Online records can help diaspora with family trees, minister says

Josepha Madigan in Dublin Castle this earlier this year. (Photo: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie)

A historical tranche of birth, marriage and death registers released online by the Irish government are an “exciting development” for the Irish diaspora, according to Ireland’s minister for culture and heritage.

The General Register Office has been working on updating genealogical records, digitising them so they’re available to the general public for use.

As a result, the public can now access – via www.irishgenealogy.ie – the records pertaining to births between 1864 and 1918; marriages between 1864 and 1943; and deaths between 1878 and 1968.

The latest batch of records includes, among its thousands of registers, the birth certificate for acclaimed tenor Josef Locke, born Joseph McLaughlin in March 1917.

The register of deaths uploaded includes that of the novelist, Walter Macken, who passed away on 22 April 1967; and renowned Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh, who died on 30 November 1967.

Patrick Kavanagh death cert

This digitisation process is part of a joint initiative by both Departments with records being prepared and uploaded by the Civil Registration Service and officials from the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht.

Ireland’s minister for culture, Josepha Madigan, said that the newest records are an “exciting development in family history research for Irish people here and all Irish descendants across the world”, adding that there has been over 2.1 million visitors to the website since the online service became available in 2016.

“For many people the big question then was when further images would be added to the website. I am delighted to announce that register images for marriages dating back to 1864 and all the way up to 1943 can now be viewed online,” she said.

“Anyone wishing to research their family history now has a veritable treasure trove of records available at the click of a button and I’ve no doubt that these additional records will continue to help unlock many mysteries that people have been trying to solve for years.”

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Ireland’s minister for social protection, Regina Doherty, also welcomed the news.

“The Civil Registration Service is one of the State’s essential services and one of the greatest resources for those establishing their family histories,” she said.

“Providing this open and free access to older records and register entries will further support the efforts of many family historians throughout the world.”


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