New York’s Catholic Heritage Archive Launched Online

Cardinal Timothy Dolan attends the 2016 St. Patricks Day. (Photo: Tom Hannigan / Flickr)

By Mary Gallagher, Editorial Assistant
June / July 2018

Genealogy database Findmypast joined with the Archdiocese of New York to collate a comprehensive digital record of Roman Catholics in New York, the first portion of which was uploaded in early March. The Archdiocese retains a massive collection of sacramental documents dating back as early as 1785, establishing a crucial link to the history of Catholics in the United States. The release of these records is a part of Findmypast’s overarching Catholic Heritage Archive, initiated in January 2017 and boasting detailed records from Ireland as well as the U.K. The thorough nature of the records required by Church protocol makes congregants easily traced and clearly demonstrates familial connections.

“They offer a snapshot into the changing world of 19th and early 20th centuries’ New York,” New York’s Cardinal Timothy Dolan said in a statement announcing the release of the archive. “Major themes, such as demographic changes, immigration, language, and culture can all be explored through this record set.”

Over eight million records have been released in total, covering the years 1785 to 1918 with data from 163 parishes in the five boroughs. Later additions to the archive will be made annually; in recognition of the personal nature of the documents the Archdiocese stipulated that records be 100 years old before being made public. ♦

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