Wealth of Irish parish records going back to 1655 now online

2 Mar 2016

Native woman of Keel on Achill Island ca. 1903.

Irish amateur genealogists and charters of the family tree can now access Irish parish records going back to 1655 online for free in March.

The release online of these Irish parish records is one of the largest single releases of many years, with as many of 10m individual files released online by Ancestry.ie.

According to The Irish Times, the records dating up to 1915 are in both English and Latin, with detailed information on the lineage of a person’s family, including the names of godparents and witnesses at religious events.

Thankfully, the Latin details have been translated into English for the digital records, including the baptismal certificate of a certain James Joyce, which was originally written in the language then used by the Catholic Church.

A treasure trove of data

In total, 373,000 images of documents are being made available for free for the month of March on the website, covering more than 1,000 parishes and 3,500 registers, all of which have been transcribed from the sometimes difficult to read handwritten notes.

This recent addition brings the total number of Irish records made available on the website to 55m, including the once long-lost birth certificate of the architect who designed the White House that currently houses the US president.

Speaking of the new treasure trove of documents, the family historian at Ancestry, Rhona Murray, said: “It makes searching so much easier.

“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.”

Main image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic