The National Library of Ireland (NLI) is embarking on its most ambitious digitization project to date: making its entire collection of Irish Catholic parish registers available online by summer 2015. The registers, which will be freely accessible to the public, are considered “the single most important source of information on Irish family history prior to the 1901 Census.”
Dating back to the mid-18th century, the registers (of which there are more than 1,000) come from all across Ireland and primarily document records of baptisms and marriages. The registers are currently stored on microfilm reels and are slowly and carefully being converted into digital images. These images will then be shared with the public via a dedicated website which will launch during the summer.
Besides the ambitious nature of the digitization work, the project also holds significance for both amateur and professional Irish historians and genealogists. Colette O’Flaherty, Head of Special Collections at the NLI believes the project “will be of huge assistance to those who wish to research their family history.”
For more information on on the project, visit the NLI’s website.