Ireland has been generous in making historic records freely available on the internet. In Northern Ireland the Public Records Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) has a range of records , including Belfast Street Directories up to 1900 and the signatories of the 1912 Ulster Covenant; Belfast City Council has searchable burial records for a number of the public cemeteries in Belfast. The Republic of Ireland has the two surviving all-Ireland census for 1901 and 1911, these are an important resource that are free and fully searchable. A further resource has just become available, Ireland’s Memorial Records of World War I. These are digital records of individual Irish soldiers and soldiers serving in Irish regiments, searchable and available online following collaboration between Google and the In Flanders Fields museum.
At the launch in Dublin Northern Ireland’s First Minister, Peter Robinson said
“This work will allow the stories of the fallen to be recorded for the benefit of future generations and will allow us to express our thanks and acknowledge the sacrifice of men who died helping to preserve our freedom.”
Martin McGuinness added
“Over 200,000 Irishmen fought in the war and over 49,000 were killed, which shows the human impact of the war on the island of Ireland. It is important all their personal stories are told and this innovative project ensures the memory of those Irish soldiers killed will continue.”
Eamon Gilmore, Irish Tánaiste, who formally launched the archive, noted the great value of the project
“While the digitisation and online access to this record will be a rich resource for genealogy, most significant is its value in facilitating the simple and important act of remembering the individuals, Irish men and women, who lost their lives in the First World War.”