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Since the National Library of Ireland gave free access to the historical RC Church records (digitised microfilms) in July of 2015, massive efforts have been made by some of the leading names in commercial genealogy, to have them transcribed and indexed. To celebrate the release of these records on their websites, both Ancestry and Findmypast are giving varying degrees of free access to their Iirsh collections during the month of March. 

National Library of Ireland Thatched house

In July of 2015, one of the most important developments in Irish genealogical research saw the online release of the historical RC Church Records by the National Library of Ireland. The digitised register images were made available online for the first time and form one of the most important record collections for Irish family history. By creating a new micro-site dedicated to these records, the NLI have made them permanently available to everyone.

The records available to view on the NLI micro-site are high resolution digital scans of the original micro-films originally created in the 1950s. The images can be searched by parish, event and year but not by name or any other genealogical filters, such as parents' names. Until now,  additional background knowledge was required when researching family history in order to find where and when to look. According to John Grenham’s Tracing Your Irish Ancestors, some parishes not included are Rathlin Island, Co, Antrim; Rathocore and Rathmolyon, Co. Meath; Killorglin, Co. Kerry; Dublin parishes of Clontarf, Naul and Santry as well as Kilmeena, Co. Mayo. The NLI suggests that anyone who finds an error on their site should contact them through their contact form:  NLI contact form

Both Ancestry and Findmypast have undertaken massive transcription projects to allow these registers to be searched - allowing people to successfully search these precious resources. This is particularly important given the difficulty in reading some of the handwriting on the originals.

This March, both are offering free access to their Irish collection records - Findmypast until the 7th of March and Ancestry for the whole month if you are accessing it from the Uk or Ireland and from the 11th to the 17th of March for the rest of the world.  We have summarised the particulars of these offers below.


Free access to indexed Catholic Parish Registers and their entire Irish collection of records until the 7th of March 2016

The site allows a search of the records by name, year, parish, diocese, father's/mother's name and county. The result of a search is a transcript of the information found in the NLI registers as well as an image of the original record itself. Find My Past have reported that access to the indexed Parish Register will remain free for good! Whereas you can consult ALL of their Irish records free of charge until Monday night. 

If you don't have an account, simply register for free today!


If you are accessing Ancestry from the UK or Irelnad, there is free access to indexed Catholic Parish Registers and entire Irish collection of records for the whole month of March.

If you are accessing Ancestry from the rest of the world - there will be free access to the indexes from the 11th to the 17th of March.

You must be registered with Ancestry to view the records and if you are not, you can simply create an account and a password - you won't be asked for any financial information. 

Free access to Irish records for March 2016 here

See what Irish collections are available on


We hope you have found the information we have shared helpful. While you are here, we have a small favour to ask. Ireland Reaching Out is a non-profit organisation that relies on public funding and donations to ensure a completely free family history advisory service to anyone of Irish heritage who needs help connecting with their Irish place of origin. If you would like to support our mission, please click on the donate button and make a contribution. Any amount, big or small, is appreciated and makes a difference. 

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