Research Catholic Parish Records for Free in March!

Research Catholic Parish Records for Free in March!

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Are you building your family tree? Well here’s some good news for you (and it’s FREE, everyone’s favourite price!)

The largest collection of Irish Catholic Parish Records have gone online. This is the largest collection of its kind available digitally (comprised of records from more than 1,000 parishes in Ireland). And the best thing? Ancestry.com is providing free access to all Irish records for the entire month of March.

treeAncestry.com has painfully taken handwritten information from the original records and put them into digital format. This means each name can now be easily searched and accessed digitally. The original images came from pictures held by the National Library of Ireland (NLI), called the Catholic Parish Registers 1655-1915 collection.

Written in either English or Latin, the records include details such as name, date and place of baptism, marriage and burials, family relationships, elusive maiden names for mothers and wives, names of sponsors (Godparents) and witnesses – information that can provide clues to other family relationships. Other notes of relevant information were also recorded by some of the parishes – including going back and recording the marriage of a person alongside their baptismal record as well as notes about emigration and which country the person settled in.

Included in collection are baptism records of prominent Irish people including:

•James Joyce – Novelist and poet Joyce, best known for his 1922 modernist novel ‘Ulysses’, was born in Terenure, Dublin. His baptismal record is recorded in Latin – Jacobus Augustinus Joyce, the 5th of February 1882.
•Arthur Griffith – Politician and Journalist. Griffith founded Sinn Fein in 1905, and went on to be President of Dáil Éireann. Baptised Arthur Joseph Griffith on the 12th of April 1871 in Dublin City.
•James Hoban – Best known for designing the White House, Hoban was baptized on the 18th of April 1755. Previously his birth year has been merely speculated from his obituary so it is great to uncover the original baptismal record for Hoban.

Says Rhona Murray, Family Historian at Ancestry, “This is the single most important collection for tracing Roman Catholic ancestors in Ireland from the 17th to the early 20th centuries. By 1891, the majority of the country was Catholic, so these records provide key details on most of the population over this time period. This allows people to save a lot of time researching their family tree from the comfort of their own home. When researching these parish images previously you would need to browse them image by image which can be akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Now it is possible to search for a name and have the results presented within seconds. The power to dig into your family tree has never been easier.”

Ancestry is the world’s largest online family history resource with more than 2.2 million paying subscribers across all its websites. More than 17 billion records have been added and users have created more than 70 million family trees. Ancestry has offices in six countries around the world and employs approximately 70 staff at its Irish office in Dublin.

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