In his Irish Roots column of 25 October, John Grenham writes of the NLI’s plans to digitize its collection of RC parish records:
The National Library has recently put out a request for tender for the digitisation of all of its Roman Catholic parish register microfilms. These microfilms cover 98% of the pre-1880 baptism, marriage and burial records kept by local parishes on the entire island, and are the single most important source of family history information for the vast majority of researchers. Indeed, in most cases they are the only source of family information before the start of state registration in 1864. They cover almost 1200 parishes on 520 reels and represent one of the most enduring achievements of the National Library between the 1950s and the 1970s. Having them available on-line will revolutionise Irish research.
Honestly, I don’t think “revolutionise” is too hyperbolic a term to use here. This really would change everything about Irish genealogical research (and would no doubt have a major impact on some other kinds of Irish historical research too: e.g., parish-level social history).
I’m not sure about the status of a “request for tender,” though. Is this a sure thing? Can it really be funded, what with budgetary cutbacks and so on? I sure hope so!
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