At Rootstech yesterday, Patty and I were able to visit with our old friend, Brian Donovan, who is the Licensing Manager at Findmypast. He brought us up to speed on what will be the most comprehensive online collection of Roman Catholic records for Ireland, Britain and the USA. Up to 100 million records. These records are being posted at FindMyPast.
The following is from their news release:
Findmypast is releasing over 3 million exclusive records including sacramental registers for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1757 to 1916 as well as for the British Archdioceses of Westminster and Birmingham from 1657 onwards. This builds on last year’s publication of more than 10 million Irish Catholic parish registers.
More about The Catholic Heritage Archive
The Catholic Church holds some of the oldest and best preserved genealogical records ever created. However, as many of these documents memorialise important religious sacraments such as baptism, marriage and burial, their privacy has long been protected and access to original copies has traditionally been hard to come by.
In collaboration with various Archdioceses of the Catholic Church, Findmypast is helping to bring these records online in one unified collection for the first time ever. Exclusively available on Findmypast, images of original documents will be completely free to view in many cases. Fully searchable transcripts will also be included, providing family historians from the around the world with easy access to these once closely guarded records.
The next phase of the Catholic Heritage Archive will include records from the archdioceses of New York and Baltimore as well as additional records from Philadelphia. There are over 30 million records in just these three dioceses. The digitization of the whole archive is a monumental undertaking and, when complete, will contain hundreds of millions of records for the USA alone.
Brian said; “The Roman Catholic Church is the largest Christian denomination in the world. Despite the popular perception that it had few adherents in Britain, or was not that important in American settlement, it has always been a significant component (up to 25%) of the population. The Catholic Heritage Archive will uncover the history of millions of Irish, Italian, German, Polish and many other nationalities as they made a new home in the USA.”