Irish ancestry records dating back 300 years available online
Tracing our ancestors has become more fashionable recently following the success of television programmes such as Who Do You Think You Are and Long Lost Families.
Until now, the process has been logistically cumbersome and expensive but that is set to change as the entire collection of Catholic parish register microfilms held by the National Library of Ireland will to go live today.
People with Irish Catholic ancestors will be to trace their roots back to the 1740's on the dedicated website free of charge.
Over 370,000 digital images of the microfilm reels will be available for download.
The parish register records are considered the single most important source of information on Irish family history prior to the 1901 Census.
The documents, primarily baptismal and marriage records, date from the 1740s to the 1880s and encompass 1,086 parishes throughout Ireland.
The NLI’s Ciara Kerrigan, who has been managing the extensive digitisation project said: “We received a hugely enthusiastic response from people worldwide with an interest in Irish family history."
Taoiseach Enda Kenny and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys will launch the project at lunchtime today.
For more information, visit www.nli.ie. For more on the launch follow the hashtag #ancestorsonline or follow @NLIreland on Twitter.