Friday, 29 October 2010

Next major online offering may be entire Catholic register collection

The National Library of Ireland (NLI) is planning to scan all 520 microfilms that make up its collection of Roman Catholic parish registers and put the scans online.

While they won't be transcribed (so genealogists will still be going cross-eyed and pulling their hair out with frustration at the many illegible pages of records) nor indexed, this step would be hugely beneficial. At present, family historians have to visit the NLI in person, and only one microfilm for each parish is made available at any one time.

So, while not perfect, having this resource online would be an outstanding advance. The collection represents, for the majority of researchers, the main source of birth, marriage and death records for pre-1864 (when civil registration started).

The project is still at the tender stage, so it's some way off, but scanning and uploading 520 films to the web isn't an enormous undertaking and should be achievable within a year from now.

Source: John Grenham/Irish Times