A new website was launched on Wednesday in Ireland to allow the public to research their family history as far back as the 1740s.
The National Library of Ireland (NLI) created the service, http://registers.nli.ie, which is free and can be accessed online from anywhere in the world.
The service draws from over 370,000 digital images from the NLI's collection of Catholic parish register microfilms. These comprise mainly records of baptisms and marraiges and cover over 1,000 parishes across Ireland.
At the launch ceremony, Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny described the website as "a facility to the diaspora all over the world."
"This is a fascinating and personal issue for so many people around the world. It represents a connection not just across the world, but across the ages," he said.
Meanwhile, Ireland's Arts Minister Heather Humphreys said the launch of this website complements the work of the family historical records.
"This system should see an increase in genealogy tourism," she said.