Millions of Irish civil registration records have been released online free of charge.
Available via IrishGenealogy.ie, the records provide an array of details about births, marriages and deaths registered in the country dating back to the mid-19th century.
While basic indexes to the records have been available through the state-run genealogy site since 2014 (with some entries already on FamilySearch), users can view scans of the full register entries online for the first time.
Researchers could previously only access the information by ordering an official certificate, photocopy or by visiting the public search facility that the General Register Office of Ireland maintains in Dublin.
Due to privacy restrictions, birth records from the past 100 years, marriage records from the past 75 years and death records from the past 50 years are not available.
The appearance of the records online comes more than 24 hours before their ‘official’ launch, which is scheduled for 5.30pm on Thursday 8 September.
Genealogist Nicola Morris, who runs Timeline Research Ireland, said the release of the records was “very exciting news”.
“For anyone with a common name, such as Murphy or Byrne, who have baulked at having to purchase tens or hundreds of certificates in order to find their ancestor, now it is possible to view each record to find the correct birth or death,” she told Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine.
“The records themselves are very informative, showing ages, occupations and addresses – even the names of informants on death or birth registrations can belong to other family members.
“This should help many people make a leap forward (or backward) in their Irish research.”
Search the records at civilrecords.irishgenealogy.ie/churchrecords/civil-search.jsp
Jon Bauckham is a freelance journalist based in Bristol, UK. He holds a degree in history and was previously the features editor at Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine and a section editor at BBC History Magazine. You can follow him on Twitter.