MANY people in these parts, especially the Mid-Tyne area, can trace their lineage back to immigration from Ireland in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
So I’m grateful to South Shields family history researcher John Stobbs for letting me and readers know that the National Library of Ireland (NLI) has recently announced its most significant-ever digitisation project for Irish genealogy.
The project will make almost 400,000 images of Catholic parish register microfilms available online, for free, by next summer.
It represents the library’s entire collection and is considered the single most important source of information on Irish family history before the 1901 Census.
Dating from the 1740s to the 1880s, they cover 1,091 parishes throughout Ireland, and consist primarily of baptismal and marriage records.
Colette O’Flaherty, head of special collections at the NLI, said: “Anyone tracing Irish family history will be able to access this site from anywhere in the world.”