The National Library of Ireland recently announced that it will be digitizing their parish records and providing free online access starting on July 8th. These records are considered the most important resource for researching Irish family history prior to the 1901 Census, and the NLI has referred to the digitization as the greatest ever genealogical project in the library’s history. The records date from the 1740s to the 1880s, cover over 1,000 parishes, and while they have been available on microfilm since the 1970s, this is the first time they will be available for free online.
To access these records, one would have had to visit the National Library in Dublin or pay a third-party researcher to do so. Fee Berry, who lives in the UK, expressed excitement at accessing the records to search for her grandmother, as the cost had prevented her from doing so in the past. Clara Doyle of Ireland Reaching Out echoed Berry’s sentiments, calling the website “a great advancement for those researching their Irish family history,” as people all over the world can soon research their Irish ancestors without leaving their homes. ♦