FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 2, 2018

THE ARCHIVES OF THE ARCHDIOCESE OF NEW YORK LAUNCHES A DIGITAL DATABASE OF HISTORICAL SACRAMENTAL RECORDS DATING BACK TO 1785

The Archives of the Archdiocese of New York announces the launch of a digital database of historical sacramental records dating back to the earliest documented Catholic baptisms and marriages in the Archdiocese of New York, in 1785. The Archives of the Archdiocese of New York partnered with Findmypast, the leading online archive of family history, to digitize and publish indexes containing over eight million sacramental records and have started the process of scanning actual images of the ledgers containing these records. For the first time, unprecedented numbers of Catholic sacramental records in the Archdiocese of New York and their corresponding historical data will be made available to the public, at large, facilitating family searches, institutional research, and historical data retrieval by logging into a centralized database.

The digitization of the sacramental records of the Archdiocese of New York is a project designed to preserve the historical legacy of records dating back to the decades following the American Revolution, while also protecting the privacy of individuals whose life trajectories are documented in these records. Today's launch contains eight million indexes ranging in dates from 1785 to 1918, and subsequent records will be released, annually, ensuring that records published in the database are at least 100 years old. Archbishop of New York Timothy Cardinal Dolan, observed: " It is vitally important to us that we balance this openness with a respect for the privacy of those whose lives are reflected in these records. That is why we have instituted a 100 year privacy rule on all the records we are releasing.

The time period of the records released today reflect the evolving boundaries of the Archdiocese of New York and the considerable population growth in the city and neighboring territories in the years leading up to 1918. The Archdiocese of New York, today, comprises Manhattan, Bronx, Staten Island, as well as Dutchess, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester Counties with existing boundaries established in 1853. Prior to1853, the territory assigned to the Archdiocese of New York was more fluid and, at one point, encompassed all of New York State and parts of Northern New Jersey. As a result of these changes in the late eighteenth, nineteen, and early twentieth centuries, the earliest family records in the database span a much larger territory than that of the archdiocese as it exists today. Additionally, in the early days of the city's history, civil registration of births and marriages were not as closely regulated, or adhered to, as they are today, which makes this new centralized database of early sacramental records a reliable resource for historical as well as family research purposes.

Director of The Archives of the Archdiocese of New York, Kate Feighery, who oversees the project, noted: " As one of the largest immigration hubs in the country, the Catholic roots of many Americans are tied to the Archdiocese of New York. The invaluable historical documents that will be available through the Catholic Heritage Archive will advance not only individual family exploration, but historical research on a much wider scale. We are so pleased to partner with Findmypast to open these records to research for the first time in a centralized location."

The Archives of the Archdiocese of New York partnered with Findmypast to start this monumental three-phased digitization project in March 2017. The initial phase entailed the digitization of a microfilm library assembled in 1980, by the archives, of all sacramental registries in the archdiocese. This library was never available for public viewing. In August 2017, the transcription of names, dates, sacraments, and parishes for all the sacramental records in the archdiocese began, with the goal of creating a centralized database searchable by various criteria. The second phase of scanning and digitizing the actual sacramental ledgers is underway. These digitized ledgers will make available additional information contained in the sacramental registries themselves, which might include names of parents, godparents, addresses, parish priests, and related annotations, allowing for a more detailed family search

The final phase of the digitization project will bring to the public the complete run, 1886 through 1981, of the archdiocese's newspaper, Catholic News, which, to date, has only been available in hardcopy at The Archives of the Archdiocese of New York. Once uploaded, the contents of each issue will be searchable by keyword, i.e. schools, parishes, events etc. The three-phased project is expected to take approximately three years to complete

Members of the press interested in learning more about this project are asked to kindly contact Mercedes Anderson at mercedes.lopezblanco@archny.org. To access the database, please follow the link: http://archnyarchives.org/genealogy/

About The Archives of the Archdiocese of New York

The Archives of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York serves as the final repository for the Archdiocese's historical records. The main purpose of the Archives is to document the history of the Archdiocese by collecting, preserving, and making available the permanent and official records of the Archdiocese of New York, its people, institutions, and associations. The Archives also provide historical resources for members of the scholarly community, authors, and other interested persons who seek to evaluate the difference that the Archdiocese had made on the Church and the society as a whole. In order to fully document archdiocesan history, the Archives additionally seek out records, personal papers, photographs, publications, historical artifacts, and audio-visual materials.
http://archnyarchives.org/

About Findmypast

Findmypast, previously DC Thomson Family History, is the British-owned world leader in online family history with over 18 million registered users across its family of brands, which include Findmypast, Genes Reunited, the British Newspaper Archive and Twile. Its lead brand, also called Findmypast, is the home of the world's most comprehensive online collection of British and Irish records, including:

  • The largest online collection of UK parish records
  • Twice the number of Irish records available on any other site
  • The British Library's vast collection of historical newspapers
  • The exclusive Catholic Heritage Archive, a groundbreaking initiative that aims to digitize the historical records of the Catholic Church in North America, Britain and Ireland for the very first time.

Findmypast is committed to making discoveries in the British Isles easier than ever before. It combines the best of British and Irish data with the knowledge of in-house experts to provide a unique family history experience that guides researchers through every step of their journey.

For more information on how Findmypast is enhancing the experiences of family historians worldwide, visit: www.findmypast.co.uk