The National Library of Ireland has announced plans to make its entire collection of Catholic parish register microfilms available online by summer 2015 – free of charge.
A total of 1,091 parishes are involved, with registers dating from the 1740s to the 1880s. The records are mainly of baptisms and marriages, with the names of godparents and witnesses frequently mentioned. This information is all vitally important, not least because the earliest surviving full census of Ireland (which is already available online) is as recent as 1901.
The Catholic registers project includes converting the existing reels of microfilm into about 390,000 separate digital images. It will be searchable by parish location only, so the indexes and transcripts that are held by the network of family history centres in Ireland should continue to be of help.
FFHS Archives Liaison
14 February 2015