Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Kerry church records handed over to Department of Tourism

Almost 600,000 Kerry church records have been handed over to the Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism as part of a major genealogy project.

They include documents relating to baptism, marriage and death, some of which date back to the 1750s.

The records will now appear free of charge on the irish-genealogy.ie website and will allow people to trace their Kerry roots more easily.

According to a spokesperson for the Department of Arts, Sport & Tourism, “church records in Ireland are vitally important because they pre-date compulsory civil registration which only commenced in 1864.

Family history researchers worldwide depend on the church records of baptism and marriage to trace that often-elusive Kerry ancestor.”

“These church records are a vital cultural and tourism resource for the county. Genealogy centres, like the Kerry Genealogical Centre, provide a wonderful resource for those seeking to trace their ancestors. We know that ‘tracing your roots’ is an implicit motivation for many visitors coming to Ireland and enquiries regarding Kerry ancestry are amongst the most frequent.

This is not surprising given the long history of emigration from the county.

The project which began in 1992 by the late Bishop Diarmuid Ó'Súilleabháin was completed by current Bishop of Kerry Dr Bill Murphy this week.

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