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New website will help millions trace their roots - McGuinness

12 March, 2008


Sinn Féin deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness and Seamus Brennan TD, Minister for Arts, Sports and Tourism today launched a new website that will provide assistance to the millions of people of Irish descent across the world who may wish to trace their ancestral roots.

The Irish Genealogical Online Research Project is described as a one stop shop of all available Irish genealogical records numbering many millions and dating back in some cases over three hundred years.

The event took place on the 19th century replica three mast sailing ship, Jeanie Johnston, berthed at Custom House Quay, Dublin.

Launching the project Mr McGuinness described the occasion as: "quite literally a historic event".

He congratulated those involved with the project and in particular the Irish Family History Foundation saying: "It is fitting that by using the most modern of technologies, the internet, we will be helping the ever growing numbers of people interested in researching their family histories.

"Wherever I travel in the world, I meet the children of the Irish Diaspora. They are rightly proud of their roots and heritage. Proud also of the achievements of generations, who lived through hardship, and created new lives in strange countries.

"We too can be proud of the contribution of waves of emigrants who fashioned great nations like America, Canada and Australia. Everywhere you go in this world you will find the footprint of someone from these shores."

The Minister also outlined the work of the various groups who had gathered together the records from a variety of sources:

"These have been gathered online with records from counties from Tyrone to Tipperary some of which date back over 300 years. Work is also ongoing to make available civil registration records of births ,deaths and marriages, with plans to digitise approximately 8million paper based records," he said.

NOTES TO EDITORS:

1. The website can be accessed at http://www.irish-roots.net

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