Minister Madigan announces funding for digitisation of “Church of Ireland Parish Registers” project under the cultural Digitisation Scheme

The Minister for Culture, Heritage, and the Gaeltacht, Josepha Madigan TD today announced a capital grant of up to €100,000 for the digitisation of Church of Ireland Parish Registers under the cultural Digitisation Scheme. These register records, some dating back to the early 1600’s, are held by the Representative Church Body (RCB) Library in Churchtown, Dublin.

The RCB Library holds the Church of Ireland parish registers for baptism, marriage and burial. This includes 1,110 sets of parish records, approximately 840 of which contain varying quantities of public records which have not yet been digitised.

These unique records can be used to determine the nature of family relationships for a variety of legal, medical, social and research purposes. Church of Ireland Parish Registers also have a wide social and religious scope; for example, former US President Barack Obama is one of several presidents of the United States with Irish Protestant identity.

Speaking today, Minister Madigan said:

“I am delighted to provide funding for the Representative Church Body Library’s project to digitise Church of Ireland Parish Registers, as part of the wider cultural Digitisation Scheme”.

“This digitisation project will make it possible for people all over Ireland and indeed the world to access these unique records as they represent an important body of evidence about the Church’s history”

“Digitisation of this type also provides a vital channel to connect with our Diaspora – which is estimated to be up to 70 million people worldwide – and in turn encourages cultural tourism.”

Dr. Susan Hood, RCB Librarian and Archivist, said:

“The RCB Library is most grateful for this significant commitment to the project to digitize Church of Ireland parish registers. This will enable us to commence the massive task of making these records accessible and discoverable for all, by creating digital surrogates of original records (some of which are the oldest such records on the island of Ireland) and thereby facilitating the long-term preservation of the originals”.

“It is extremely good news not just for the Library, but the Church at large and indeed the generations of clergy and record keepers who have kept these records safe. With the right imaging equipment and technical support, which this funding will make possible, we will be enabled to begin imaging of collections of parish registers already in the custody of the Library.”

Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, 23 Kildare Street, Dublin , D02 TD30. Tel: 01 631 3800 / LoCall: 1890 383 000

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