I am so thrilled that the National Library of Ireland has seen fit to provide online, free access to the images of the microfilm of the Catholic Church records, which it has in its archives.
These online church records can now be accessed through Church Registers at NLI.
While these records are not a complete set of records for several (if not many) parishes, they represent a huge step forward. We can now see images of the actual pages of the registers for parishes which are provided as transcriptions by Rootsireland.ie (paying site) which we could not see prior to this. Irishgenealogy.ie provides images of registers to complement its transcriptions for the more recently transcribed parishes but not for those done many years ago (long story).
Some parishes in Ireland, for example the records for the “black hole” in Cork City, are now online. As a campaigner over many years to get these (Cork) transcribed records online (long story), I am delighted to see that the NLI has bypassed the ongoing and petty blockages in providing these to the global diaspora.
It is wonderful to see records in their original context. The joy in seeing an image of the actual record, no matter how faded or illegible cannot be replaced, by careful transcription. It is just a shame that the tax payers’ money was not better spent over the years. Duplication, competition and several disparate online sources for the Catholic Church records is not helpful to the amateur genealogist. Hopefully, petty politics and religious interests can now be put aside as we see an openness emerging from the years of secrecy and obfuscation relating to records pertaining to Irish genealogy.
As I said this is a huge step forward. Genealogists everywhere can combine all the sources mentioned above, to maximize the benefit for their own research. Thank you NLI!