Thursday, September 15, 2016

Over 3 Million historic Irish records free forever to search online



  • Four fascinating NAI collections spanning 220 years of Irish history (1701-1922) free to search forever
  • Released online for the first time, the records will allow researchers to trace their roots back to Pre-Famine Ireland and learn about the lives of their Irish ancestors

Dublin, Ireland, September 15th 2016

Leading Family History website Findmypast, has today announced the online publication of more than 3 million historic Irish records released in association with the National Archives of Ireland and Family Search International. The release consists of a wide range of documents including original wills, lists of Catholics who swore loyalty to the crown or converted to Protestantism, land valuation records and merchant navy crew lists. The records date back to pre-famine Ireland and will be completely free to search forever.

Spanning over 220 years of Irish history from 1701 to 1922, the release is comprised of four highly valuable National Archives of Ireland collections including:
  • Original Will Registers 1858-1920 - over 181,000 records the largest collection of surviving wills for the post-1858 period for the Republic of Ireland. The registers allow researchers to explore the pages of wills to discover where their family lived, what assets they had, if it was left to relatives, and if anyone was left out due to a family feud.
  • Qualification and Convert Rolls 1701 – 1845 - lists of over 52,000 Catholics who swore loyalty to the crown or converted to Protestantism. During the harsh Penal Laws of the 18th century, Irish Catholics were restricted from owning property or running businesses. Many chose to either convert (at least legally) to the established Church or swear loyalty in front of a court in order to qualify for certain rights
  • Valuation Office books 1824-1856 – these land and house surveys kept by the Valuation Office of Ireland contain over 2 million names. The books that make up this collection were preparatory to the Griffith’s Valuation, and provide a comprehensive assessment of the rental value of Irish lands and property from the mid-1820s to the mid-1850s. The books reveal where and when individuals rented or owned property and provide rare glimpses of life in pre-famine Ireland
  • Merchant Navy Crew lists 1857-1922 - These indexed lists records the details of over 832,000 men and women who served with the Merchant Navy. The original lists were extensive and provided detailed information for each crew member, where and when they were born, and their life at sea. The lists not only cover Irish sailors but also include natives of Norway, Russia, Sweden, America and Germany, to name but a few
This is the first time these important National Archives of Ireland collections have been fully indexed with digitized images of the original papers linked online. All four collections are fully searchable, providing relatives and historians from all over the world with opportunities to discover more about their Irish heritage through documents that, until today, could only by accessed by visiting the Archive’s reading rooms in Dublin.

Findmypast is home to the most comprehensive online archive of Irish family history records with over 114 million documents published in partnership with The National Archives of Ireland, The National Archives UK, and a host of other local, county and national archives.

Brian Donovan, Head of Irish Records at Findmypast, comments:

“The records of the National Archives of Ireland are a central resource for Irish family history and we at Findmypast are once again delighted to be making them available and fully searchable to all online in partnership with our colleagues at Family Search. Moreover, we are once again releasing these records for free forever, just like we did with the pre-1901 census records or the Roman Catholic parish registers, making Irish genealogy that much easier and cheaper for all. It is a privilege to work with the records and team at the National Archives, and we look forward to further releases in the near future.”

Catriona Crowe, Head of Special Projects at the National Archives of Ireland, said:

“The National Archives of Ireland has been to the forefront of genealogical democratisation, starting with the release free to access of the 1901 and 1911 censuses online, and followed by the material available on our genealogical website – genealogy.nationalarchives.ie. We regard it as a fundamental principle that Irish people and people of Irish descent should have free access to their genealogical cultural heritage. Our partnership with Findmypast and FamilySearch has allowed us to continue to activate that principle, and we regard the partnership as an exemplary arrangement for access to important records with minimum cost to the State. It has been a harmonious partnership, where all involved gain benefit from the arrangement.

This latest release comprises a huge number of records, ranging from 17th century convert records to 19th century land records, shipping records and copies of wills which were destroyed in 1922. None of these records have been digitised or indexed before. They contain millions of names not available elsewhere. We know that they will be a great addition to the records already available to the millions interested in their Irish ancestry, and to the growing online scholarly archive on Irish history.

Our partnership with Findmypast and FamilySearch has allowed us to continue to activate that principle, and we regard the partnership as an exemplary arrangement for access to important records with minimum cost to the State. It has been a harmonious partnership, where all involved gain benefit from the arrangement.”

This latest release comprises a huge number of records, ranging from 17th century convert records to 19th century land records, shipping records and copies of wills which were destroyed in 1922. None of these records have been digitised or indexed before. They contain millions of names not available elsewhere. We know that they will be a great addition to the records already available to the millions interested in their Irish ancestry, and to the growing online scholarly archive on Irish history.”

Find out more at: http://www.findmypast.com/irish-ancestors

About Findmypast

Findmypast (previously DC Thomson Family History) is a British-owned world leader in online family history. It has an unrivalled record of online innovation in the field and 18 million registered users across its family of online brands, which includes Lives of the First World War, The British Newspaper Archive and Genes Reunited, amongst others.

Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is a searchable online archive of over eight billion family history records, ranging from parish records and censuses to migration records, military collections, historical newspapers and lots more. For members around the world, the site is a crucial resource for building family trees and conducting detailed historical research.

In April 2003, Findmypast was the first online genealogy site to provide access to the complete birth, marriage, and death indexes for England & Wales, winning the Queen’s Award for Innovation. Since that time, the company has digitised records from across the globe, including the 1911 Census and the recently released 1939 Register which they digitised in association with The National Archives.
www.findmypast.com

About The National Archives of Ireland

Occupying a key position in the cultural and intellectual life of the nation, the National Archives holds the records of the modern Irish State which document its historical evolution and the creation of our national identity.

In keeping with our Mission Statement, we secure the preservation of records relating to Ireland which warrant preservation as archives and ensure that appropriate arrangements are made for public access to archives.

Our holdings relate to all parts of Ireland and have enormous research potential as they provide essential primary source material for people seeking to understand the political, economic and social forces which have shaped our nation. The records also permit the study of Government policy and encourage greater use of our archival heritage by the general public.