The parish register records are among the most crucial for anyone tracing their Irish ancestry. In many cases, these local baptism and marriage records are the only documented trail for descendants to explore since the Irish Censuses of 1821, 1831, 1841, and 1851 were burned in the Public Records Office when the Four Courts caught fire during the Irish Civil War.Share
The records released today contain 40 million names, cover 1,000 parishes across all 32 counties of Ireland, and form the most important resource for Irish ancestors prior to the 1901 census, allowing researchers to trace their roots back to pre-Famine Ireland.
These are the same records that were released online for free to wide applause by the National Library of Ireland at the end of 2014, except there’s one major difference. While the NLI’s Catholic Parish Registers database is fully digitized and searchable by parish, it isn’t indexed or searchable by other criteria such as name.
Findmypast’s offering marks the first time that National Library of Ireland’s collection of Irish Catholic Registers has been fully indexed with images to the original documents linked online. The records can now be searched by name, year and place, allowing relatives and historians the opportunity to make all important links between generations with the baptism records and between families with the marriage registers.
This ease of access will be a complete game changer in the search for one’s Irish ancestors. For many decades, gaining access to parish records involved a trip to Ireland and, in some cases, a visit to the parish in question, where a priest, a nun or an official from the parish office would be the gatekeeper to the records. (Read more.)