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‘Researching your Roman Catholic ancestors’ by professional genealogist Joan Sharkey

Before the introduction of comprehensive civil registration in 1864, virtually the only direct sources of family information for Roman Catholics are the local parish records. As the vast majority of the Irish population was Catholic, researching in these records forms a very important part in tracing one’s family history. This lecture will discuss the compilation of the records and the historical background to the administration of the church over time which unfortunately, resulted in the majority of the registers only commencing in the early 19th century. The talk will cover the extent of the available records and where they are located and will also give advice on using the various websites which contain transcriptions and images of these records.