Free Access to 10 Million Irish Catholic Parish Records

Leading family history site, Findmypast, has announced today the online release of over 10 million Irish Catholic Parish Registers as part of their ongoing commitment to making Irish family history easier and more accessible than ever before. Fully indexed for the first time, the registers form one of the most important record collections for Irish family history and are free to search forever.

Spanning over 200 years of Ireland’s history from 1671-1900, the Irish Catholic Parish Registers contain over 40 million names from over 1,000 parishes and cover 97% of the entire island of Ireland, both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.
This is the first time that National Library of Ireland’s collection of Irish Catholic Registers has been fully indexed with images to the original documents linked online. The records can now be searched by name, year and place, allowing relatives and historians the opportunity to make all important links between generations with the baptism records and between families with the marriage registers.
The indexing of these important documents also allows researchers to witness the devastating effects of the Great Famine (1845-1852) first hand. Using the records to examine baptism rates in pre and post Famine Ireland has revealed that the number of children baptised across the whole of Ireland dropped by more 50% in the decade that followed. Across all 32 counties, 2,408,694 baptisms were recorded from 1835-1844, while 1,109,062 baptisms were recorded between 1851 and 1860, a difference of more than 1,299,000 baptisms.

The records also reveal the worst affected regions, with counties Limerick, Wexford, Roscommon and Kilkenny seeing the most dramatic drops in baptism rates.

To celebrate the release of this essential collection, Findmypast is also making its entire archive of over 110 million Irish records, the largest available anywhere online, FREE from 9am Tuesday 1st March to 9am on Tuesday 8th March. Findmypast is home to the most comprehensive online collection of Irish family history records with millions of exclusive records, published in partnership with The National Archives of Ireland, The National Archives UK, and a host of other local, county and national archives.

10 million Irish Catholic Parish Registers to be released by Findmypast

Leading family history site, Findmypast, announced today at Rootstech that it will launch 10 million Irish Catholic Parish Registers, one of the most important Irish record collections, in March 2016.

Covering over 200 years from 1671-1900 and over 1,000 parishes, Findmypast has worked to transcribe the National Library of Ireland’s online image collection of 3,500 baptism and marriage registers. This is the first time that the collection has been indexed with the images linked online, making the search much easier and the records more accessible. As a result, family historians will now be able to make all important links between generations with the baptism records and between families with the marriage registers.  These essential records cover the entire island of Ireland, both Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic.

Ben Bennett, Executive Vice-President North America and International for Findmypast said:

“The Irish Parish Registers will be a gold mine for anyone with Irish heritage. The 10 million baptism and marriage records will help even more people to trace their Irish ancestors.  In addition to being able to search this valuable collection, customers with family trees on Findmypast will benefit from leads that automatically connect the records related to their family directly to their trees.  The Catholic Parish Registers are a hugely important addition to Findmypast’s Irish collection, the largest and most comprehensive source for online Irish family history research.”

Findmypast Announces Free Weekend 22-25 January 2016

I thought this might be of interest. Findmypast has announced that this weekend, they will be opening up their archives and giving unlimited free access to billions of records and newspaper pages from all over the world. From 12pm on Friday, January 22nd to 12pm on Monday, January 25th (GMT), absolutely everyone will have access to Findmypast’s comprehensive collections of historical records and innovative research tools, including:

Millions of records you won’t find anywhere else, including fascinating WW2 Prisoner of War records, millions of England & Wales Crime records and the incredible British in India collection

The largest online collection of England & Wales Electoral registers, containing over 220 million names

Birth, marriage and death records dating back to the 18th century

The largest online collection of UK parish records, dating back to 1538

Historical newspapers from across the world, including nearly 13 million British newspaper dating all the way back to 1710

The most comprehensive collection of UK military records anywhere online

The largest collection of Irish family history records available online

Passenger lists for ships sailing to and from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and the USA

An easy to use online family tree builder, which allows you to import and export your tree if you’ve built it elsewhere

Our Family Tree hints feature, which will suggest potential matches between the ancestors in your tree and records from our archives  

Family historians will also have free access to the millions of other records available to search on Findmypast. Access to the 1939 Register has not been included and pay as you go credits will be required in order to unlock household records.

