The entire world can now view the birth, marriage and death certificates of Antarctic explorer Tom Crean as his records along with 12.5m others have been made available online for the first time.
Mr Crean’s grandson Brendan O’Brien told of his grandfather’s heroic Antarctic mission last night at the launch of the online resource which has made records from the General Register Office (GRO) available to all.
The images, which include over 12.5m individual records dating back as far as 1864, can all be accessed online and free of charge.
Along with Mr Crean’s birth, marriage and death certs, the database includes death register entries for the leaders of the 1916 Rising.
Speaking at the launch in the National Library last night, Mr O’Brien said that on Easter Tuesday, 1916, the same day as Dublin was in turmoil, his grandfather was struggling to stay alive with his fellow explorers in the Antarctic.
Social Protection Minister Leo Varadkar said the records provide us with a new insight into our past.
“What used to require weeks and months of research in dusty archives can now be done online in a matter of minutes.
“Given the theme of exploration, it’s fitting that we are joined at this launch by the grandson and great-grandson of one of the greatest polar explorers of all time, Tom Crean.
“For the first time, the original register entries of Tom Crean’s birth, marriage and death are now available to view. These records also provide an incredible insight into the 1916 Rising which helped to create the modern Irish State. We can view the death registers for its leaders, including James Connolly, Patrick Pearse, and Thomas Clarke. It helps to bring the past alive, and we can piece together fragments to create a whole story.”
Arts and Heritage Minister Heather Humphreys said she hoped the resource would encourage more people to visit the county.
“By providing as much information as possible free online, the Irish Government is leading the way internationally and encouraging the diaspora to come to Ireland to explore their roots.”
“This is the first time that this huge volume of records is being made available online and it is a very important development in family history research for Irish people and Irish descendants both at home and abroad.”
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