Findmypast begins creating a comprehensive collection of Roman Catholic registers for the United States, Britain and Ireland.
The following announcement comes from Findmypast:
Findmypast has announced the creation of the Roman Catholic Heritage Archive, a ground breaking initiative that aims to digitise the historic records of the Catholic Church in the United States, Britain and Ireland. When complete, this exclusive collection will contain over 100 million records spanning 300 years of Catholic history.
Findmypast has released 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.
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 digitisation of the whole archive is a monumental undertaking and, when complete, will contain hundreds of millions of records for the USA alone.