Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Free Irish Records Online, and That's No Blarney!

Image by SatyrTN via Wikimedia Commons
Each year since 1991, the President of the United States has issued a Presidential Proclamation designating March as Irish-American Heritage Month (Wikipedia, Irish-American Heritage Month). This year's Proclamation reads, in part:
As we celebrate Irish-American Heritage Month, we recognize the Irish people's contributions to our country's dynamism, and we reaffirm the friendship and family ties between our two nations. For centuries, sons and daughters of Erin have come to America's shores, adding to our rich vibrancy and putting their full hearts into everything they do. From building our country's cities as preeminent architects and earnest laborers to building our national character as people of great joy and cherished culture, Irish Americans have endured intolerance and discrimination to find a place for themselves and their children here in the United States. While remembering the great Irish Americans of the past, we celebrate what forms the foundation of the lasting Irish-American story -- a shared embrace of hard work and humility, fairness and dignity, and a mutual quest to secure a freer and more peaceful future. (White House Press Release: Irish-American Heritage Month, 2016, February 29, 2016)

The Library of Congress has published a series of webpages about Irish Immigration. On those pages, we learn that the Irish began immigrating to the United States in the 17th and early 18th centuries during our Colonial days. At that time, the Irish population in America was second only to the English. The second big wave of Irish immigration began in 1845 with the Potato Blight. It is estimated that as many as 4.5 million Irish arrived in America between 1820 and 1930.

We celebrate the contributions made by the Irish in our country by honoring their heritage during the month of March to coincide with the popular St. Patrick's Day celebrations on March 17.

American genealogists of Irish descent have even more to celebrate this month—Findmypast is offering free access to Irish records during the first week of March.Findmypast launched 10 million new Irish Catholic Parish Registers on their website today. To celebrate, they are making all 110 million Irish records free for everyone from March 1-7, 2016. To get started, go to their Ireland Records page. As an added bonus, Findmypast has committed to make the Irish Catholic Parish Records free to search forever! Read their news release 10 million new Irish Catholic Parish Registers released on Findmypast.

So hurry on over to Findmypast to search for your Irish ancestors. May the luck of the Irish be with you!

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