You can find out more at Findmypast’s dedicated Free Weekend page.

The 1939 Register

I was recently sent a code to unlock a household record for free from the newly released 1939 Register at Find My Past. I would love to explore the 1939 Register but the cost of accessing the records has put me off. I understand that people invest a lot of money in digitising records and need to make money but I just don’t have any spare money for accessing these kinds of records at the moment.

Anyway, thanks to my free credit I was able to access one record. But which record to choose? I opted for my paternal grandparents as 1939 was the year before my father, their only child, was born. I knew they moved to Swindon at some point around this time so was interested to see where they were living.

I searched for my paternal grandmother – Viola M Young. Her first name is quite unusual so she was easy to find and according to the site was living with her husband – Henry H Young in Southampton. I used my code to see the relevant page of the 1939 Register.

the 1939 Register

They were living at 170 The Broadway, Portswood Road, Southampton. As well as their dates of birth, the fact they were married, the 1939 Register gives their occupations. My paternal grandfather was Manager, Wine, Spirit and Beer Retailer. This record has been transcribed as Retired, but I think it says Retailer so have submitted a request to amend their record.

My grandmother has her occupation listed as Unpaid domestic duties.

It was really interesting to find this record but I don’t think it was worth the money that Find My Past are currently charging to access the records. Hopefully they will become cheaper and I will be able to use it soon.


New Portsmouth electoral rolls 1835-1873

New records released by Find My Past may be of interest to those with Portsmouth ancestors like me.

The Hampshire, Portsmouth electoral rolls 1835-1873 contain over 198,000 transcripts covering six parishes of Portsmouth: All Saints, St George, St John, St Mary, St Paul and St Thomas. Electoral rolls were registered annually, which means that you may find multiple entries for your ancestor. The Portsmouth electoral roll wasn’t published in 1836 and 1837, and those from 1866, 1870 and 1871 have not survived. The electoral registers are from six parishes of Portsmouth: All Saints, St George, St John, St Mary, St Paul and St Thomas.

The registers include the names of those who were eligible to vote in local and parliamentary elections. By using the keyword field you can search for your home address and discover who lived in your house before you. Or you can search a street name and discover the neighbours who lived alongside your ancestor.

Napoleonic Prisoner of War records

Today I’m sharing a press release from Findmypast which might be useful. To celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo, Findmypast has released thousands of fascinating new Napoleonic Prisoner of War records in partnership with The National Archives.

Prisoners of War 1715-1945 Phase 2 – Napoleonic Wars

Comprising over 71,000 entries, the new Napoleonic Prisoner of War records have been released in partnership with The National Archives. The release marks the second phase of a landmark project to make 250 years of British Foreign Office, Colonial Office, Admiralty and Air Force papers relating to the internment of allied and foreign Prisoners of War available to search online. These records form part of the wider Prisoners of War 1715-1945 collection and contain not only the details of members of the armed forces, but also of captured civilians and merchant seamen of various nationalities.

The new Napoleonic additions record the details of Danish, French, Prussian and American prisoners captured by British Forces during the Napoleonic Wars and the War of 1812. They list the prisoner’s name, nationality, rank, service number and the conflict in which they were captured. They can also reveal exactly when and where they were captured, where they were held, and many include full physical descriptions detailing hair colour, eye colour, build, complexion and any distinguishable marks. Records were also kept of the provisions and the supplies received by POWs such as blankets, clothing, and beds etc. providing incredible insights into the experiences of a Napoleonic prisoner of war.

Each record includes a transcript and an image of the original handwritten document. The amount of information in each record can vary depending on the type of document and the amount of detail recorded at the time of the event.