The entire collection of Catholic parish register microfilms held by the National Library of Ireland (NLI) is now available online.

A dedicated website with over 370,000 digital images of the microfilm reels on which the parish registers are recorded is now available. Among the items included here are the details on the baptisms of Padraig Pearse, Peig Sayers and Thomas McDonagh as well as details on Anne Devlin’s wedding.

The parish register records are considered the single most important source of information on Irish family history prior to the 1901 Census. Dating from the 1740s to the 1880s, they cover 1,086 parishes throughout the island of Ireland, and consist primarily of baptismal and marriage records.

Commenting ahead of the launch, the NLI’s Ciara Kerrigan, who has been managing the digitization of the parish registers, said, “This is the most significant ever genealogy project in the history of the NLI. The microfilms have been available to visitors to the NLI since the 1970s. However, their digitization means that, for the first time, anyone who likes will be able to access these registers without having to travel to Dublin.”

In keeping with its aim of enhancing accessibility through making its collections available online, the NLI has been working to digitize the microfilms for over three years under its most ambitious digitization program to date.

For more information, visit For more on the launch follow the hashtag #ancestorsonline or follow @NLIreland on Twitter.