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National Genealogical Records Launch a Major Success
Yesterday, Wednesday 12 March 2008, saw the national launch of the Irish Family History Foundation's online research service. It was launched symbolically at the quays in Dublin, on board the Famine Ship, Jeanie Johnston, in the presence of the Deputy Lord Mayor of Dublin and Ambassadors to Ireland from the U.S., Australia and Canada. Members from I.F.H.F. centres from all over the country and from various other affiliated organisations as well as representatives from the Chruches, Government Departments, Local Authorities and Libraries gathered in the bowels of the historic ship to see the service officially launched by Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Seamus Brennan and Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, both of whom paid tribute to the enormous amount of work done over a long number of years and praised the great tourism potential of this truly all-Ireland initiative. 
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Minister for Arts, Sport and Tourism, Seamus Brennan and Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, launching the service.
M.C.'s for the occasion were Fintan Mullen of the Ulster Historical Association and Senator Labhrás O’Murchú, of the Irish Family History Foundation.
 For those interested in Co. Kildare
PRESS RELEASE 12th March, 2008
Millions of Irish Genealogical Records
Now Online at http://www.irish-roots.ie/
Those wishing to trace their Irish ancestry can now access a central website dedicated to providing a one stop shop for all the available Irish genealogical records on the island of Ireland. The website is the initiative of the Irish Family History Foundation who, with its cross-border network of local centres, is the largest provider of professional family history research services in Ireland.  The website was created by BRS Systems Ltd., Belfast, and contains nearly nine million birth, baptismal, marriage and deaths records from the 1600s to the 1900s.
Minister Seamus Brennan, Department of Arts, Sports and Tourism, and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness will launch this All Ireland central database of genealogical records on the Jeanie Johnston, a ship which symbolizes the many millions of Irish people and their journey to find a better life. Now their descendants in the U.S., the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and all points in between, wish to trace their roots in Ireland.
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The Jeanie Johnstown
Each county centre created a local computer database comprised of various church records of baptisms, marriages & deaths; civil records of births, deaths & marriages; Griffith’s Valuation; Tithe Applotment Books; the 1901 & 1911 census records; gravestone inscriptions, and many other sources.  Now that the bulk of the computerization of the sources has been completed by these centres, to further bring together the many millions of records as a searchable database online is a remarkable proposition.  It is now possible to offer the ability to anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world, to access and search for information on their ancestors across all the main Irish genealogical sources and to retire the original sources from general use.
Vast amounts of time, effort and money have been put into developing this resource. All of the centres operate on a strictly not for profit basis with all revenues going towards the continual improvement of the service; without these revenues the further computerization of the remaining sources will not happen. Initially, there was a searchable online site for each centre, and now there is a single search capability across all centres. The following centres have made their databases available online: Antrim, Armagh, Cavan, Cork North and East, Down, Dublin North, Dublin South, Fermanagh, Galway East, Galway West, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Louth, Limerick, Mayo North, Mayo South, Roscommon, Tipperary North, Tipperary South, Tyrone, and Westmeath. The next centres to go online will be Wicklow, Longford, Sligo and Donegal.
Senator Labhras O’Murchu says, "This database is a national treasure and an invaluable resource for Ireland in the provision of genealogical data to all those of Irish descent. The centres have received assistance from many government bodies, the churches and other organizations on both sides of the border.” Cardinal Sean Brady, along with his colleagues in the Church of Ireland, Methodist and Presbyterian churches, has welcomed the latest development and called for the task of completing the database to be supported, as it offers those who wish to trace their family history a real chance of locating their ancestor’s origins. The database offers wonderful opportunities for promoting the island of Ireland; each county has its own website and also participates in the all Ireland central database. Many of the Diaspora do not know the county of origin of their ancestor. With the advent of a central site containing all the records of Ireland it will allow these people to finally locate their ancestor.
Co. Kildare Genealogist and IFHF Secretary with Kildare Co. Librarian, Breda Gleeson at the launch.
“Always remember in your heart these three things; whence you come, who you are and what shall become of you.”
Contact: Karel Kiely 00 353 (0) 87 2325372 e-mail: karel@irish-roots.net or Feargal O’Donnell 00 44 77 53 823989 or Senator Labhrás O’Murchú, c/o Leinster House

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