Actually for us in Australia, depending on what time they’re uploaded, it could quite well be the 9th of July.

I first mentioned this mega-digitisation project back in December 2014 (you can read that here), and it seems that the team behind it are working phenomenally to be able to provide users with access to almost 400,000 images of original Irish Catholic parish register records by the nominated date … 8th of July 2015!

A portion of the Press Release from the National Library of Ireland says the following …

Irish Catholic Parish Registers

The entire collection of Catholic parish register microfilms held by the National Library of Ireland (NLI) will be made available online – for free – from 8th July 2015 onwards. On that date, a dedicated website will go live, with over 390,000 digital images of the microfilm reels on which the parish registers are recorded.

The NLI has been working to digitise the microfilms for over three years under its most ambitious digitisation programme to date. The parish register records are considered the single most important source of information on Irish family history prior to the 1901 Census. Dating from the 1740s to the 1880s, they cover 1,091 parishes throughout the island of Ireland, and consist primarily of baptismal and marriage records.

“This is the most significant ever genealogy project in the history of the NLI. The microfilms have been available to visitors to the NLI since the 1970s. However, their digitisation means that, for the first time, anyone who likes will be able to access these registers without having to travel to Dublin.”

Typically, the parish registers include information such as the dates of baptisms and marriages, and the names of the key people involved, including godparents or witnesses. The digital images of the registers will be searchable by parish location only, and will not be transcribed or indexed by the NLI.

“The images will be in black and white, and will be of the microfilms of the original registers,” explained Ms. Kerrigan.

“There will not be transcripts or indexes for the images. However, the nationwide network of local family history centres holds indexes and transcripts of parish registers for their local areas. So those who access our new online resource will be able to cross-reference the information they uncover, and identify wider links and connections to their ancestral community by also liaising with the relevant local family history centre.”

So for Irish researchers around the world … the wait is almost over! Are you ready??

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