€ 100,000 award to digi­tise Church Of Ireland par­ish reg­is­ters

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Par­ish reg­is­ters that doc­u­ment cen­turies of life in the Angli­can church in Ireland will be made avail­able on­line thanks to the award of a €100,000 grant from Ireland’s gov­ern­ment.

Josepha Madi­gan, the min­is­ter for cul­ture, her­itage and the Gaeltacht, an­nounced the fund­ing on a visit to the Church of Ireland’s Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Church Body Li­brary on 12 Septem­ber.

The money will be spent on imag­ing equip­ment and tech­ni­cal sup­port to digi­tise reg­is­ters held in the li­brary, fol­lowed by those from lo­cal parishes. The records, which in­clude bap­tisms, banns, mar­riages and buri­als, will be in­dexed and pub­lished on irish­ge­neal­ogy.ie, the Ir­ish gov­ern­ment’s free ge­neal­ogy web­site.

Dr Su­san Hood, li­brar­ian and ar­chiv­ist at the Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Church Body Li­brary, said the fund­ing would make the records “ac­ces­si­ble and dis­cov­er­able for all” and en­sure their long-term sur­vival.

“It is ex­tremely good news not just for the li­brary, but the Church at large and in­deed the gen­er­a­tions of clergy and record-keep­ers who have kept these records safe,” she added.

Cur­rently, the only Church of Ireland reg­is­ters avail­able on Irish­Ge­neal­ogy are those cover­ing Co. Kerry, Co. Car­low and Dublin City.

The ear­li­est Church of Ireland reg­is­ters date from 1619. Al­though the Church was never the ma­jor­ity reli­gion in Ireland, it was dis­pro­por­tion­ately pow­er­ful and mem­ber­ship was vi­tal for those own­ing land or serv­ing in gov­ern­ment po­si­tions.

Josepha Madi­gan (pur­ple out­fit) pho­tographed at the Church of Ireland’s Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Church Body Li­brary

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