Collection - Irish parish records collection

Title and statement of responsibility area

Title proper

Irish parish records collection

General material designation

  • Textual record

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  • Source of title proper: Title based on the contents of the collection

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Issuing jurisdiction and denomination (philatelic)

Dates of creation area


  • Microfilmed [196-?] (originally created 1671-1900) (Creation)
    Maritime History Archive, Memorial University of Newfoundland

Physical description area

Physical description

41 microfilm reels

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Archival description area

Name of creator

Biographical history

Memorial University of Newfoundland has made significant contributions to the history of Newfoundland and Labrador through an active archival presence spanning over forty years. Its archival collections are among the largest in the country, and serve as a focal point for original research on Newfoundland topics. As the University expanded throughout the 1960s, increasing interest in Newfoundland history, society and culture resulted in a greater concentration of “Newfoundland content” in the curriculum. Archival activity grew accordingly as faculty members, departments and research centers acquired and processed archival material.

The Maritime History Archive’s predecessor, the Maritime History Group (MHG), was established in 1971 with a mandate to acquire documents related to maritime history and to conduct research into the history of sea based societies. Operating under the auspices of the Department of History, the ‘Group’ consisted of a chairman, the head of the Department of History, appointed members from the Department of History, and an elected executive secretary / financial officer.

The MHG began to acquire archival material and in 1976 received a large Canada Council grant to study the history of shipping in Atlantic Canada. Over the seven year life span of that project the MHG expanded its archival holdings to 16,000 linear feet, and increased the archival staff from 2 to 10. The Group hosted annual conferences, attracting internationally recognized scholars in the fields of maritime history, economics, geography and other related disciplines. Researchers from Europe and elsewhere visited, laying a solid foundation for the international reputation the archive now holds.

In 1984, following the untimely death of the Group’s chairperson, Dr. Keith Matthews, the Dean of Arts instigated an external review which resulted in the dissolution of the MHG. Under a new administrative structure, the archival functions of the MHG were to be carried on by the newly formed Maritime History Archive (MHA). The archivist of the MHA would report to a board of directors and directly to the Dean of Arts.

The MHA currently holds 25,000 linear feet of records, including Newfoundland business records, 22,000 photographs, maps, plans and hydrographic charts, newspapers and periodicals, Newfoundland business records and more than 55,000 boxes of crew agreements.

Custodial history

Scope and content

The Maritime History Archive commenced the collection of Irish parish records during the period 1973-1980. The parish records document the genealogical origins of Newfoundland families whose ancestors had emigrated from Ireland before the twentieth century.

The collection consists of microfilmed copies of many Roman Catholic parishes in the Irish counties of Clare, Cork, Kerry, Kilkenny, Waterford, Wexford and Donegal, as well as many Church of Ireland parishes in counties Cork and Waterford. There are also vestry books for two parishes in County Clare: Castletown Arra and Killahoe.

Notes area

Physical condition

Immediate source of acquisition

Microfilm acquired from the National Library of Ireland.


Language of material

  • English
  • Latin

Script of material

Language and script note

English. Also includes Latin.

Location of originals

Availability of other formats

Restrictions on access

No restrictions on access to or use of the materials in this collection.

Terms governing use, reproduction, and publication

Finding aids

MHA finding aid 98, indexed chronologically by parish. See the online finding aid at the MHA web site.

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Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created - April 24, 2013

Language of description

  • English

Script of description


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