How 9 million have tried to trace Irish blood
OVER nine million people have logged on to the internet to find their Irish ancestors through the 1901 and 1911 Census.
Hundreds of thousands of ex-pats around the world have been checking out their Irish heritage since the census documents were digitised earlier this year.
Tourism bosses are hoping that the popularity of the national archive website will draw significant numbers of visitors to the country in search of their long-lost relatives.
And according to the Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin, her department is working closely with Tourism Ireland "to ensure that Ireland reaps the dividends of this work".
She described transferring the 1901 and 1911 census record into a format suitable for the internet as a "mammoth project".
"The project has been developed in several phases -- the 1911 returns for the 32 counties were digitised first -- followed by the 1901 returns.
"All of these records are now available online and 173,704 unique visitors logged on to the site in September 2010," she explained.
"This brought the total number of unique visitors to this site, to the end of September, to over nine million."
A large proportion of the website's users are understood to be resident in the United States and England.
The 1911 Census records have also being placed on the European website, which links to more than six million digital items including images, sound, text and video.
Ms Hanafin noted that her department also hosts a genealogy website which contains a searchable database of Church records of Baptism, Marriage and Burial from Dublin City and counties Carlow, Cork and Kerry.
"The website is an important aid to family history and genealogical research and will be an attraction for the Irish Diaspora to visit Ireland in search of their roots," said the minister.
Since its launch in November 2009, a total of 239,068 unique visitors have visited the Church records site and there have been a total of 34,707,315 hits recorded.
Work is currently ongoing to add up to a further one million Church Baptism, Marriage and Burial records from Dublin City and Co Cork and this work should be substantially completed by end 2010 and will then be added to this website early in 2011.