Northern Ireland news

Patrick Kavanagh and Josef Locke among famous names featured in fresh tranche of Ireland's historical registers of births, marriages and deaths released online

Acclaimed tenor Josef Locke was born Joseph McLaughlin in March 1917

A FRESH tranche of Ireland's historical registers of births, marriages and deaths have been released online for family genealogists, professionals and historians alike to peruse free of charge.

Among the high-profile names featuring in the latest releases are the birth record for acclaimed tenor Josef Locke, born Joseph McLaughlin in March 1917 and the death records of novelist, Walter Macken who passed away on April 22 1967; and renowned Irish poet, Patrick Kavanagh, who died on November 30 1967.

Kavanagh's poem Raglan Road provided the lyrics for the Dubliners track of the same name which was voted at the weekend as Ireland's favourite folk song.

Seamus Heaney cited him as one of his greatest literary influences.

The digitisation process is part of a joint initiative by the Republic's departments of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and Employment Affairs and Social Protection, with records being prepared and uploaded by the Civil Registration Service and heritage officials.

They feature:

* Births from 1864 to 1918;

* Marriages from 1864 to 1943; and

* Deaths from 1878 to 1968.

Ministers Josepha Madigan and Regina Doherty welcomed the release.

"The addition of further years of historic registers of births, marriages and deaths on the website is an exciting development in family history research for Irish people here and all Irish descendants around the world," Ms Madigan said.

"Since this on-line service became available in 2016 over 2.1 million visitors to the website have viewed these records."

Ms Doherty said: "I am delighted that through the co-operation of two government departments we can expand the range of records available to those wishing to find out more about their family history.

"The Civil Registration Service is one of the State's essential services and one of the greatest resources for those establishing their family histories. Providing this open and free access to older records and register entries will further support the efforts of many family historians throughout the world."

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