Famine files among new records online
Now you can reach out and touch the past. A family history website aims to harness the diaspora with the launch of what it claims is the definitive collection of 19th-century Irish historical records.
Subscription website ancestry.co.uk is launching updated details of the lives of more than one million people in Ireland from the Famine era to mark St Patrick's Day.
The website also contains details of the Irish ancestors of modern American icons such as US President Barack Obama and cartoonist Walt Disney, as well as some of Ireland's most famous exports, including Oscar Wilde.
"The new collections will be hugely relevant to anyone with Irish ancestry as they may hold the earliest or final record of their ancestors' existence during this period of Ireland's history," Dan Jones of the website said yesterday.
An estimated 80 million people around the world can be linked to Irish ancestors who left over the past 200 years.
Although the 600,000 Irish land tax records in the tithe applotment books are available to view free of charge at the National Archives in Dublin, this website brings the digitised records together in a searchable format.
Also in the records is the Lawrence Collection of more than 20,000 snapshots of Irish life between 1870 and 1910.
Details from the most comprehensive survey of households available for the 19th Century -- The Griffith's Valuation of Ireland (1848-1864) -- are also on the website.
Almost 2,000 historical ordnance survey maps of Ireland, dating from 1824-1846, add another aspect to the newly available material.