Does your Irish family have links to the Church of Ireland? You could find out more about their past with the help of newly digitized records.
Editor’s Note: This October, IrishCentral will be publishing a series of articles celebrating Irish family heritage, from genealogy and personal tales to interesting Irish names. With up to 80 million people around the world claiming Irish ancestry, IrishCentral's Irish Family Heritage Month has a lot to celebrate! Keep up-to-date with all genealogy stories on IrishCentral here.
One of the wonders of the digital age is how the ability to digitize records has made it easier than ever to explore your genealogy no matter where in the world you are and now it’s set to become even easier if your Irish family was within the Church of Ireland.
On September 10, 2018, Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD announced that over $110,000 (€100,000) had been granted toward the digitization of Church of Ireland parish registers, held in the Representative Church Body Library, as part of the Department’s digitization scheme.
The register records date back as far as 1619 and include the Church of Ireland parish registers for baptism, marriage, and burial; 1,110 sets of parish records in total and approximately 840 of which contain varying quantities of public records which have not yet been digitized.
Minister for Culture, Heritage & Gaeltacht, Ms Josepha Madigan TD, @rcblibrary today announcing grant supporting Church of Ireland Parish Register Digitization https://t.co/pf5DjU0gTd #genealogy #IrishGenealogy #IrishFamilyHistory pic.twitter.com/boDx3W1t0w— RCBLibrary (@rcblibrary) September 10, 2018
Making the announcement Minister Madigan stated: “I am delighted to provide funding for the Representative Church Body Library’s project to digitize Church of Ireland Parish Registers, as part of the wider cultural digitization scheme.
“This A grant project will make it possible for people all over Ireland and indeed the world to access these unique records as they represent an important body of evidence about the Church’s history.
“Digitisation of this type also provides a vital channel to connect with our Diaspora – which is estimated to be up to 70 million people worldwide – and in turn encourages cultural tourism.”
At Representative Church Body Library in Churchtown where Church of Ireland register & archival records are held.September 10, 2018
“The RCB Library is most grateful for this significant commitment to the project to digitize Church of Ireland parish registers,” added Dr. Susan Hood, RCB Librarian, and Archivist.
“With the right imaging equipment and technical support, which this funding makes possible, we can commence the massive task of making these records accessible and discoverable for all, by creating digital surrogates of original records (some of which are the oldest such records).
Amazing news and overdue: parish registers are crucial not only to genealogy but to the writing of Ireland's social, medical and cultural history prior to the 20thC. Thanks @josephamadigan and @rcblibrary https://t.co/M7gyyj2oRW— Dr Clodagh Tait (@tait_clodagh) September 10, 2018
“Most importantly this will ensure the long-term preservation of the originals. It is extremely good news not just for the Library, but the Church at large and indeed the generations of clergy and record keepers who have kept these records safe.”
Once digitized, the records will be available at www.irishgenealogy.ie.
* Originally published in Sept 2018.