A massive collection of Irish marriage, birth, and death certificates, some of which date back to 1864, have been made available for free online, courtesy of a joint venture between Ireland’s Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection. The trove, published at irishgenealogy.ie, comes from Ireland’s Registers of Births, Marriages, and Deaths and, according to the Irish Times, cover births from 1864 to 1918, marriages from 1864 to 1943, and deaths from 1878 to 1968.

Speaking to the Irish Times, Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan called the addition “an exciting development in family history research for Irish people here and all Irish descendants around the world.”

The release of these documents come three years after the launch of the website in its first form by the Department of Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, which more than 2 million people have visited since 2016. The new additions, which according to Irish Central include deaths in 1967 and 1968, births in 1917 and 1918 and marriages from 1864 to 1869 and 1942 to 1943, will allow people with Irish ancestors to more fully investigate their genealogy and heritage.

Regina Doherty, Minister for Social Protection, described the work of digitization and increasing access to these files “one of the State’s essential services and one of the greatest resources for those establishing their family histories. Providing this open and free access to older records and register entries will further support the efforts of many family historians throughout the world,” according to the Irish Times.

Included in the cache are some notable documents, including the death certificate for poet Patrick Kavanagh, who died November 30, 1967, as well as that of his rival Brendan Behan, who died March 20, 1964.

Next steps, according to the General Register Office are to digitize death certificates in full back to 1864, as well as plans to update marriage records dating back to 1845.

 

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